Things To Keep In Mind Before Deciding To Go Vegan
In recent years, veganism has gained significant popularity, with more and more people opting for plant-based diets for various reasons, including ethical, environmental, and health concerns. More people than ever before are ditching meat and dairy and going vegan. But being vegan is more than just eating a plant-based diet. Being vegan impacts every part of your life, which can make it seem like it might be difficult to transition for people at the start of their vegan journey. However, you might be surprised to find that going vegan is actually much simpler than you imagine!
Things To Keep In Mind Before Deciding To Go Vegan
Fausiya Ansari, who is a Dietitian at Apollo Spectra Mumbai listed down the following things that one should keep in mind before turning vegan:
- Educate Yourself: Before going vegan, take some time to educate yourself about vegan nutrition. Understand which foods are rich sources of protein, iron, and other vital nutrients. Familiarize yourself with plant-based protein sources such as beans, lentils, tofu, and nuts. Learning about vegan nutrition will help you make informed dietary choices.
- Gradual Transition: Going vegan doesn’t have to be an overnight shift. You can gradually reduce animal products from your diet to make the transition smoother. Start by incorporating more plant-based meals into your week and gradually phase out animal products. This gradual approach can help your body adapt to the changes.
- Experiment with New Foods: Veganism can open up a world of new and exciting foods. Be open to experimenting with fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes you may not have tried before. Get creative with your cooking, and you’ll discover a wide range of delicious vegan dishes.
- Listen to Your Body: Your body will take some time to adjust to a vegan diet. Pay attention to how you feel and make necessary adjustments. If you experience digestive issues or fatigue, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional or dietitian for guidance.
- Enjoy the Journey: Going vegan is not just about what you can’t eat; it’s about exploring new flavors, nourishing your body, and making a positive impact on the planet. Embrace the journey, savor every bite, and take pride in your decision to live a more compassionate and sustainable life.
Nutrient Intake While Deciding To Turn Vegan:
Edwina Raj, who is the Head of Services, Clinic Nutrition & Dietetics at Aster CMI Hospital said the following:
Prioritise protein sources: Make sure you include adequate protein sources in every meal along with cereals such as lentils or dals, sprouts, bean, peas, soya, nuts and seeds to get the right balance in your amino acid requirement which is a building block of your body that helps in growth, repair of tissues and muscles, quick healing after an injury or illness. Low intake of protein can lead to loss of muscle, frailty, tiredness, poor recovery from injury and illness is expected. This can have a severe long-term impact.
Imbalance in carb intake: If you do not consider the right balance in your meal and seek advice then you may end up including high intake of carbohydrates through cereals, refined grains, starchy vegetables and deserts. High intake of carbs are observed in vegans, especially among the travellers when vegan options are less which end up in severe weight gain, high blood triglyceride levels which is another risk factor for lifestyle disorders. Always keep a check on your carb intake and include whole grain options such as millets, quinoa, unpolished rice, oats etc rather than refined grains.
Micronutrient deficiencies: Regular monitoring of blood levels of vitamin B12 , D3, iron and bone mineral density every year is necessary to prevent the negative impact of deficiencies and ensure to include some of the natural sources and fortified foods such as green leafy vegetables, oilseeds, nuts fermented foods, fruits, fortified plant based milk or regular dose of supplements may be required based on medical advice. Despite of all these nutritional supplements due to high intake of fibre through whole grains, vegetables , leafy and fruits one may still end up in deficiencies since high fibre intake hinders the absorption of some essential nutrients.
“A regular visit with your doctor and dietitian will help you understand your nutritional status which involves physical assessment to test your muscle function, body composition, current intake analysis, and lab values which is of paramount importance in treating the long-term detrimental impact of these nutritional deficiencies which negatively affects your overall quality of life while following a vegan diet,” she added.
Other Things To Keep In Mind Before Turning Vegan:
Rohit Waghmare, who is a Nutritionist at Multifit kharadi ,Pune said, “Before deciding to go vegan, it’s essential to consider various factors related to your health and lifestyle.”
Here are below points laid down by him:
- Variety in Diet: Diversify your food choices to ensure you receive a wide range of nutrients. Explore fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds.
- Supplementation: Consider supplementing with vitamin B12 and, if necessary, iron or omega-3s. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations.
- Digestive Adjustments: Be prepared for potential digestive changes as your body adapts to a plant-based diet. Gradual transition may help reduce discomfort.
- Label Reading: Learn to read food labels to identify hidden animal-derived ingredients in processed foods.
- Social and Cultural Considerations: Be mindful of social situations and cultural practices that may affect your ability to maintain a vegan diet.
- Ethical and Environmental Awareness: Understand the ethical and environmental reasons behind choosing a vegan lifestyle to stay motivated and informed.
In conclusion, deciding to go vegan can be a transformative and fulfilling choice. By keeping these essential considerations in mind and seeking guidance from a registered dietitian or healthcare professional, you can embark on your vegan journey confidently, ensuring a healthy and sustainable transition to a plant-based lifestyle. Remember, it’s not just about what you’re leaving behind; it’s about the incredible world of vegan cuisine and the positive impact you can make on your health and the environment.
[Disclaimer: The information provided in the article, including treatment suggestions shared by doctors, is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.]