Becoming vegetarian or vegan has become more appealing and accessible thanks to fresh produce all around the year, the influence of cultures with plant-based diets, restaurants growing more interest in this culinary or also the growth of veggie products in the supermarket. Although, vegans are often misunderstood are crazy eaters with a passion for animal rights. There are so many other reasons we could include to become one such as having good health, protecting the environment, being concerned about the animals' welfare or even the quality of food -sadly more industrial. Following a balanced vegan diet ensures health benefits or prevention of some of the major diseases striking people all around the world.
What is a vegan diet exactly? Well, it consists of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and other plant-made foods. Sounds healthy, right! Although, I am sure you must have heard of vegan junk food. Following a vegan diet doesn’t necessarily mean that you are healthy, just like other diets. Nowadays, many vegan products such as pizzas, ice cream or even pastries are easy to find. It is important to look at the ingredients a product contains (like fat, sugar or salt).
Often, a vegan diet is defined by what we shouldn’t eat instead of what we should eat. Being vegan can be eating cakes, drinking soda, never working out and smoking cigarettes. And is it a healthy lifestyle? So, yes, a vegan diet is healthy if balanced as it gives a quality of life. But it is easy to fall into the unhealthy way as processed vegan.
Then, how to keep a healthy diet? It is simple: think about nutritional principles like protein, carbs, fibers and healthy fat.The key is to make sure you include a variety of foods. Your body needs all ingredients! Also, a professional dietitian can help you make a diet that is right for you.
Pay attention to these:
- Protein (peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, seeds, nuts, soy, oats, wheat, …)
- Calcium and Vitamin D (dark green vegetables, tofu, cereals, …)
- Vitamin B12 (nutritional yeast, vitamin supplements, …)
- Iron and Zinc (whole-grained products, lentils, spinach, soy, …)
- Omega-3 fatty acids (canola oil, seeds, nuts, …)
It is good to take vitamin supplements if necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask for a check-up to see how you are doing and give a follow-up to your diet.
Don't forget, as a vegan, you need to eat more. Finally, a diet that encourages you to eat more! You can always take snacks with you. I always have food with me… I eat like a baby, every 2 to 3 hours during the day. For example, before any social event, I eat some snacks, so I make sure I won't be in a situation of starving because there aren't enough vegan options apart from fries or a piece of lettuce.
Another thing…no matter how clean your diet is, stress can break it down. It is important to manage stress any relaxation techniques.