whether you are switching to a vegan diet for health benefits, for some religious and spiritual concern or out of your love for a planet-friendly diet, you are heading towards a great change in your life style as your food and eating habits constitute a major part of your life style. Food habits affect your mental and emotional well-being as much as they affect your physical fitness. Food also provides a zone of emotional comfort. Going through a change in food habits can become challenging. Many people start the change but give it half way through as it becomes tough to fit in.
Switch to new diet plan:
You can choose any of the two options depending on your personal preference and what suits your personality and temperament.
Sharp switch: Many people like this way. If you are planning for a sharp switch from a non-vegan to vegan diet in a single day by excluding all meat from your diet or all animal products from your diet ( if you plan to go for strict vegan diet).
Slow approach: Some people find it tough and challenging to have a sharp switch. A slower approach works for them. One can slowly reduce the intake of meat and animal products and replace it with more plant-based products over a period of time. This approach helps you to slowly wean off from your comfort food zone and get accustomed to the new diet plan. This also gives you enough time to plan for it and get prepared with more and more recipes and food to be included.
Meeting the nutritional requirements:
This is the most important point to be considered when we follow any diet
Once you have switched to a vegan diet, you have to make sure that you meet the nutritional requirement of the body. You have switched to this diet for health and fitness but if not planned well, you might end up with nutritional deficiency that will take a toll on your health in the long run. Make sure that your diet takes care of the following nutrients which are abundant in animal products:
Protein is abundant in animal products. Include a plenty of plant based protein in your diet. Make sure to include soy products, nuts, legumes, lentils, seeds and whole grain in your daily diet. If you still take eggs and milk products in your diet it is convenient to meet up your protein requirement.
Calcium is in abundance in milk products and in meat and poultry. If you are excluding them in your diet, make sure that you include more calcium-fortified plant products. Have a lot of green leafy veggies like spinach, turnip, collard green, cabbage, and broccoli. Fortified soymilk and fresh juices are a good sources of calcium. Tofu enriched with calcium is another good source of calcium.
Iron is found in beans, peas, lentils, dried fruits, dark leafy vegetables, whole grain products and enriched cereals. Iron gets better absorbed with Vitamin C. So take Vitamin C rich food like citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, cabbage and broccoli in your diet to ensure better absorption of iron.
Zinc is found in whole grains, nuts, soy products and wheat germs.
Vitamin B12 is found exclusively in animal products and vegans might have to take nutritional supplement to meet up the nutritional requirement of Vitamin B12. One can get it from enriched cereals and fortified soy products.
To avoid monotony and to keep you interested in your new diet pan try to include a lot of varieties in your diet. This will also satisfy the craving of your taste buds and will help you to meet the entire nutritional requirement.
A proper balanced vegan diet is a right choice to stay healthy and eco-friendly. All age groups including kids, teens, young adults and old can benefit with this healthy diet. Pregnant and breastfeeding moms can do well with this healthy diet plan. So, get ready to start with a healthy choice to stay fit.