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In recent years, veganism has seen increased adoption. It promotes a way of living that is against animal exploitation and cruelty, be it in the form of food we consume or clothes we wear. A vegan diet is not based on any animal products, meat, eggs, and dairy.
This form of diet and lifestyle ensures that its practitioners are able to manage their weight efficiently, contribute positively to reduce global greenhouse emissions, and ward off ailments such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
While there are many advantages of following a vegan diet, a diet based mostly on plant food sources can cause nutritional deficiencies. It is also important to note, that for people who are just starting out, a vegan lifestyle can be a big jolt to overall health. Therefore, it is important to start slow and monitor yourself on a periodic basis.
These tips could help vegans, who are just starting out, to effectively transition to their new lifestyle and lead healthy lives:
1. Ensure that your diet is offering all vital nutrients
Plant-based foods may not be adequate food sources to derive critical nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, calcium and zinc. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in research, highlighted that “eliminating all animal products from the diet increases the risk of certain nutritional deficiencies.”
A deficiency of these nutrients may cause health problems, such as fatigue, skin rashes, constipation, loss of appetite, lack of focus, and mood fluctuations. More serious conditions such as anaemia may also develop as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency, and vitamin D deficiency could lead to osteoporosis.
2. Monitor your health regularly
A change in diet, as significant as a vegan one, is bound to impact one’s health status and overall energy levels. Therefore, tracking your health metrics, such as blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and calorie intake is important to monitor any and all changes to your physical health. You could consider using fitness trackers or even indulge in fitness journaling. This will help you analyse any drastic changes to your health status, energy levels, and dietary plan, and will enable you to take any mitigating steps, if necessary.
3. Have adequate portions and satisfying meals
Just because you are transitioning to a vegan diet, doesn’t mean that your meals have to lack flavour, or are not supposed to satiate your hunger. You could include mushrooms, legumes such as beans and chickpeas, tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach, in your diet. You could use these foods to make tasty and nutritious dishes!
These foods are also rich in iron, vitamin B12, magnesium and fiber, thereby making you feel full and providing the required nutrients to your body. So ensure that you are having adequate portions and making your meals satisfying and tasty.
These tips will help you start off your journey towards veganism, however, ensure that you consult a medical professional, in case you feel fatigued often or are experiencing weakness in the body.