Good News… Plant Based Diets Can Be Fun AND Healthy!
How to go Plant Based Without Feeling Like It
Plant based diets have been shown time and time again to not only help the environment, your body, but your mind as well. In American culture, meat and cheese are pivotal to our diets and celebrations. With this being the case, making the switch to a plant based diet can be very intimidating at first.
Thinking about switching to a plant based diet?
Eating Vegan or Vegetarian has becoming increasingly popular and for a variety of reasons.
For anyone considering this change, it’s a good idea to do a little research before deciding to make the switch. Some people are better off just increasing their plant-based choices but not going 100% vegan, which for them might work better than fully changing their existing food intake.
What motivates you to go plant based? There are a variety of reasons that could drive this decision – Is it because you want to protect animals? You care about the environmental impact of producing animal products? Or is it because you want to eat a healthier more balanced diet?
Maybe it’s all of those reasons and more. Knowing what motivates you will help your overall outcome be successful.
Here’s How To Achieve Your Plant Based Diet Goals!
Ease your Way into Changes
A huge step in transitioning to plant-based eating is to add to your diet before you take away. For one of our customers, the easiest substitution they found was with milk. They started using almond, coconut, hemp, or cashew milk. These plant-based milks are delicious and can be fun to experiment with.
Instead of feeling the need to immediately eliminate from your diet anything animal based, you can begin by incorporating new, plant-based ingredients and products into your current meals like nondairy milks, fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes to start. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with vegan products and which ones you like.
Have fun and start experimenting with various plant based recipes and keep a collection of them handy.
A product like tofu is very versatile and can be used in so many dishes when you learn how you like to cook and prepare it. Incorporate more non dairy milks, fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes to start and try to avoid vegan replacement meats if you can.
Keep up on your Protein Intake.
A problem that those following a plant-based/vegan diet often come across is a lack of iron, and overall protein. Iron is essential for many functions in your body especially when it comes to the health of your blood and maintaining energy levels. Foods high in iron are cruciferous vegetables, beans, peas, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. Please consider using an Iron supplement if you are unable to eat enough of the plant-based foods to provide your body with this essential nutrient.
Because red meat provides much of the average person’s protein intake, when you stop consuming meat make sure you know how to replace that level of protein in your diet. Chia seeds, lentils, quinoa, tempeh, almonds, chickpeas, peanut butter, and cashews are all great sources of protein. Steel cut oatmeal is also full of protein. There are also some great plant-based protein powders and bars on the market that taste delicious and make it easy to boost your daily protein consumption!
Pay attention to Natural Supplements
People who are following a plant-based/vegan diet may need to start taking vitamins/supplements to avoid deficiencies.
Anyone can have a Vitamin B-12 deficiency but those who eat plant-based have a higher likelihood of this risk. Plant milks, breakfast cereals, and nutritional yeast are vitamin B-12 fortified but those foods may not provide you with all the B-12 that you need in your diet. Vitamin D is also commonly lacking in those following a plant-based diet because so few foods contain vitamin D.
Something many people don’t even know they need is Iodine. The only foods considered to have consistently high iodine levels are iodized salt, seafood, seaweed, and dairy products. Since most people have moved away from iodized salt and replaced it with more natural sea salts like Celtic or Himalayan Salt, many will need to consider picking up an iodine supplement unless they are eating enough sea vegetables.
Calcium is crucial for the health of your bones and teeth. Without consuming dairy products, it’s a lot harder to get calcium in your diet. Vegan friendly foods that are high in calcium include bok choy, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, watercress, broccoli, chickpeas, and fortified plant milks or juices.
Whether you up your food intake or pick up some supplements, just keep in mind what your body needs to function at its best.
When you begin to follow a plant-based diet and lifestyle you will notice your health begin to change, potentially overnight.
Making this change in your diet can potentially lower your risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation in your body, lower your risk of diabetes, help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of cancer, lower your cholesterol levels, and work to protect your brain, your body, and even the environment.
The best part is that there is no need to become a strict vegan overnight to make a difference and every adjustment counts, no matter how big or small.
Reach out to us here at Simply Nutrition if you have any questions about how to supplement a Vegan, Vegetarian, or partially plant-based diet. We have some great people here to help!
p.s. Just in case you are looking for a specific supplement solution, or any other wellness need, reach out to us here at 916-253-9276 and we would be happy to help you find exactly what you are looking for.
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