The 10 Top Tips for Switching to a Vegan Diet by Vigorous Herbs
When changing your diet to a vegan diet, there are some sticking points that must be considered in any case, so that you also feel great and do something for your health. Your diet should ultimately be an enrichment and not a sacrifice. In addition to health aspects, problems can also arise in everyday life and social life.
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Actually, it is always the same mistakes that I see in clients or friends. And after 2 weeks it says: “No, vegan is not for me.” So that the same thing doesn’t happen to you and you can do it right from the start, I have below my top ten tips for changing your diet to a vegan diet compiled:
1. Not only omit, but also add
First things first: When you switch to a vegan diet, it shouldn’t just be about “omitting”. That is why I find the term “vegan” sometimes unfavorable, as it is limited to what one supposedly “renounces”.
But if you continue to eat as before and simply leave out the animal components, you run the risk of not covering all the nutrients. Most likely he will “give up” again after a short time because he does not feel vital and is totally limited in his choices.
See your diet change as an opportunity to discover new foods that you didn’t even know or thought you couldn’t taste. There is so much to explore!
2. Educate yourself about nutrients
First of all: The majority of India currently suffer from nutritional deficiencies – regardless of the diet. So if I recommend dealing with nutrients when switching to vegan, it initially has less to do with the diet itself. I would give this recommendation to anyone who wants to eat healthily.
You should ask yourself the following questions: Which nutrients are potentially critical in a vegan diet? Which foods can I completely cover my needs? Which ones should you consider supplementing with? And for which nutrients should you clarify the supply with a blood test?
If you really want to take advantage of the health benefits of a vegan diet, a plant-based whole-food diet is ideal. Then you certainly don’t need to drive yourself crazy about nutrients. A certain basic understanding is of course helpful.
3. Increase your portion sizes
Since plant-based foods usually have a lower energy density, it is very important to eat enough and, if necessary, to track this at the beginning. The good news is, you can eat a lot more than you did before. But we are not used to this volume if one has previously fed according to the western standard diet. Then, intuitively, we often eat too little. For example, if we have a plate of vegetables as a meal, it may well be that it contains only half as many calories as a plate of mixed foods – especially when it comes to unprocessed plant-based foods. So feel free to grab a second serving!
4. Stick to unprocessed foods
Even though there are now all kinds of so-called “substitute products” made from wheat, soy, etc. in supermarkets, it is not recommended to include them in your daily diet. Not everything that is labeled “vegan” is healthy. I also love to try out new products from sauces to chocolates to lupine schnitzel. But if you really want to do something for YOU, then it is optimal if 80% of your food is unprocessed. In other words: vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts.
5. Be well prepared
Very often the resolutions to eat a healthy vegan diet fail due to insufficient preparation. If you come home hungry after a day at work and can’t find anything suitable in the fridge, the chances are you will reach for something unhealthy. Who has the patience to go shopping and then cook fresh? I wouldn’t have it either. That’s why you make it a lot easier for yourself when your kitchen is filled with healthy, whole foods. There are some staples, such as quinoa, brown rice, or lentils, that can be stored very well. But I also always try to buy fresh fruit and vegetables a few days in advance. It is important that you always have good alternatives at home when you get hungry quickly. But it can also be difficult on the go. It is better to be armed with snacks in case of an emergency. A few nuts, energy bars, and overnight oats are my favorites.
6. Dare to ask about ingredients when you’re away
Yes, of course, the switch to vegan is easier to implement if you always cook fresh yourself and prepare your food at home. But it’s no longer a problem to eat vegan when you’re out. On the one hand, there are great apps, such as Vanilla bean, that show you vegan-vegetarian gastronomy options in your area. On the other hand, you can also go to restaurants that have not labeled their dishes directly as “vegan”. Usually, something vegan can be put together if you ask for it.
Whether at your favorite baker or in a restaurant – feel free to ask whether the product or dish is vegan. Or what you can put together vegan if necessary. Yes, it can be strange for you at first. But that changes over time. In addition, the companies see that there is a targeted demand for plant-based products and are ultimately expanding their range. At some cafes, I asked so often whether they also offer soy milk until one day I received the answer: “Yes, we have that new on the menu”.
7. Be aware of your influence
It becomes much easier to stick to the vegan diet when you realize the tremendously positive effects you are supporting. To put it simply: You are living exactly the change that we need! A plant-based diet is more resource-efficient, more environmentally friendly, non-violent, and more socially acceptable than the standard diet of India.
8. Get inspiration
The number of vegan cookbooks has exploded in recent years. Over 200 copies were published in 2016 alone. Depending on whether you are interested in sweet, hearty, Italian or gluten-free vegan cuisine, you can be inspired. Blogs and social networks are a cheaper alternative. For example: https://vigorousherbs.com/
9. Connect with allies
In my opinion, this is the essential point alongside the health aspects. In your own experience, you can very quickly feel alone and even as an outsider. If your family, friends, or colleagues react to your diet change with rejection or ridicule, it can be quite discouraging. It is all the more important to look for like-minded people in the vegan community. Because you are definitely not alone! Maybe there is a vegan get-together in your city, meetups that are organized via Instagram or you are looking for vegan Facebook groups in your city.
10. Take your time & put aside perfectionism
You don’t have to eat 100% vegan overnight. Take this unnecessary pressure off yourself. Every single step in the right direction counts and it doesn’t matter to be perfect. Even if it can be overwhelming at first, it gets a lot easier over time. The more you get involved and try new things, the easier it becomes. But this can take time, depending on what your previous diet was like.
You finally want to go vegan in the right and healthy way?
I think it’s great when you decide to go vegan or at least want to increase the plant-based component in your diet. Better yet, if you can also get all of the health benefits of a plant-based diet. And that can be very complex and overwhelming here and there.
For me, switching to a vegan diet is a core topic of my advice. Together with my clients, I look at current eating habits and goals and then develop strategies and nutrition plans based on them. The subject of nutrients and supplements naturally also plays a major role.
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