Vegan Dieting 101

If you want to change from a carnivore diet to a vegan diet, but you have no idea where to start, I’ve provided some helpful tips to get you started. 

First, it is important to understand what being vegan means. Vegans are people who do not eat any food delivered from animals or use other animal products. Usually this includes products tested on animals.

Switching to a vegan diet helps with:

•  Helps society become one step closer to eliminating animal cruelty.

•  Reducing the amount of meat eaten means less animals are harmed.

•  Reducing the amount of water used and greenhouse gases made from animal agriculture.

•  Eating a whole food plant based (WFPB) diet has been proven to prevent and reverse various illnesses and chronic conditions.

•  Helping you feel full because a WFPB diet is high in fiber.

•  The ability to maintain weight management easier.

•  Finances as it is more affordable since it is easier to buy in bulk.

•  Overall health because a WFPB diet is not heavily processed.

When starting, the most important thing is to transition at your own pace. Others may become judgmental towards your change, and some may laugh or be concerned about your health. People who change to a vegan diet need to understand that vitamin B12 is not available. Therefore, supplements need to be taken in order to keep the body healthy.

Some people decide to fully switch over, but personally, I would start slow. You can start by incorporating less meat and more vegan items like vegetables. There are ton of evolving vegan items that taste like meat, for example, I love to eat cauliflower tossed in buffalo sauce. I think it tastes just like chicken nuggets. Many may think it sounds weird, but trust me, cauliflower is a life changer.

Planning meals is the easiest way to stick to foods that are vegan friendly. Especially if you focus on the five main groups: fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes. 

Fruits

Fresh fruits can be expensive so think of buying frozen. This is especially easier in winter when many loved fruits are not as easily accessible. You then can add these fruits to oatmeal or make smoothies. Fruit can even be your new desert by making things like banana bread or raspberry cheesecake.

Vegetables

Veggies are the most important part of a vegan’s diet. This is because vegans must increase their intake of foods rich in calcium and iron that they no longer received from carnivore diets. 

Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables out there since it is high in calcium. Calcium keeps the bones strong, gives us the ability to clot blood, and contracts our muscles. One of my personal favorites is peppers which are loaded with vitamin C and magnesium.

Tubers

Tubers are vegetables with large edible roots that contain nutrients. This includes yams, beets, yuca, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, which are full of vitamin A. 

Whole Grains

I tend to look to oatmeal when I want to eat healthy. If you are a rice lover, you can choose items like quinoa, brown or wild rice, and barley (most cereals). However, corn is also an acceptable grain which means you can have popcorn for dessert.

Legumes

Legumes are great side dishes to include or even main dishes. This includes chickpeas or garbanzo beans, soybeans, certain lentils, and even certain peas. Other soy options can be tofu which is mashed soybeans and tempeh which is deep-frying fermented soybeans.

There are tons of more options besides the main five. You can choose to eat things like nuts, seeds, tempeh, tofu, herbs, and spices.

So, let’s think of your day in meals:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with fresh bananas and strawberries

Lunch: Avocado toast with potatoes, egg, and plant-based bacon

Snack: Roasted chickpeas, edamame with sea salt, hummus, and veggies

Dinner: Vegan tacos (Corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, onions)

Desert: Popcorn (make at home with oil instead of butter, but some butter brands are vegan friendly) Becoming vegan can be life changing. It lets you learn more about your body and its health while experimenting with new foods. It may seem difficult at first, but everyone’s path to veganism is different, and it is worth it if done right.

Becoming vegan can be life changing. It lets you learn more about your body and its health while experimenting with new foods. It may seem difficult at first, but everyone’s path to veganism is different, and it is worth it if done right.

Written by: Kaitlyne Piper

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