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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Opting for a vegan lifestyle can be a difficult step to take. It’s not one of those decisions you can make and forget about—like picking what kind of juice compliments your breakfast better. Instead, it’s a decision that will affect you every day after you make it. Not to sound melodramatic—but becoming vegan is no joke and there are precautions you should consider if you’re looking to reap the vegan benefits.

Whether your decision to go vegan is based on ethical reasons, health concerns, like trying to lower your cholesterol and saturated fat levels or even just your basic experimental whim, make sure to plan ahead to ensure you remain nutritionally balanced. You can do so by filling your grocery cart with lots of whole grains, colorful fruits, fresh vegetables and more heart healthy fats. These foods will be your key to decreasing your chances of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. Also, try to drink plenty of water to avoid any possible discomfort from the fiber increase in your diet (that’s the extra veggies and fruit!)

Something else to remember is to eat just as much as you would have before in order to feel full and satisfied. When you switch to a vegan diet you end up removing a lot of the calorically dense foods you use to consume, so to an extent this means you can now eat more.

Next thing to worry about: possible vitamin deficiencies. Most essential nutrients can be found in plant-based options. Some easy tricks to consider is getting your calcium from leafy green veggies, eating tofu instead of drinking milk, and eating chia seeds or flax seeds for omega-3 fatty acids! One of the most common mistakes new vegans make is to not go after B12. B12 deficiencies can take a while to become an issue since your body does store pretty large amounts of it. But going vegan means you need to find some plant-based sources of B12 within at least a year, this is important to ensure proper neurological development and functioning. Note: some deficiencies can lead to anemia and nervous system damage!

Lastly, be smart about your vegan choices. Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent healthy either. It really only means that animal-source ingredients aren’t included in the recipe. Beware of highly processed vegan foods. All in all, going vegan is more about whole real non-processed food choices rather than processed veggie hot dogs or anything of that sort.

This lifestyle choice might sound extreme but for whatever reason you decide to try it, these are definitely some things to keep in mind. Don’t be discouraged if you have frequent cravings within the first three weeks either! Overall, it takes about three weeks for the body to adjust— just remember to not confuse cravings for necessities.

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