Updated: Mar 2
So, it’s January again. And this time, a lot of people now feel ready to experiment with eating a more plant based diet. As the name says, in my opinion, a vegan diet should be primarily plants.
However, some people believe that by simply cutting out all animal products, they do their health a massive service.
In some cases, doing this can make a big improvement on your health, yes, but it’s not always the case.
Here are 5 things to keep in mind when you plan to switch to a vegan diet.
Since this is a plant-based lifestyle, choose for as many plants as you can possibly get in. (this is also advice I give to my non-vegan clients, as most people don’t eat enough veggies and fruit, which is 7-10 portions per day)
This will help to get a wide range of vitamins and minerals into your daily meals, and will satisfy you.
Think: stir-fried veggies for breakfast, smoothies, salads, lettuce wraps, stews, veggie dips, veggie nut loafs, and so on.
The more veg, the better.
Cut the crap
No seriously, nowadays you can get about anything in a vegan version.
From burgers, to mock-meats, to cakes and other treats.
These products can come in handy when you’re in a pinch, but if you look at the ingredients lists on the back of the package, how close are they actually to nature?
A lot of vegan products have either a lot of added sugar or trans fats, to make up for the taste, or are full of additives and nasties.
My golden rule: if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!
Remember to eat protein
A lot of people find they feel as if they lose weight when they switch to a vegan diet, and in some cases the weight loss is coming from a loss of muscle mass.
This is why it’s important to get some good quality vegan sources of protein into your diet, such as: pulses, tofu, nuts, seeds, nut butters, or even a good quality vegan protein powder (without added artificial sweeteners and flavouring)
Ensuring you have some form of protein with each meal will also help you feel satiated and helps with balancing your blood sugar.
Spice things up
If your first thought of vegan food is bland sloppy veg, you are mistaken!
Vegan food can be really tasty, especially if you use the right seasoning, such as spices, herbs and the right composition in dressings.
Splashing out on a good quality olive oil (to drizzle on your salads) or an aged balsamic vinegar can really lift your dish and make it more interesting.
I’ve been known to add a lot of spices to my curries, stir-fries and stews, vegan or not.
Even though I personally don’t follow a complete vegan diet, I love vegan dishes and really enjoy experimenting in the kitchen while trying out new vegan cakes, desserts and soups and stews.
Give it your best shot, and remember, a complete vegan diet might not be for you.
You might find that you prefer a flexitarian approach, or feel better when you’ve cut out all dairy products such as milk, cheese and butter, but still would like to enjoy some eggs.
No need to beat yourself up over it, just have a think about what you want from your diet, what your goals are and your reason to do this.