Thanks to Jade Blossom for this guest post!
Going vegan is one of the most fulfilling decisions you can make, but many are scared to take a plunge because they think it’s too difficult to begin. Spoiler alert: going vegan isn’t scary! Read below for some answers to common questions on being a new vegan.
1) Will I need to take supplements?
If you find yourself eating more veg and fruit as a result of your new diet, chances are you’re getting a lot of vitamins and minerals that you weren’t before! However, our bodies have evolved over time and adapted to a lifestyle of eating processed foods and the like. Our B12 stores are an example of how our bodies have adapted, and this vitamin can be hard to come by on a vegan diet. It’s important to keep in touch with a nutritionist who will help you decide if you need to take supplements alongside your vegan diet.
*Note from Hooked on Plants: Fave supplement to cover the bases? Complement Plus (use ‘hookedonplants’ for a discount)
2) What about my protein intake?
This deserves its own subheading, as it’s one of the most common questions out there. As you continue to do research and find ways to move towards a vegan diet, you’ll find that there are tons of vegan protein sources that are equally as yummy as your favourite meat dish! Tofu is often cited as an alternative, but chickpeas and beans are equally great sources of meat that are also quite versatile kitchen staples.
*Note from Hooked on Plants: Every essential amino acid is found in the plant kingdom. Simply eat enough calories, and you’ll be getting enough protein! Don’t worry about it:) The people who do need slightly more than the recommended 0.8g/KG of body weight are body builders, teens, and seniors. Check out these athletes who are far from protein deficient
3) Do I have to eat everything raw?
While vegans do love salad, it’s far from the only thing you get to eat! In fact, new vegans are at a great place to start experimenting in the kitchen and creating fun alternatives to their daily food staples. For instance, did you know that you can make your own almond milk at home? Culinary experimentation is one of the fun by-products of going vegan that most people don’t know about. Adopting a new diet is the perfect way to exercise those creative muscles while doing a bit of research, too!
*Note from Hooked On Plants: Just because you’re going vegan, doesn’t mean you have to put pressure on yourself to all of a sudden go raw vegan, 100% whole foods, be the next best endurance athlete, quit drinking, or simply try to be perfect in every way. Being vegan should be fun, casual, normal and super enjoyable. We love raw foods, but eat cooked to… it’s all about veganizing old fave’s and eating as much variety of fibre-rich plants as you can to diversify your microbiome (right Dr. B?)
4) Low-carb, high-carb, why the confusion?
Use this as a time to embrace whole grains such as brown rice. This switch from refined white rice to brown is easy to make, as the rice cooker reviews and guides on this website prove that today’s modern rice cookers aren’t just made for white rice. If you’re going vegan as a way to maintain overall health, don’t be afraid of complex carb in-take (potatoes, whole grains, legumes, fruits and veggies should be the base of your healthy vegan diet).
* Note from Hooked on Plants: Carbs get a bad reputation because refined carbs are lumped into the same category as complex/whole carbs. They are far from the same. Refined carbs include things with white sugar and flour, stripped of their fibre and most of their nutrients. Complex/Whole Carbs are in their natural state with fibre, vitamins, minerals and all, like nature intended. Eat your potatoes! (And, whole grains, legumes, fruits + veggies). They’re life-giving packages of goodness.
5) Is a vegan diet okay for athletes?
Of course! If you’re someone who likes to keep an active lifestyle, you can rest easy knowing that a vegan diet can still give you enough energy you need to power through a workout. Some athletes even credit the mental health benefits of going vegan. As your body adapts to your new vegan diet, you’ll find that you may be feeling less fatigued and more energized all the time. That’s a huge win!
*Note from Hooked on Plants: Eating more whole food plant based benefits athletes greatly and helps injury recovery too. The food is packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants to help combat chronic fatique and helps you recover from your last work out so you can get back to training sooner, too. Watch the GameChangers on Netflix if you haven’t yet, for inspiration!
While any new lifestyle change comes with some growing pains, the journey to becoming a vegan is a fun time to re-visit your relationship with your body and where your food is actually coming from.
Exclusively written for hookedonplants.ca by Jade Blossom
*Note from Hooked on Plants:
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