Veganism is much more than a diet–it’s also a lifestyle. Read on to know how to change to a vegan diet while keeping your body healthy.
In this article:
Going Plant-Based: How to Change to a Vegan Diet
What is a Vegan Diet?
Vegan diets exclude meat and meat products, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products — and all other foods that contain these.
There are several reasons why people choose to resort to a vegan diet. It could be for health reasons, a slimmer waist, as a movement against animal cruelty, and the belief that veganism is better for the environment. Whatever your reason is, going vegan could be challenging and may also increase the risk of nutrient deficiency if not done right. If not planned properly, you could miss out on essential nutrients, such as calcium, iron, and vitamin B12.
A vegan diet may or may not be healthy. For instance, junk-food vegan diets consist of eating food such as fries, chips, and burgers, maybe vegan, but it does not necessarily mean they are healthful. Here we list some ways on how to change to a vegan diet while staying healthy.
How to Change to a Vegan Diet
Not ready to go cold turkey? Here are some ways you can start your plant-based diet slowly, but surely:
Slowly Cut Down on Processed Food and Meat
Any food that’s processed is usually dried, canned, baked, or pasteurized. Processed food may be convenient, but those with additives such as sodium, dextrose, trans fats, maltose, hydrogenated oil, and added sugar pose serious health risks.
When preparing your meals, you can decrease meat and serve a larger proportion of vegetable sides or salads. Better yet, you can use vegetable alternatives to meat when cooking your favorite meal.
Start from Pescetarian or Vegetarian Diet
One way to change to a vegan diet is by starting with a pescetarian diet.
Pescetarian diet constitutes a plant-based diet of legumes, nuts, whole grains, and healthy fats and seafood. A pescetarian does not consume meat or meat products but instead eats seafood, vegetables, and fruits.
If you are not ready to give up poultry and animal products just yet, you can choose to start with a vegetarian diet. A vegetarian diet may refer to the following:
- Lacto-vegetarian diets eliminate meat, eggs and poultry, fish, and other foods containing them. Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and butter, are still consumed.
- Ovo-vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy products but allow eggs.
- Lacto-Ovo vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, and poultry but may consume dairy eggs and dairy products.
These diets are less restricted and may help you gradually transition to a vegan diet.
Stock Up on Healthy Food
The best way to move on to another diet is by substituting what constitutes the old ones with healthier options.
Next time you visit the supermarket, try to pick more from the fruits and vegetable section. You may also try to get the vegan alternatives of products such as milk, cheese, broth, and butter. This will help you slowly replace meat-based products in your pantry. Just make sure to still get enough micronutrients from your stock by choosing foods that are fortified with Vitamin D, iron, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamin B12.
Learn and Collect Vegan Recipes
The vegan diet is not just about tofu and green leafy vegetables!
Learning how to cook your vegan meals may save you from backpedaling to your old diet, especially when vegan meals are not available in your workplace cafeteria. There are so many more dishes you can enjoy once you search and collect for vegan recipes. In several cases, your favorite meals may also have vegan counterparts, so that you can start with that.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
One thing that might pull you back to meat products is the abundance of tempting photos of food on social media.
You can choose to turn this around and use social media to your advantage. For instance, you can start following Instagram accounts that promote plant-based diets and meals. You can also join Facebook communities or groups that share the same goal as you. This way, you will be reminded of your goals and, at the same time, benefit from the virtual support of the people that goes through the same transition.
Transitioning to a new diet, especially the one far from your current diet, requires careful planning and discipline for it to be sustainable in the long run. After all, your diet contributes significantly to your overall health. If you plan on going vegan, make sure to choose balanced food and provide the necessary vitamins and nutrients that your body needs.
How would you like to start your vegan diet? Let us know in the comments section below!