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The 5 Key Pieces of Advice for the Beginner Vegan

Whether you're doing it for your body, the environment or for animal activism, here are a few simple tips to follow when beginning your vegan lifestyle.
May 24, 2018
4 mins read

Veganism has become increasingly more popular within the last few years. Unlike other diet fads, going vegan is less of following a trend and more of committing to a lifestyle. Curious to learn more about veganism, I decided to try going meat and dairy-free for a week to see what all the hype was about and how it would affect my overall well-being.

It may sound like an easy transition when eliminating animal-products from your diet, but it requires a lot more thought than one would think, especially if you want to stay healthy. People may think that veganism immediately equates to weight-loss or a healthier lifestyle, but it’s really easy to get off track and consume unhealthy vegan food. Here are five tips to help you stay on track if you’re interested in going vegan.

1. Plan out your meals

Veganism does not mean that you only eat fruit and vegetables. In fact, eating produce alone hardly ever leaves people feeling satisfied, which makes it easier for some to venture off into unhealthier vegan foods or junk food. Planning out your meals ahead of time is an essential part of a healthy vegan lifestyle and making sure you’re getting the right amount of nutrients into your body.

2. Take your vitamins

A vitamin a day helps keep the malnutrition at bay (Image via Medical News Today)

While the vegan diet hosts many health benefits, it also lacks a few essential nutrients that are important to the body. Through daily vitamin usage, those nutrients can be easily replaced and purchased at your local grocery health foods store. According to Healthline, the seven supplements you need on a vegan diet are vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, iodine, iron, calcium and zinc.

3. Veganism on a budget

A plant-based diet doesn’t have to be costly. When planned right, veganism can be cost effective. Foods like beans are an excellent source of fiber and protein while also having a low price.

Instead of buying fresh fruits and vegetables, opting for frozen produce can help to reduce costs on your grocery list. Purchasing foods in bulk is another good idea when going vegan and making foods last longer; these things can include nuts, rice, seeds, oats and grains.

4. Prepare for fatigue

While veganism is a great way to improve health, it may feel trickier to figure out the best foods to eat in order to get all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. When people are used to a more animal-product based diet during their life, the transition to veganism can be a rough start at first.

The transition in the beginning may cause you to feel lethargic and have fatigue. These feelings are often referred to as “brain fog,” which is the result of a vegetarian or vegan diet when the body tries to adjust to living without certain things that it is normally used to. The usual duration of “brain fog” lasts for 2 weeks and then begins to fade as the body readjusts to the new lifestyle.

5. Do not limit calories

A common mistake of new vegetarians or vegans is that they feel limited on food options so they tend to under-eat. Under-eating is the easiest way to induce symptoms of “brain fog.” Implementing proper nutritional skills with adequate supplements, veganism can be very beneficial to health when done correctly.

Finding sufficient animal-product replacements for essentials like proteins in the diet is stressful at first for new vegans or vegetarians, but the rewards are extremely rewarding in the end. An animal product free diet is certainly a commitment, but when done correctly you can reap the health benefits that come with living a plant-based diet.

By following these essential tips, you’ll be able to transition to a vegan diet in no time. Make sure you’re not doing harm to your body by paying attention to what nutrients you need and you’ll be on your way to implementing your newfound vegan lifestyle.

Emilie Romero, University of Nevada

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Emilie Romero

University of Nevada, Reno

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