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A guide to getting started in plant life

In the past, veganism was almost exclusively associated with muesli crunching hippies, but not as full to the brim as it was 30 years ago. Even Beyonce dealt with it, and Liam Hemsworth and Ellen Degeneres have been vegan for years.

Still, it can draw blank looks or skeptical eyebrows from those who are not entirely familiar with the concept.

Some people think "vegan" is an abbreviated way of saying "vegetarian". Others are convinced that veganism means eating salads three times a day (not). Let us clarify some things.

A vegan diet focuses on plant foods and beverages and excludes all animal products. The goal is to eliminate the use and harm of living things.

While vegetarians are still eating dairy products and eggs, vegans remove all animal by-products and foods that include animals in their processing methods. Meat, poultry, fish and dairy products are taken from the plate and replaced by vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and cereals.

We focus here on the eating aspect of veganism, but veganism is viewed as an aspect of overall lifestyle. Many people apply their principles beyond eating, avoiding clothing, makeup, personal care products, medicines, and entertainment that exploit animals or use animal products.

We should also note that a vegan diet is not automatically low in carbohydrates or a low-fat diet. It's about cutting the meat, not the macros.

  • vegetables. In the event that the "veg" part of "vegan" did not make this clear.
  • fruits. No limits for nature's sweets.
  • cereals. Experiment with varieties beyond old bread, pasta, and rice. Think quinoa, freekeh, couscous, farro and barley.
  • Legumes. Learn about your new primary protein sources.
  • Nuts and seeds. With that. A lot of. Almond. Butter. And don't forget cashew nuts ̵
    1; they become a staple for a creamy consistency in milk-free dishes.
  • Tofu and Tempeh. There is a whole world of non-boring tofu recipes.
  • Vegetable oils (and other fats). Cold pressed is best. Avocados will also be your friends.
  • Natural sweeteners. Honey is not allowed (you know, bees), but you sweeten life (in moderation) with coconut sugar, maple syrup and agave.

To increase your vitamin intake, mineral intake or intestinal health, add fermented foods such as seaweed, kimchi, sauerkraut and miso paste, as well as a source of vitamin B-12 (such as nutritional yeast that gives it a cheesy taste).

  • Animal proteins. Beef, pork, poultry and seafood are all off the table.
  • eggs. Scrambled egg tofu is just as good – don't worry.
  • dairy. Cashew "Mac and Cheese" and almond milk latte are waiting.
  • Bee Products. Sorry, honey.
  • Animal oils and fats. Caution – lard and fish oils can sneak into the most unexpected places.

Replace these foods with balanced vegan alternatives (read: lots of legumes, quinoa, nut butter, and tofu) and trust us, you will still get plenty of protein.

  • Certain breads. This shiny top comes from washing eggs, and doughs can sneak into honey, egg yolk, or even poultry feather protein.
  • Spices, dressings, sauces. Anchovies in Worcestershire sauce, eggs in mayo, dairy products in ranch dressing, cheese in pestos bought in the shop.
  • sugar. Bone char is used in the production of refined white sugar – definitely not vegan.
  • Fried foods. Your onion rings could be dredged in a batter or fried in animal fat.
  • Gum drops, Jell-O, Marshmallows. These sticky sweets get their chewy, wobbly texture mostly from gelatin, which is created by boiling down the skin and bones of animals.
  • Food / beverages with red color: Believe it or not, this bright red "natural". Color comes from the extract of shredded and cooked beetles. I can't make that up. Nicole W. (2013). Secret Ingredients: Who Knows What's In Your Food? DOI: 10.1289 / ehp.121-a126
  • Roasted Salted Peanuts. Gelatin is used to adhere the salt to the peanuts.
  • Certain alcohols. Clear schnapps = generally safe. Imported beers and wines that could be made with fish gelatin = not so happy hour.
  • juices. OJ enriched with omega-3 and vitamin D could receive these "heart-healthy" impulses from ingredients such as fish oil and lanolin obtained from sheep's wool.

1. Read the labels for red flags

. Check the packaged food labels for words like castoreum, casein, lactose, rennet, shellac, and whey. They all refer to proteins, thickeners and other additives that come from animals.

Read the fine print – non-vegan allergens such as milk or eggs are mentioned here.

2. Be prepared

Whether you're on the go or just eating out, planning ahead can make the difference between happy and hungry. Wrap up vegan-friendly, portable snacks and don't be afraid to call restaurants to ask about vegan options (don't worry – they won't think you weird).

