How to get started as a vegan

Thinking of ditching meat and dairy? Find out how it’s done!

Going vegan is a big step and needs to be considered carefully. Ditching animal product may leave you confused as to where you  will find adequate nutrients and protein. This article is a guide to making that transition without missing out on vital dietary resources. Learn how to get started as a vegan and improve your health for life.

Where do I get my protein from?

As a vegan it is important to know that this is actually nothing to worry about. It is very rare that someone would become protein deficient  Not only is protein found in many plant foods in the form of amino acids, but you don’t actually need much protein to be healthy. On a contrary, with protein, often less is more! Protein foods should only make up about 10-20% of your calorific intake. this is easy to achieve with a mixture of some of the following foods.

  • beans (Soya, broad, kidney…)
  • chick peas
  • lentils
  • peas
  • avocado
  • nuts (Almonds, cashews…)
  • Quinoa

In fact most plant foods contain essential amino acids, so as long as you mix up your food choices, you will always get enough protein in your diet.

I’ve heard you can’t get B12 from vegetables?

Unfortunately this is true. B12 is produced by a bacteria in the soil and due to our farming practice and over hygienic preparation of vegetables, you will likely lack this essential nutrient if you become vegan. Therefore a B12 or B complex supplement is recommended.

What about essential fatty acids? Don’t we need to eat fish?

Yes, some oily fish are a good source of omega 3, however this can also be sourced from the following foods.

  • flaxseed (linseed)
  • walnuts
  • canola oil

Also you could take vegan DHA supplements which contain algae (this is where the fish get their omega 3s).

Will I get weak bones if I don’t drink milk?

No. not even close! In fact you are statistically more likely to suffer broken bones if you consume dairy products than if you are vegan. This is because the acidifying affect of animal products causes calcium to be extracted from the bones to balance the blood pH. However if you are worried about your calcium, greens such as spinach are a great source of calcium and will keep you topped up.

A few more useful dietary additions and supplements…

Below is a useful vegan shopping list to help you toward great health.

  • Linseed
  • Vegan B-complex supplement
  • Almonds
  • Vegan Digestive enzyme supplement
  • Vegan Vitamin D3 (the sunlight hormone)
  • Wheatgrass
    • chlorophyll (70%)
    • beta-carotene
    • calcium
    • iron
    • vitamin A
    • B vitamins
    • magnesium
    • phosphorous
    • etc…

The last word…

Turning vegan takes thought and preparation, but the health benefits massively outweigh the extra effort. The thing I like most about turning vegan is the way my diet has become more interesting and exciting. I am constantly trying new things and I have a taste for foods I had never even heard of a few years ago. Going vegan is an adventure and your body will thank you for it later!

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