Different people start vegan diets for various reasons. One of the reasons people go vegan is that they have issues with animal protein, especially red meat. According to health experts, red meat can have adverse effects on the body, like increasing the risk of lifestyle diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. Some studies also state that red meat can cause some cancers in the body. Other people start taking a vegan diet because they believe in animal welfare.
These people have emotional attachments to animals, and they believe that animals have a right to life. Some people start taking a vegan diet because they do environmental activism, and they think that the current issues that we have with the environment are caused by animal agriculture. You may have personal reasons for going vegan, and this article will take you through how you can start your vegan diet.
Plan a Meal Timetable
Planning on the meals you will be making beforehand will save you time and help you avoid being indecisive when choosing what to eat. You can write down the meals that you plan to eat that week. Having this meal plan will help you when doing your shopping because you will not forget some things. The next step is picking a day that works for you, on a weekday or the weekend. It will depend on your work schedule. You can keep changing the meal plan with time.
Make Veggies the Star in your Meal Plan
When people start a vegan diet, they pay more attention to the meals they cannot eat instead of what they will be eating. It is the wrong way to go about it. When going vegan, you need to plan on what will be fundamental in your meals. You can make vegetables to be part of your meals because they have many health benefits. These health benefits include providing vitamins like vitamin A and K and essential minerals. Vegetables also help you maintain a healthy weight, and they also contain fiber which helps with digestion.
Eat a Variety of Food
When you get on a healthy diet, you may lack some nutrients if you do not eat various foods. To avoid this, ensure that you eat a well-balanced meal. Your meal should have carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. You can get proteins from legumes like beans and lentils, while vegetables will provide you with the necessary vitamins.
Eat Whole Grain
Another thing to consider when starting your vegan diet is switching unhealthy meals with healthy ones. For instance, you can change from refined grains like white bread and pasta to whole grains like brown rice. Whole grains have more nutrients than refined grains because nutrients are lost when grains get refined. Some of the nutrients that you can get from whole grain include B vitamins and fiber.
Get Enough Iron
The best sources of iron are animal sources like red meat and chicken. If you do not eat vegan foods with enough iron, you can be at risk of iron deficiency. The risk is higher in females more than males, especially pregnant women and adolescent girls. Some of the vegan foods that can give you iron include legumes like beans and green leafy vegetables like spinach. However, unlike iron from animal sources, the iron that you get from plants is harder to absorb in the body. However, you can increase iron absorption by eating rich vitamin C, like oranges and broccoli. Foods that are calcium-rich delay the absorption of iron.
Focus on Fish-free Omega 3 Sources
When you decide to start a vegan diet, you will be at risk of some nutrient deficiencies. It is, therefore, crucial for you to go out of your way to get these nutrients. Omega 3 helps in the brain, eye, and heart health, and the highest source of omega 3 is fish like salmon. You can still get omega 3 from plant sources like soy, canola oil, and walnuts. The Omega 3 from plant sources is lower than that from fatty fish, but it will still give you the necessary nutrients.
In summary, people start taking a vegan diet for different reasons. Most people do so because they are passionate about animal welfare, and they believe that animals also deserve a right to life. Others go vegan because they want to avoid the risks associated with red meat, like cardiovascular diseases and some cancers. When you want to start a vegan diet, make a meal plan that will help you when shopping, and make veggies the main component. Also, ensure that you get a well-balanced diet that will give you all the nutrients you require, like vitamins, iron, and fiber.