3. Swap It Out

Instead of jumping straight into the unknown area of ​​hemp / pea protein / cashew milk / kale smoothies, make the transition easier by finding vegan ways to recreate your favorite dishes.

Satisfy a craving for eggs with scrambled eggs, make mac and cheese with cashew sauce instead of dairy, and try bean-based burgers instead of beef patties.

You can even make vegan bacon. And while the focus should be on whole foods, it doesn't kill you eating a processed vegan hot dog every now and then.

4. Take a Supplement

Being vegan has many health benefits, but cutting out animal products can also leave some nutritional gaps in your diet.

You can prevent iron, vitamin D and B-12, omega-3 fatty acids, iodine, and zinc deficiency by taking supplements or by eating vegan foods that are rich in these nutrients, such as seaweed, yeast, Lentils and walnuts

5. Focus on adding, not subtracting.

Nobody likes to be told what they cannot have. Animal products may no longer be "allowed", but if your shopping cart is filled with sweet potatoes, quinoa, spinach, bananas, berries, tofu, beans, and almond milk, it is quite difficult to feel disadvantaged.

6. Be nice to yourself

Veganism is about being friendly to animals and the planet, but what good does it do if you are not nice to yourself ?!

Give yourself a break if you slip from time to time, be patient if your taste buds take a while to adjust, and don't stress if you can't be 100 percent committed to being 100 percent vegan to be

7. Buddy up

No lifestyle change is easy to do alone. Join online or personal vegan communities through social media, meetups or forums.

You can also follow vegan YouTubers who kill it (but not really because it's vegan), like Sweet Potato Soul, Earthling Ed, Pick Up Limes, and Derek Simnett from Simnett Nutrition.

It's so much more fun – and helpful – when you have other herbivores that help you stay motivated, share recipes, answer questions, and generally feel less than the only vegan in the world.

Because if Beyonce tried it, we should all, right? I'm just having fun. There is a lot of anecdotal and scientific evidence for the life-changing benefits of veganism, and it goes much further than just lower numbers on the scale.

From reducing your carbon footprint to potentially increasing your good karma, there are many reasons why people go vegan.

For Yourself

Suppose you don't eat oreo all day every day (they are vegan) or rely on research to show that a varied, healthy vegan diet can play an important role in improving overall health .

Here are just some of the effects of eating real whole foods over time:

  • Weight Loss [19659029] Moore WJ et al. (2015). Adherence to and acceptance of five different diets, including vegan and vegetarian diets, for weight loss: The New DIETs Study. DOI: 10.1016 / j.eatbeh.2015.06.011
  • lower blood sugar Lee YM, et al. (2016). Influence of a vegan diet based on brown rice and a conventional diabetic diet on the blood sugar control of patients with type 2 diabetes: a 12-week randomized clinical trial. DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0155918
  • improved blood pressure Tuso PJ, et al. (2013). Nutrition update for doctors: plant-based nutrition. DOI: 10.7812 / TPP / 12-085
  • lower cholesterol Wang F, et al. (2015). Effects of vegetarian diet on blood lipids: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. DOI: 10.1161 / JAHA.115.002408
  • lower risk of heart disease and cancer Dinu M, et al. (2017). Vegetarian, vegan diet and various health consequences: A systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies. DOI: 10.1080 / 10408398.2016.1138447
  • fewer symptoms of arthritis Clinton CM, et al. (2015). Herbal whole foods alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis. DOI: 10.1155 / 2015/708152
  • reduced Alzheimer's risk Grant WB. (2016). Use of international ecological studies and observational studies to determine the nutritional risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. DOI: 10.1080 / 07315724.2016.1161566

For animals

Aside from the nutritional benefits, many people find a moral sense of satisfaction when they go vegan. It is an exercise of compassion for all beings, from the smallest insects to massive mammals to marine life of all kinds.

The argument is that meat-free eating does not only spare animals (however ethically educated) from slaughter or suffering, but also prevents human workers from being forced to work in non-ideal conditions for slaughterhouses.

For the planet

Do you want to do something good for the planet? Abolishing animal husbandry could help. Sabate J, et al. (2014). Sustainability of plant nutrition: back to the future. DOI: 10.3945 / ajcn.113.071522

Plant nutrition such as veganism has been shown to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water wastage, deforestation and other environmental side effects of meat production on a large scale Westhoek H . et al. (2014). Food choices, health and the environment: impact of reducing meat and milk intake in Europe. DOI: 10.1016 / j.gloenvcha.2014.02.004

If everything from orange juice and sugar to beauty products may contain animal ingredients, it is not as easy to be vegan as some might think.

