Are you considering transitioning to a vegan diet? Being vegan comes with many health benefits.
Following a vegan diet can reduce your risk of heart disease and tame inflammation. It can also lower your risk of diabetes and help you maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, a vegan diet can help you lower your cholesterol levels, protect your brain, and protect you against certain types of cancer.
Plus, going on a vegan diet can help the environment. A new study conducted by Oxford University found that following a vegan diet could be the single best way to lessen your impact on the environment.
However, transitioning to a vegan diet can be overwhelming. Many people end up quitting veganism because they don’t realize how much variety the diet has to offer. Here is your ultimate guide to going vegan.
Related: Top Healthy Vegan Foods to Eat
What Does Vegan Mean?
First, let’s make sure you have an understanding of what it means to “go vegan.” Generally speaking, going vegan means not consuming any animal products or animal byproducts.
Animal products include meat and seafood, and animal byproducts include dairy, honey, eggs, and mayo. Some people choose to extend veganism to all aspects of their life. In addition to following a vegan diet, they also avoid buying products that contain animal parts or were tested on animals.
For example, some vegans will avoid buying leather and buying makeup that was tested on animals. How strict of a vegan you want to be is completely up to you. Most people start by following a vegan diet and then begin to include veganism in other aspects of their life.
Related: Are Donuts Vegan?
How to Go Vegan: Top Tips
So if you’re looking to transition to a vegan diet, where do you begin?
Many people find it hard to cut out meat and animal byproducts cold turkey (no pun intended). For this reason, we recommend starting out slow.
Try eating one vegan meal per day, or try following a vegan diet three days a week. Slowly but surely, you’ll be eating vegan for all of your meals.
Know Your Protein Sources
Meat is an terrific source of protein, and many people find that when they transition to a vegan diet, they don’t get as much protein as they used to. If you’re not getting enough protein, you may feel hungry and lose muscle mass.
However, you can get just as much protein on a vegan diet as you can on any other diet - you just need to know your protein sources. Here are some of the best vegan protein sources:
- Tempeh: Tempeh is made from fermented soy. One cup of tempeh contains a whopping 31 grams of protein.
- Tofu: Tofu is another soy-based product. One cup of protein contains 20 grams of protein. You can use both tempeh and protein to make veggie burgers, grain bowls, curry dishes, tacos, and more.
- Seitan: Seitan is made from gluten, which is the main protein in wheat. One hundred grams of seitan contains 75 grams of protein.
- Lentils: Lentils are a type of legume. One cup of lentils contains 18 grams of protein.
- Edamame: Edamame is a type of soybean that contains 17 grams of protein.
- Chickpeas and Beans: Chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, and other types of beans are all excellent protein sources. Most beans contain around 7 grams of protein per half-cup serving.
- Hemp Seeds: Hemp seeds contain 11 grams of protein per 2-3 tablespoon serving.
- Nuts and Nut Butter: Peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, and other nuts and types of nut butter are all great protein sources.
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Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Nutrients
In addition to making sure you’re getting enough protein, you also need to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients.
Here are some key nutrients that vegans tend to miss out on:
- Iron: Most people get iron from meat. Good vegan sources of iron include swiss chard, kale, lentils, legumes, and seeds.
- Vitamin B12: Good sources of vitamin B12 include nutritional yeast, fortified cereals, and fortified non-dairy milk.
- Calcium: Most people get calcium from milk and other dairy products. Good sources of calcium include tahini, leafy vegetables, and calcium-set tofu.
- Zinc: Good sources of zinc include tempeh, tofu, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Are you wondering how to start intuitive eating? Check out this guide!
Plan Out Your Meals
When following a vegan diet, it can really help to plan out your meals. Planning your meals out will help you stay on track, and it’ll make it easier to ensure that you’re getting all of the nutrients you need.
Even just jotting down a rough idea of what you’re going to eat each day can help a lot. For example, you eat tofu scramble for breakfast, tempeh lettuce wraps for lunch, and chickpea curry for dinner. Once you know what you’re eating for each meal, you can batch cook everything at the beginning of the week.
Have Some Easy Vegan Snacks Handy
Having some easy vegan snacks handy will prevent you from turning to meat or dairy products when you’re hungry. Here are some simple vegan snacks to keep on hand that will fill you up:
- Nuts and seeds
- Peanut butter and apples
- Go Nana’s banana bread
- Vegan protein bars
- Tofu avocado toast
- Roasted chickpeas
- Hummus and veggies
- Chia seed pudding
- Plant-based yogurt and berries
- Seeded crackers
- Vegan ice cream
Are You Ready to Go Vegan?
Now that you’ve read this guide, it’s time to transition to a vegan diet. With the above tips, switching to a vegan diet will be a walk in the park.
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