Are you thinking of going vegan? Don’t sweat it. Vegan diets are healthy and nutritious as long as you take the time to eat balanced meals, plan well, and do your homework.
It’s a great idea to talk to your doctor before going vegan and let them know about your diet during annual physicals so they can ensure you’re getting the proper nutrients. Other than that, you can go vegan and stay strong. Here are five tips that can help you take the plunge!
1. Low and Slow
If you’re already vegetarian or pescatarian, you’ve already eliminated many animal products from your diet, but you will still benefit from making gradual changes.
Eliminate one or two products per week and slowly incorporate other items that will make up for this. For example, if you’re giving up eggs, do it slowly and incorporate egg substitutes, tofu scramble, nutritional yeast, and other ingredients that can make up for the nutrients you’d usually get.
You can do this with many foods you usually eat. Don’t worry about how long it takes for you to be 100% vegan. Build sustainable habits you can stick to, and you will do it! If it makes it easier for you, buying pre-sliced vegetables or ordering takeout from vegan restaurants can also help you achieve your goals and lighten the load of cooking.
2. Eat Your Greens!
Ironically, some vegans have a tough time eating all their greens because they start eating vegan meat substitutes, such as fake meats, dips, and snacks. Don’t get caught in that trap!
Green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants but don’t stop there. Classic vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, peas, and zucchini have various textures, are easy to incorporate into your diet, and can be used in multiple ways.
If you’re worried about not having the time to cook greens, frozen or canned green veggies are a great alternative. You can also try our SUPER Greens Superfood powder as a backup for those extra busy days!
3. Get Your Protein!
Your body needs protein to maintain your body’s tissue, assist with enzymes’ production, produce energy and help with digestion. As a vegan, plants will be your primary source of protein.
Animal protein is complete, which means it has all 20 amino acids. On the other hand, plants contain amino acids, but they’re incomplete, and you need to eat fortified products to obtain nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc, and heme-iron.
The key to getting enough amino acids and protein is to eat as many different colored vegetables as possible. Don’t forget your fruits, nuts, grains, and legumes too!
4. Try New Things!
Going vegan may seem challenging at first, but don’t worry. There are many great recipe books, YouTube channels, blogs, and even Tik Toks with vegan recipes and hacks.
Plus, many professional and social media vegan chefs are from different parts of the world and aren’t afraid to teach you how to create dishes from their home countries. Consider buying different herbs and spices so you can roast vegetables with them, look at different weekly meal prep ideas, and even look at sites such as Pinterest.
If you already have vegan friends, ask them if they don’t mind sharing food hacks or recipes, and you can also join online communities.
5. Make Your Own Dairy Substitutes
Giving up dairy can be challenging. Milk, yogurt, dips, and ice cream are great, but there are also vegan alternatives to everything! You can buy vegan options for all of these things, but the costs can add up...
Investing in a good blender, a spice grinder, and a food processor can help you make your own dairy substitutes. Plus, there are so many online recipes for yogurt, “cheese,” and creams. You can also freeze bananas and make nice cream!
Once you find a milk alternative you enjoy, you can use it on everything from oatmeal, coffee, tea, and more.
Remember, if you want to go vegan, there are supportive communities, online recipes, and more! The key is to make sure you are still getting the right amount of protein and nutrients.