If you throw away meat, dairy products and eggs, but take regular prescription medication (tested on animals), are you less of a "real vegan"? If your favorite milk jug contains traces of casein, have you failed veganism?

The answer is: It is up to you .

Some vegans are very special when it comes to nuts and bolts. while others are more relaxed about the beer they drink (not always vegan) and don't care what type of bread they serve when they go out for brunch.

While Judgy McJudgersons could say what they want, you can decide where to fall in the spectrum depending on what works for you, your body, and your lifestyle.

When you have finished your training, you will sleep like a baby, and if you generally feel great and have passed your last physical state with flying colors, you will probably want to stick to your current diet, whether vegan or not.

On the other hand, it may not be the best idea to go on a diet that makes it even more difficult to get enough of these nutrients if you have serious nutritional deficiencies (think of iron, vitamin B-12, etc. ).

But if you're tired of feeling sluggish, your cholesterol levels are a little worrying or you're just curious about what a fully plant-based diet can do for you.

Maybe you like everything about it. You may find that you feel better without dairy products, but you're also much happier if you drink this non-vegan Guinness every now and then.

You will probably find that vegetables are anything but boring. You just never know until you try.

Is vegan = gluten free?

No. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Since it is not an animal product, it is considered vegan.

Is Veganism Healthy?

If you eat a variety of grains, fruits, vegetables, and vegetable proteins, veganism can be extremely beneficial to your overall health.

If you eat 90 percent refined carbohydrates, prepare meals from processed foods, or neglect supplements, you may be vegan, but you are also far from healthy.

Can you eat dairy products when you are? a vegan?

No. Dairy products from cows, goats and sheep all come from animals and are therefore prohibited for a vegan diet.

Can you eat fish if you are vegan?

No. Fish used to live. Everything that was once alive = a no-no for vegans.

Is a vegan good for weight loss?

Many people find that cutting out animal products leads to lower numbers on the scale, but not a vegan diet. You are not automatically put on the path to weight loss. It all depends on how and what you eat.

Plant-based foods are usually less energy-tight than meat and dairy products, but there are many high-calorie vegan foods (oh, hello, vegan cookies) that not only contribute to weight gain, but can also save nutrients.

Is it expensive to be vegan?

Not if you mainly eat whole foods. Legumes, products and grains are among the cheapest items in the store.

If you stack your shopping cart with frozen dinner or special foods like meat substitutes and vegan cheese, your wallet may feel the pinch (along with your waistline).

How do vegans get protein? [19659034] So many options! Beans, nuts, tofu, tempeh, seitan and quinoa are fantastic sources of protein. And don't forget that almost all vegetables and grains contain some protein.

If you eat whole foods, it is not absolutely necessary to crush these protein shakes. But when you buy protein powder, read the label carefully and make sure it's 100 percent vegetable.

What are the side effects of becoming a vegan?

We start with the good things: Many people who are vegan experience higher energy levels, improved blood pressure, lower cholesterol, clearer skin and better sleep.

At the same time, it is not all rosy if you are not careful. Possible negative effects are nutrient deficiencies such as iron, zinc and vitamin B-12; sudden hunger attacks; intense desire; fatigue; and digestive problems.

Many of these effects disappear over time, especially if you eat a balanced diet and eat enough calories. However, it's important to monitor your symptoms and see a doctor if some don't go away.

What foods can you eat if you are vegan?

Where should I start ?! Vegetables galore! Fruit for days! Any grain you like! Holy guacamole. All seeds. Your choice of beans, nuts and seeds! Check out the much more extensive list above.

What is the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian?

While vegetarians still consume dairy products and eggs, vegans avoid all animal by-products. They also tend to avoid foods that include animals in their processing methods, such as beer.

Many vegans also avoid items made from animal products, such as fur coats and leather shoes. Vegans can also choose beauty products and cosmetics that are labeled "cruelty free" and "vegan".

Do you feel ready to go vegan to help yourself, other beings, and the planet? Rad. Make yourself comfortable gradually, patiently, and reasonably. We hope that our tips will make the change as smooth as possible.

Work with your doctor, eat lots of whole foods, check the labels on everything, and take supplements to give your body a boost. Veganism is all about compassion – and that includes compassion for yourself.

Be patient with yourself and this new lifestyle. You have that.

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