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So you’re probably thinking of becoming a vegan. Perhaps it’s to lose weight, live a clean lifestyle, or maybe you simply think the consumption of animals is wrong. Whatever your reason, being a vegan isn’t necessarily all that hard if you follow the basic steps needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Once reserved for hippies and animal rights activists, vegan diets are at an all-time high with the likes of Jay-z and Beyonce, Bill Clinton and Natalie Portman in the ranks.
Before you jump on the bandwagon of no eggs, dairy or other animal products, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. So if a vegan lifestyle sounds appealing to you, then read on.
#1) B12 Supplements Are Important
Vitamin B12 occurs naturally only in animal products. B12 helps to fight against memory loss, Alzheimers, and mood swings. some people also take the supplement to fight against lime and gum disease.
As a vegan, you’ll want to stock up on this important supplement. B 12 also helps to keep the nerve and blood cells healthy and also assists in making DNA.
Deficiencies can lead to fatigue, tiredness, weakness, constipation, a bad form of weight loss, nerve problems and depression. Before you begin a regimen of no animal product, you’ll want to consider asking your doctor to do a blood draw to check if you need to up your intake or not.
#2) Good For the Environment
We’re all aware of ways to live a greener and cleaner life. One of the best ways to lesson a person’s carbon footprint is to not eat meat at all. Meat leaves such a burden on the environment because of the production costs that it takes to harvest plants to feed them.
From water it takes to produce crops to feed the animals to transportation and other requirements to get meat on the tables of families, making it the main culprit of deforestation, habitat loss and extinction.
Making the switch to veganism is more sustainable and takes less water to produce crops to feed humans. A vegan diet requires only 1/3 of the land to sustain a plant-based diet. Plant-based living is also a more sustainable means to feeding people.
#3) You’ll Have to Find New Protein Sources
Protein is vital to the function of the body, from the breaking down of nutrients for protein absorption to the regulatory elimination of waste. The not so good news about a vegan diet is that it will challenge you to find other protein sources. The good news is that you don’t need meat for protein and it can be fun to learn new food combinations that make up complete proteins.
Proteins are the building blocks of life and everyone needs them. They break down into amino acids that build cell repair and growth. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get at least. 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body mass.
The best sources non-meat proteins include soybeans, lentils, beans, nuts, quinoa, and seitan.
#4) Too Much Soy Isn’t Good for You
Just because you are going meatless doesn’t mean that you should go overboard on eating certain products such as soy. Although the nutrient is good for you, too much soy can be worse than eating high quality meat.
Meatless products are usually filled with chemicals and are loaded with sodium and preservatives so it’s best to carefully read labels. Also there are many recipes out there that are meatless that offer a wide range of vegetable and bean ingredients that are tasty as well as healthy.
The best versions of soy are miso, tempeh, tofu, milk and edamame.
#5) You Don’t Have to Go Vegan at the Drop of a Hat
You don’t become a vegan overnight. It takes work, so it should also take some time. As you add more plant-based foods to your diet, cut back on animal products, especially the non-organic, processed and refined forms.
Making gradual changes will allow you to assess how you are feeling along the way. If you are used to savory and hearty meals, then vegan eating offers an endless array of choices. This will also allow you to experiment with oils such as coconut, sesame, olive, grapeseed, etc. and an assortment of herbs that will make your meals more delicious.
Becoming a vegan might seem difficult at first but it shouldn’t be rocket science. As you gain more knowledge about the benefits of plant-based living, being a vegan will become second nature. Don’t listen to the naysayers, only you can determine what’s right for your body and mind.
Tell us about your diet. Are you a vegan? Are you considering becoming a vegan or is it not for you? Do you have any other particular dietary restrictions? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear your interesting stories!