Thinking of shoving milk and eggs aside? If you’re thinking about starting a vegan diet, congrats!
There’s been a lot of popularity around veganism lately. In the span of just 12 months, the demand for vegan food rose by 140%. With so many people choosing to go vegan, there’s plenty of info out there to help you start your journey.
Instead of searching for a number of vegan guides, keep reading! We have everything you need to know before starting a vegan diet. With this guide, you can learn how to go vegan and set yourself up for success.
Grab your favorite veggies and get started.
What is a Vegan Diet?
Before you learn how to go vegan overnight, it helps to know exactly what you’re getting into.
A vegan diet is a diet based exclusively on plant foods. Veganism also involves living without any form of animal exploitation or cruelty. That includes exploiting animals for food, clothing, or other products.
As a result, a vegan diet excludes all animal products, including byproducts such as eggs and dairy.
People switch to a vegan diet for many reasons. For some people, it’s about environmental, ethical, or health concerns.
Different Kinds of Vegan Diets
There are different kinds of vegan diets you can choose from. Before starting a vegan diet, make sure to evaluate your body’s needs. Here are a few of the most common types of vegan diets:
- The 80/10/10 diet: a raw-food vegan diet that’s high on raw fruits and soft greens while limiting fat-rich plants
- The starch solution: a low-fat, high-carb vegan diet that replaces fruit with cooked starches
- Raw ’til 4: a low-fat vegan diet that involves eating raw food until 4 p.m.
- Raw-food vegan diet: a diet based on raw fruits, vegetables, seeds, or plant foods cooked below 118°F
- Whole-food vegan diet: a diet involving a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds
- Junk-food vegan diet: a diet that replaces whole plant foods with mock meats, cheeses, and other processed vegan foods
While there are several vegan diets to choose from, the type you decide on depends on your body and goals.
Health Benefits of a Vegan Diet
According to this report, vegan diets offer additional protection for obesity, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and cardiovascular mortality compared to vegetarian diets. When done right, starting a vegan diet offers a number of different health benefits.
Vegans often have a lower body mass index than non-vegans. As a result, many people choose vegan diets to lose weight.
A vegan diet can help you reduce the number of calories you eat.
The higher dietary fiber intake can also help you feel fuller throughout the day. With more fiber in your diet, you’re less likely to snack or consume empty calories.
Of course, balancing your vegan diet with working out and these yoga poses helps, too.
Blood Sugar & Type 2 Diabetes
A vegan diet cuts out sugary and starchy snack foods.
In addition to lowering your blood sugar levels, you’ll also experience higher insulin sensitivity and lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Eating more fiber can help alter your body’s blood sugar response. Losing weight after starting a vegan diet can also lower your blood sugar levels.
A vegan diet can also protect your heart.
According to this study, a plant-based diet helped lower the risk of high blood pressure as well as the risk of dying from heart disease. Reducing your LDL, total cholesterol, and blood sugar can all help improve your heart health.
Other Health Benefits
Starting a vegan diet can also help:
- Reduce your risk of developing cancer
- Reduce arthritis pain symptoms
- Improve kidney function
- Reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease
To experience these health benefits, it’s important you follow a vegan diet the right way.
Foods to Eat & Avoid
First, it helps to know which foods to avoid. Vegans avoid any animal-derived foods, such as:
- Meat and poultry: chicken, turkey, goose, duck, organ meat, lamb, beef, pork
- Seafood: all types of fish, shrimp, scallops, mussels, crab, lobster, calamari
- Dairy: ice cream, cream, cheese, yogurt, butter, milk, yogurt
- Eggs from any animal
- Bee products: honey, bee pollen, jelly
- Animal-based ingredients: animal-derived vitamin D3, fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids, whey, lactose, gelatin
Instead, try adding these foods to your diet:
- Legumes: beans, lentils, peas
- Nuts and nut butters
- Seeds: hemp, chia, flaxseed, almonds, walnuts
- Tofu, tempeh, seitan
- Nutritional yeast
- Sprouted and fermented plant foods: miso, natto, pickles, kimchi, kombucha
- Fruits and vegetables (especially leafy greens): spinach, kale, bok choy
- Whole grains, cereals
Make sure to plan for a balanced diet. Otherwise, you could lose out on essential vitamins and nutrients.
Vegans are at higher risk for low levels of:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Long-chain omega-3s
To avoid vitamin deficiency, make sure to add the proper supplements to your diet. You can also ferment and sprout foods to enhance your body’s absorption of iron and zinc. Using an iron cast pot can increase iron absorption as well.
Tips on Being Vegan
Here are a few additional tips to consider before starting a vegan diet:
- Determine why you’re choosing to go vegan to keep yourself motivated and focused
- Take it slowly instead of going vegan overnight to give your body and mind time to adapt
- Consult a nutrition coach to make sure you’re getting the right vitamins and nutrients
- Connect with other vegans for inspiration and guidance
- Educate yourself by checking online vegan resources
- Make sure you’re getting the right macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins)
- Focus on nutrient diversity and density
- Make a list of your favorites fruits, vegetables, proteins, and vegan snacks
Don’t forget to experiment with vegan recipes. That way, you can have a little fun and enjoy your vegan journey.
Munch on This: Your Guide for Starting a Vegan Diet
Grab your favorite fruits, veggies, and nuts! Now that you’re prepped, starting a vegan diet will feel a lot easier. Start snacking and enjoy the journey.
Don’t forget to supplement your diet with a healthy workout. Try this restorative yoga sequence today for a stronger start!