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July 16, 2022

How do you begin a vegan diet?

How do I start veganism?

How do you begin a vegan diet?

Ten years ago, it would have been met with skepticism, and it was difficult for vegans to obtain appropriate meat-free and dairy-free meals. Now, supermarkets stock prepackaged vegan burgers, and restaurants label meat-and dairy-free options with a green V.

In addition to having possible health benefits, such as enhanced heart health and weight loss, by eliminating animal products and boosting veggies, veganism has become trendy. However, it is a significant nutritional shift, and merely declaring, "I'm vegan" does not eliminate the lifestyle issues that it can involve.

  

It is not a magical occurrence. It is a challenging task.
Moreover, veganism does not inherently imply health. French fries (prepared using vegetable oil) and soda satisfy the criteria. "Being vegan does not absolve you of the obligation to make healthy eating choices.
 
The most important question when becoming vegan is how you will make nutritious food choices.

Understanding your reasons and your "why"The more compelling and personal your motivation for any change, the more likely you are to adhere to it. Concern about animal welfare and the environment can be an ethical and even emotional factor in the decision to become vegan. These things are important to you, and you will not consume, wear, or use any animal products because you believe doing so is inhumane. It will likely motivate you to go all-in from the start, and your commitment to a greater cause will not make giving up certain foods feel like a sacrifice.

But what if your primary purpose for being vegan is to improve your health? Stampfer explains that the absence of animal products and dairy results in a reduction in saturated fats and sodium, which can aid in weight loss and/or the prevention of weight gain and minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes.


With a lifestyle and health-oriented objective, you have control over how and when you transform. There are no requirements for veganism. It pertains to a way of eating—your way of eating—and it's OK to do so at your own pace, as a rapid change may feel too abrupt and restricting, causing you to quit after a few weeks. Rimm believes that for some, "it feels like you're being punished."

It might also be overwhelming to consider giving up long-cherished foods permanently. Instead, begin your vegan diet with breakfast only two days a week. Alternately, you may give up chicken and observe how it makes you feel, then gradually give up red meat or ice cream and continue reducing or eliminating old meals over the course of several months. And eventually, perhaps a few years later, you realize, "Hey, I'm a vegan."

Still, you can decide to eat feta cheese on your salad once each week because it makes everything taste better. Is this "traditional" veganism? No, but you can describe it by calling your strategy plant-based, plant-forward, or anything else that aligns with your final objectives. Stampfer states, "There is no police."

Planning for pitfallsPreparation is essential when attempting a new eating style. Find interesting vegan dishes in cookbooks or on websites, sign up for a food subscription service, or plan two weeks' worth of meals so you're not always scrambling and stressed out every day.
 
Then, ask yourself these questions about your life:

How frequently do you dine out? Do you like to cook? Do you like to socialize? Do you know any other vegans who can provide you with advice, recipes, and vegan-friendly restaurants? None of the responses is disqualifying, but you can identify potential hazards and get insight into your dietary philosophy. And the final question is crucial, as having support when attempting a change can facilitate a smoother transition and make you feel less isolated. "It prepares them for what they will face," adds Rimm.

Considerations and alternatives when adopting a vegan diet in terms of health it's one thing to give up animal products, which can result in health benefits, but it's equally vital to know what you're substituting them with. And the vegan diet is not much different from any healthy diet. Stampfer advises choosing whole grains and avoiding refined meals and sugar so your blood sugar doesn't surge and you don't feel hungry again quickly, which could cause you to eat more, gain weight, and develop diabetes.


You should also consume healthy fats. In the 1980s and 1990s, fat was unfairly stigmatised as unhealthy, a perception that persists today. But only a few are, such as the saturated fats already mentioned. Stampfer states that eradication is not conceivable, hence the objective is to reduce them. Use mono-and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil, almonds, and avocados, which are dense in calories and promote satiety.
 
B12 sufficiency is a worry with a vegan diet. The vitamin is important for the formation of red blood cells and DNA, as well as the development and function of brain and nerve cells. According to Rimm, you should inform your doctor about your new diet, have your B12 levels measured as a baseline, and then take a daily supplement (around 2.4 micrograms). This is not a matter to be treated lightly. Stampfer states, "Without proper B12, you would die."

However, there is one thing that is not a major concern: protein. It may appear so since animal goods (i.e., meats) are absent, but tofu and beans are well-known alternatives, as well as vegetables, grains, nuts, and avocados. As Stampfer mentions, "We do not require as much as we believe." Rarely do people fail to have enough protein. "
 
It may be something to keep in mind, and it may be at the forefront of your thoughts throughout the initial stages of adjustment. However, is this a reason not to make the change? This goes back to your motivation; whether it's a desire to protect animals or a method to live with more energy, you can likely find alternatives; instead of feeling dread, appreciate the experimentation that comes with deciding to do something new.

Photo by Kristina Snowasp: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-slicing-vegetables-on-chopping-board-9986235/
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No Health content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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