Are you looking to cut animal-based products like meat, eggs, dairy from your diet without losing the essential nutrients, vitamins and protein from the body? Then you are at the right place! We have garnered all the tips for you to start your vegan journey with ease.
First, let us understand the vegan concept!
Vegan is not a recently used terminology, vegan society was founded 75 years ago.
Becoming vegan or staying vegan is a matter of choice when there is a disease or when you feel like doing something for animals or a combination of both. But; why plant-based? When most of us know that it becomes difficult to get the protein from plant-based foods and also, it becomes more difficult to survive when you are outside the home.
However, fewer people can adopt vegan life, because of so many factors and therefore, it becomes a question that what if I try becoming vegan but fail early? Will I be able to remain fit with just a plant-based diet? Will I be able to give all the essential nutrients to my body? And so on so forth, this list of queries make us worry about changing our lifestyle.
It seems easy to get inspired by vegan people, but it takes guts to become one. Because it can be a bit difficult in the beginning as you must be used to the tempting dairy & animal-based products. Everyone slips because of pushy friends and family who are just eagerly waiting for that yummilicious homemade chicken or a favourite dairy laden dish from a restaurant. Like a superstar does not become a star overnight; likewise, one just cannot become vegan overnight. But this does not mean that you will start back on the animal products again.
Here are some tips you might need to make your vegan journey easy & healthy. Even if you are attempting to follow a more plant-based diet for health improvement or betterment, these tips are an absolute way to get started.
- Make vegetables the hero of your meals to include vitamins and minerals.
We have often seen people getting crazy about what they cannot have on a plant-based diet, instead of what they can have. However, a great meal does not have to be dependent on meat, chicken, eggs or dairy products. Due to lack of knowledge, we often confuse ourselves that veggies cannot provide us with everything our body requires. This is not true! Veggies are a great source of vitamins and minerals, and they even keep your calories intact as they are rich in fibre that makes you feel satiated.
Vegetables are a great source of many nutrients like potassium, dietary fibre, folic acid, vitamin A, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Iron, Sodium, and Calcium.
Protein: Peas, Dried Beans, Potatoes with skin
Potassium Rich vegetables: Sweet Potatoes, White Potatoes, White Beans, Tomato, Soybeans, Spinach, Lentils, Kidney Beans, Cabbage, green beans, carrots, sweet corn, Okra, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, sweet potato
Fibre Rich Vegetables: Cabbage, eggplant, sweet potato
Vitamin A: Carrots, Peas, Pepper, sweet potato
Vitamin B: sweet corn, Okra, Peas
Vitamin B1: eggplant
Vitamin B6: Peppers, sweet potato
Vitamin C: Cabbage, green beans, Okra, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, sweet potato
Vitamin K: Carrots
Magnesium: sweet corn, Okra
Iron: green beans, sweet corn, Peas, Potatoes, sweet potato
Folate (Folic Acid): Cabbage, green beans, sweet corn
Beta-carotene: Carrots, sweet corn, Peppers
Lutein (It is an antioxidant that helps prevent blindness): sweet corn, Okra, Peas
Manganese: eggplant, Peas
By seeing this list of veggies filled with plenty of proteins, vitamins, and minerals; you must be confident enough to say that being vegan does not mean eating non-nutritious food, instead, you are giving your body the best of all. However, the list is not finished yet, there are plenty of vegetables available in the market; you can pick your favourite ones.
- Eat different types of foods to maintain all essential nutrients.
To ensure that you are including all the essential nutrients in your body, you must include different types of vegetables in your food. Even if you are not vegan, it is good to maintain a balanced diet by eating a variety of food. For example, you will get Vitamin B1 from eggplant, calcium from cabbage, iron from green beans, vitamin k from carrots etc. Try to involve maximum veggies in your bowl for best results.
- Choose whole grains over refined grains for extra fibre.
Refined grains are a No-No if you want to get better health results because refined grains are not in their natural forms, and they take a lot of time to digest completely. That means you are not giving enough time to your body to recover from the previous foodstuff.
Instead, try swapping out refined grains like White Bread, White Pasta with whole grains like oat, millet, barley, buckwheat, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa etc. to add iron and vitamin B in your plant-based diet. Additionally, the whole will add extra fibre, which will keep you satiated for a long time, ultimately helping you lose weight.
Whole Grains Benefits
Zinc and Iron
Opting Whole grains over refined is a perfect way to enjoy the benefits. Again, this is a never-ending list; you can add any other grains of your choice and availability to enjoy your vegan diet.
- Include plants based proteins
Protein is the building blocks of our body, and therefore, it is considered as the main element for our body. It would be no brainer, to not include protein even if you are vegan. Because being vegan or being on a plant-based diet does not mean that there is no protein available in plants. Yes, you heard it right. There are plant-based products which have plenty of protein and, which can provide you with all essentials.
Vegan sources of proteins include tofu, soybeans, chickpeas, beans and lentils;
Nuts like walnuts, and almonds;
Seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
You can enjoy these proteins in your favourite meals or dishes
- Choose plant-based Omega-3 over Fish
Being a non-vegetarian gives you plenty of options to explore while including all the essentials like Omega-3. However, it is hard to find omega-3 in a vegan diet in fact for vegetarians who are not vegan rarely find Omega-3; hence, here we are with the plant-based omega-3.
Omega-3 in plant-based food
Beans, and more.
Another source of Omega-3 is supplements that are easily available in the market. Everything is possible if you work for it.
- Do not forget to take your dose of vitamin-D
Vitamin D is again a very rare vitamin which people get from canned fish like salmon, sardines, and dairy products like milk, and yoghurt, and egg yolk. However, vitamin D is also found, in Almond Milk, Soy Milk, tofu, oranges, fortified cereals, and fortified juices.
Some mushrooms are also good sources of vitamin D if they are exposed to UV light.
Then comes the free and abundant source of vitamin D, which we are already aware of – is Natural Sunlight. But remember the early morning sunlight is the actual sunlight you need not the afternoon sunlight, it can burn your skin. Many people who are vegetarians or vegans also consume vitamin D supplements to fulfil body requirements.
- Vegan Iron Rich Foods are new meat & chicken.
Proteins from animals such as chicken, meat, pork are a good source of Iron and Iron is one of the prime nutrients to include in your diet. Vegans can, however, get this nutrient from legumes, beans and green leafy vegetables.
But plant-based non-heme iron is not easily absorbed by the body as compared to heme iron from non-veg.
To absorb iron from plant-based food, you need to have vitamin c rich foods for faster absorption.
Avoid calcium-rich foods with iron-rich foods as calcium can hamper the absorption of iron in the body.
- Energies your body with B12
B12 plays a paramount role in our body. It provides energy by transforming food into energy in our body and leads in brain functioning. The main source of vitamin B12 is all dairy products like milk, cheese, yoghurt, and animal foods like meat, chicken, poultry, eggs etc.
Finding vitamin B12 in plant-based challenging. But you can still get it from fortified cereals, energy bars, and fortified foods like some soy products.
This means you must try to start your day with a bowl of cereals to include your daily dose of vitamin b12.
Many people have experienced being a vegan a long time back. It is initially difficult to maintain a vegan lifestyle because of our previous eating habits. We often tend to get crazy and doubt ourselves as if we have taken the right decision or not. Trust me it is all a mind game. If you want something in your life, you first need to have the discipline to follow the new pattern and continue for a lifetime. Nothing is difficult if you think about it. The above tips ensure that you learn about all the plant-based food. It is quite clear that being a vegan does not mean losing out essential nutrients in your body, you can still get from plant-based food easily.