Thinking on eating plant-based or vegan? Read this first!!!
I was shaking my head when I read the headline: Beyonce goes vegan again!
I said to myself – oh boy, this could mean trouble for the general public.
Because let’s be honest: unlike Beyonce most of us don’t have professional chefs or a team or dietitians or nutritionists planning our meals.
Don’t get me wrong, I STRONGLY believe that reducing your animal protein intake can lead to great health benefits. I have tried it and proved it to myself over and over again.
Before I went into a whole-foods plant-based lifestyle, I did A LOT of research. I needed to first understand what worked for my body and what didn’t.
For example, I learned that I am allergic to the pesticides used on a lot of fruits (apples, plums, cherries, kiwis, etc).
When you adopt a plant-based lifestyle, you WANT to include lots of fruits into your meals and snacks.
Later, I realized that purchasing most of these fruits Organic will solve my mild allergic reaction, except for Cherries ☹
I love eating beans, they are yummy, amazing, a great source of plant-based protein AND I grew up eating beans, so my body has always been used to the fiber/carb combination beans bring to the table.
On the other hand, my Mom as a mild intolerance to certain types of beans, so for her, it is crucial to find other alternatives, so she can guarantee her intake of protein is satisfied.
Start with baby steps: try out Meatless Monday, for example, for a few weeks.
This will help you create a better connection and awareness of how your body feels when you remove meat, dairy, and other animal protein.
Do you find yourself eating more refined carbs when you do meatless Mondays, or do you include an amazing variety of veggies that you love and keep you full?
These questions are very important.
The next step I would recommend would be to eat 1 whole-food plant-based meal every day for 21 days, meaning it does not contain meats, fish, pork, eggs, poultry, or any meat alternatives like tofu or textured TVP. It also doesn’t include dairy or cheese.
Easy Tip: If you get dinner packages delivered to your house a few times a week, switch your orders to plant-based meals and see how it goes.
Watch out for an increase in FAT intake! Often going vegan doesn’t mean eating healthy – this is known as a “Junk Vegan”, YES you eliminated meats and animal protein, but end up consuming more fats than before and gaining weight in some cases. Click here to read more about Junk Vegans.
Why does this happen?
A lot of processed or refined vegan foods have higher oil content.
Also, you may notice you get full faster and for longer periods of time when you eat a variety of nuts as snacks. You may have peanut butter or almond butter on toast for breakfast or include it into your healthy fruit and veggies smoothies.
At the end, if you are not paying attention, you may have doubled the fat intakes in your day, even if they are considered as healthy fats.
I’ve fallen into this mistake myself.
I would bring nuts to work as a snack and eat toast with almond butter and bananas for breakfast.
Although I didn’t really gain weight, my LDL cholesterol numbers got pretty high because of this! (Find out how I lowered my cholesterol following a plant-based diet here).
Another great tip: Find support.
If you are seriously considering transitioning to plant-based, get HELP!
You can do it yourself, I know, but having someone to go over what you are eating and keeping you accountable to keep track of your daily meals is WORTH IT! Trust me.
One time I heard a friend saying she went vegan and a few nights a week she ate apples with nut butter for dinner.
Although it was a combination of healthier foods, it wasn’t providing enough nutrients to her body. (You can schedule a free 30-min wellness call with me if you want my help. Click here)
Identify your favorite fruits and vegetables.
Knowing which fruits and vegetables you enjoy the most will help you transition into eating plant-based a lot easier.
Find recipes using those ingredients, try out new ways of cooking your favorite vegetables.
Add soups as your back-up plan for nutrients.
If you know you don’t want to spend a lot of time chopping and cooking vegetables (although most of them cook quicker than certain meats), just throw a variety of vegetables into water, boil them up and blend them.
This way you make sure you are still giving your body a good variety of nutrients even if you don’t get as much fiber from soups as from other forms of eating veggies.
There are many resources out there you can use to find support.
Bloggers for example, like myself or like Tully Zander from www.VegansFirst.com, can be a great resource for recipes.
Tully has some great recommendations on vegan products and different recipes that can help you ease into this lifestyle.
I got my certification in plant-based nutrition at the Center for Nutrition Studies.
Extremely Important! make sure to check with your doctor.
A few people have had to take vitamin B12 supplements when switching their diets.
his is the only vitamin that a whole-food plant based diet does not provide.
Vitamin B12 deficiency could create some potential health issues. For more details please check this article published by Harvard Medical School
I hope this article encourages you to transition into eating plant-based.
If you do it right, you will absolutely love the benefits.
Thank you for stopping by!