Going Vegan? - things you should know!
As more and more people prioritise their health and the environment, lots of you might be happily adopting a vegan lifestyle. Going vegan is a wonderful choice that involves removing all animal products from your diet. It can bring about numerous benefits for both your health and the environment. However, it is important to approach this dietary change with thoughtful consideration. As a Registered Nutritionist, it is important to keep in mind some key aspects for a well-balanced vegan diet.
Below are some awesome key points for you to know about veganism, how to address any potential deficiencies, making smart choices with plant-based foods which you can confidently start your vegan journey, while taking care of your health and well-being.
Vitamins are Essential for Maintaining Overall Health. Although animal foods are the primary source of vitamin B12, I want to underline that there are several other important factors you should be aware of. To make sure you are getting enough vitamin B12, vegans should focus on having a range of plant-based meals that are fortified with the vitamin. Examples include plant-based milks, meat alternatives, nutritional yeast, and breakfast cereals. Additionally, taking a B12 supplement is frequently advised to help you fulfil your daily needs. Vitamin B12 is essential to our health since it helps make DNA and keeps our blood and nerve cells healthy. Weakness, weariness, and problems going to the toilet are just a few of the undesirable side effects that can result from a B12 deficiency. It can also cause you to lose weight, affect your appetite, or even influence your mood and nerves. To find out if you might need to take a B12 supplement, it is always a good idea to consult with a doctor and get a blood test. Further information about B12 is on my previous blog: Vitamin B
Your Body needs Iron
Iron comes in two forms heme and non-heme. Vegan diets typically contain non-heme iron, which may be less readily absorbed. You might need to consume a little bit of extra iron if you want to guarantee the identical advantages. Many people are concerned about iron deficiency, particularly if they eat a vegan diet, because plant-based sources of iron have a lower bioavailability, relying solely on them increases your risk of being Iron deficient. Lack of iron can cause a variety of symptoms and health problems, including fatigue, weak muscles, pale skin, brittle nails, a weakened immune system, and difficulty thinking clearly. In more severe cases, it may result in iron deficiency anaemia, which reduces the number of red blood cells and oxygen carrying capacity. Include a variety of sources, such as legumes, fortified cereals, nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens in your diet to ensure you get enough iron. It is also excellent to know that eating meals high in vitamin C and low in iron can help increase the absorption of iron
Vegans can fortunately choose from a wide variety of plant-based protein sources. Including seitan, lentils, beans, quinoa, and natural soy products as good vegan protein sources in meals. Tofu and tempeh are examples of natural soy products that offer a full protein profile and are adaptable compliments to a variety of foods. Chickpeas and black beans, among others, are not only high in protein but also provide a significant amount of fibre. Quinoa is a grain made from plants that is a complete protein source since it has all nine essential amino acids. Vegans also have the choice of seitan, a protein-rich food manufactured from wheat gluten.
Take One Step at a Time
You will not just appear to have changed into a vegan when you wake up one morning. There should also be a delay due to the amount of work that will be necessary, to start, you should increase the percentage of plant-based foods in your diet while reducing the amount of animal products, especially non-organic ones, and, more crucially, processed, and refined foods. You can acquire a healthy diet with the use of this. The most important thing is to go through the procedure gently and pay attention to how you are feeling as you go.
Look for other Protein Sources
For anyone consuming a diet, even a vegan one, lack of protein is a problem. The building blocks of many body processes, proteins are essential for encouraging cell growth, repairing tissues, and maintaining general health. Lack of protein can cause a number of issues and health issues. The following are some possible effects of insufficient protein intake:
- Impaired Muscle Health
- Poor Wound Healing
- Weakened Immune System
- Slowed Growth and Development
- Nutrient Deficiencies
Plants are your Friend!
To fulfill protein requirements on a plant-based diet, several plant sources can be used:
Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and soybeans are rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
Quinoa is a grain-like seed that contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. It is also high in fibre and various nutrients.
Chia seeds are tiny powerhouses packed with protein. They can be easily incorporated into smoothies, oatmeal, or used as an egg substitute in baking.
Brown rice protein is another plant-based protein powder option. It is hypoallergenic and easily digestible, making it suitable for those with food sensitivities. Look for products with only natural components and few additives when selecting a plant-based protein powder.
Making sure you get a high-quality alternative can be ensured by reading product labels and learning about the manufacturing process. To meet your nutritional requirements, keep in mind that it is typically advised to receive nutrients from a range of sources. Combining several plant-based protein sources will help you get a balanced amino acid profile throughout the day.
Discover Plant-Based Calcium Sources
Calcium deficiency is a potential concern for vegans, as this essential mineral is commonly associated with dairy products. Deficiencies associated with inadequate calcium intake in vegans can lead to several health issues. Some potential consequences of calcium deficiency include:
● Impaired Bone Health
● Dental Problems
● Muscle Contractions and Nerve Function
Consuming a variety of naturally calcium-rich foods is key. Plant-based sources of calcium include kale, Pak choy, almonds, soybeans, figs, and navel oranges. These foods can be incorporated into meals and snacks to boost calcium intake. Additionally, there are calcium-fortified plant-based foods available in the market. Calcium-fortified cereals, plant-based milks (such as almond, soy, or oat milk), and tofu made with calcium sulphate are convenient options to increase calcium intake