You’ve read about the benefits, heard from your vegan friends, and are ready to take the plunge into the meatless lifestyle. This is a decision that will change your life, resulting in increased longevity, less chance of major illnesses, and a sure path to health and fitness. These tips will help you succeed.
Not Everyone Makes the Cut as a Vegan
The vegan diet is a lot of things to a lot of people, but it isn’t always easy. Whether your lifelong addictions to animal products take their toll or you become overwhelmed by social pressures from family and friends, some degree of challenge can be expected. Ultimately, the vegans who have strong reasons for sticking to the lifestyle are most likely to succeed, especially if they aren’t trying it alone.
How Many Former Vegans are There?
Of those who decide to commit to the vegan diet, some will stick with it for a lifetime. Others try it for awhile and revert back, but how many people does this apply to? To put it into perspective, 2% of the population of American adults currently identify as vegan or vegetarian, and 10% have tried it before and reverted. This begs the question of what is missing from those who give up on the lifestyle.
Sticking with the Vegan Diet: 4 Useful Tips
Many people try veganism and experience changes that positively affect every aspect of their lives. But to get deep enough into the lifestyle and reap the benefits, you must resist temptation, overcome times of uncertainty and confusion, and respond to questions from many curious people. Fortunately, several key tips will help you stick to it, even during the times when you’re tempted to stray.
1. Planning is Vital for Vegans
Vegans specifically choose the foods they consume every day and not just anything on the menu will do. Forgetting to plan out the foods you want to buy can leave you hungry and frustrated, especially if you’re running low on protein or another major nutrient. Luckily, a little planning can ensure that you always have reliable vegan options. Here are recommendations that will set you up for success on the vegan diet:
- Make a list of fresh, plant-based options, whole grains, beans, and seeds you need each week
- Find appealing recipes and plan your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
- Ensure that you get vegan food suitable for use as healthy snacks
- Consider trying a wide array of foods early on and tracking the ones that work best for you
The Downside of Fresh, Organic Foods
When planning your vegan grocery list, remember to only get what you can use or freeze. This is because fresh fruits and veggies have a shelf-life, and in many cases, it’s only several days. But in the case of long-lasting veggies like potatoes, they can last for months if properly stored – the key is to know the difference. Take note of these 10 plant-based foods that lose their freshness within a few days:
- Lettuce and leafy greens
Factor in the most nutritious plant-based foods on your list and ensure that you use them before they go bad. Doing this will guarantee that you have food on hand and will save significant money for your budget.
2. Know the Plant Proteins
Being full on the vegan diet never should be a problem, but new vegans who go into it without planning can struggle to find the right foods. Randomly buying veggies might not keep you satiated, but strategically choosing superfoods that are loaded with protein will. Vegans have many protein-rich options to choose from, and they include grains, beans, seeds, nuts, and plant proteins.
High-protein Categories of Vegan Foods
Grains like quinoa, kamut, amaranth, sorghum, and teff each have more than 8g of protein per cup.
Beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber. Consider black beans, refried beans, soybeans, navy beans, pinto beans, and others as high protein additions to your favorite recipes.
Don’t underestimate seeds when it comes to a high-protein snack. Pumpkin seeds are excellent for protein, as are sesame, sunflower, flax, and chia. Many vegans use seeds to top their favorite smoothies or salads.
In addition to Omega 3 fatty acids, nuts are very potent sources of polyunsaturated fats – which are the good fats – in addition to high levels of protein. Ideal for a snack or as an ingredient to cook with, almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, and macadamia nuts are all viable options. Plus, many forms of nut butter and nut-based milks are loaded with significant amounts of protein.
When looking for protein-potent foods on the vegan diet, veggies cannot be underestimated. Vegetables will form the cornerstone of your meals while on the vegan diet, so it’s worth the time to find some appealing vegetable-based recipes that involve them. Some veggies that pack a punch include asparagus, lentils, broccoli, edamame, bean sprouts, and peas which pack 8g of protein per cup.
3. Counter the Weaknesses
A high quality multi-vitamin can compensate for the few nutrients that are lacking on a vegan diet. These include vitamins B-12 and D, creatine, and animal-based Omega-3s. If you prefer specific supplements to target your most significant deficiencies, Bhu Foods offer all of the extras vegans need to stay in tip-top shape. Alternatively, many vitamins will cover all of these nutrients in one pill.
4. Be Prepared for Some Challenging Times
Any major life change comes with a period of adjustment and some growing pains until your plans fall into place. Face it, there will very likely be days when you miss meat, dairy, cheeseburgers, and more. In these times, it’s important to have high quality vegan foods on hand that you know you like so you can keep your cravings under control.
Social Challenges of Being Vegan
Aside from cravings, another way you’ll be challenged as a vegan is with questions and comments from friends, relatives, and total strangers. Whether you like explaining your decision to go vegan or don’t, people will be curious. Expect questions about why you started, what you eat, and whether you miss meat. Simply being prepared for this increased level of interest in your dietary habits can help you embrace the vegan lifestyle with a positive mindset.
Going Vegan and Staying Vegan
Starting veganism and sticking with it until your goals are achieved are two different things. As with most new endeavors, preparation is key to staying true to your vegan principles. Preparing to have enough of the right foods to sustain you; preparing recipes that will make awesome dinners; preparing the supplements you’ll need before starting; each of these steps will increase your odds of staying vegan.