Are You Thinking of Going Vegan? 6 Things You Should Know
More people are adopting a vegan diet and lifestyle. Public figures have been touting the health and wellness benefits of eating only plant-sourced foods. Before you decide to embrace veganism, there are a few things you should know.
You Will Need To Read Labels
This is first because it is very important. Just because something has a vegetable base or is listed as vegetarian-friendly on its packaging does not mean it is suitable for a vegan diet. Learn to read labels and look for hidden ingredients that are actually animal-based. Consider these common examples of foods that may not be as vegan-friendly as you thought:
- Carmine (a natural red food coloring)
- The wax that is applied to fruits and vegetables
- Sugar that is processed wit9-h bone char
- Beer and wine
Yes, You Can Get Enough Protein From Plants
This is a common question thanks to confusion over how much protein people actually need to consume each day. According to the Daily Reference Intake, the average adult needs somewhere between 45 and 55 grams of protein to maintain their weight and muscle mass. However, some studies suggest a much higher amount. In reality, the quality of your protein sources is more important than the quantity of it, so look for lean and non-processed products. Beans, soy, whole grains, and nuts and seeds are all excellent sources of protein for vegans.
Superfoods Can Help You Meet Micronutrient Needs
Protein isn't the only nutrient you need to get enough of. Iron, calcium, and a host of vitamins and minerals are more abundant in animal products over plants. That means you will need to take extra care to find the foods that will help you meet your dietary needs. Superfoods are a great place to start. Red superfoods often include berries and other brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Green superfoods can be leafy greens, other vegetables and algae or seaweed. Learn which ones pack the biggest punch by comparing their nutrient profiles. For example, when you look at chlorella vs spirulina, you will notice that the former has a much higher concentration of the essential vitamin B12.
Vegan Labels Don't Necessarily Mean Healthy Food
If you are adopting a vegan diet to give your health a boost, know that not all foods labeled as vegan are actually healthy. In fact, some are heavily processed and loaded with additives. Of course, that doesn't mean they have to be completely off limits to you. If you are really craving a burger, a meat substitute might be what you need to get through and stick with your new diet.
A Vegan Diet Can Be Affordable
There is a lot of talk about vegan foods being more expensive. You need to ignore it and chalk it up as what it is: ignorance. Consider that you will be eliminating meat from your grocery budget. And, if you stick to clean, whole foods and unprocessed basic ingredients, you can eat a fully vegan diet for a lot less than a traditional style one. Sure, you might pay more for a few items on your list compared to their traditional non-vegan counterparts, but you won't have to worry about buying several pounds of meat every week.
Beans, whole grains and vegetables can be affordable and accessible. Buying in bulk is a great way to save, too. Look for options at bulk stores, warehouse clubs and online retailers that specialize in dry goods for the best prices and freshest products.
You Don't Have to Go All-In Right Away
Think of veganism as the deep end of the pool. If you aren't ready to ditch the side yet, that's perfectly normal. Start by dipping your toes in and embracing a plant-based diet. Reduce the number of animal products you consume gradually, over the course of several weeks or months. Pretty soon, you'll be eating a completely vegan diet without even realizing what happened.
There are numerous health benefits to adopting a vegan diet. Additionally, it is an affordable and environmentally-friendly option that works well for many people. Go into it with open eyes will help you navigate product labels and claims and make the best choices to support your decision.