Planning to go on a vegan diet? You have to read these tips for beginners first. A vegan diet is essentially a vegetarian diet minus all foods derived from animals like eggs, milk, dairy products, honey, etc. Veganism is defined as a way of living which involves boycotting animal exploitation and cruelty in all forms – then be it for food, clothing or any other purpose. The very nature and components of it may show you that it is not that easy to follow a vegan diet. Vegan diet or plant-based diet, which is also famous for its weight loss properties, can make you feel lighter and healthier-depending on how you follow it.
In this article today, we are going to talk about tips for beginners for people following vegan diet. We speak to nutritionist Mugdha Pradhan, who gives the following tips for people who are planning to follow vegan diet
Vegan diet: tips for beginners
1. You need to begin with a mindset that you are going to be off all animal-derived foods for good. When you prepare yourself mentally for such a scenario, following a vegan or any other diet should not be much of a struggle. Any change in diet should not be looked at as deprivation but as evolution to a new or different pattern of eating, suggests Mugdha.
2. Learn as much as you can about what being vegan really means. Have full knowledge about the foods you can eat and avoid in vegan diet.
3. Avoid announcing that you are planning to go on a vegan diet. This is because people usually have a lot of opinions about your change in diet plan. Chances are that they may just scare you off by telling how difficult vegan or any other diet is to follow. So, the better thing to do is first come to terms with your diet, get comfortable in it, give time to your body to adapt to it, and then start telling your friends and family that you have adopted this kind of diet plan.
4. Start slowly. Do not avoid carbs in the name of weight loss. It is important to get used to vegan lifestyle before you aim towards achieving other goals like weight loss.
5. Try to find a support group. Being in touch with others on vegan diet and how they coped up without eggs and milk. These two foods are common in people’s daily diet and are most difficult to give up usually. Get tips from them how they followed and continued with the vegan diet.
6. Focus on eating more of vegetables, whole grains and fruits. These will provide you with essential food groups like proteins, carbs, fat and fibre. To avoid feeling starved on a vegan diet, eat small and frequent meals. Have a variety of fruits and vegetables for getting as many nutrients as possible.
7. Avoid consumption of sugar or junk or processed food just because they are vegan. The focus should be on eating healthy, home-cooked, naturally derived foods at all times.
8. Be resourceful and creative. Try to include vegan alternatives and variety in your diet. Swap omelette for besan or moong dal cheela, or replace honey with dates or coconut sugar as sweetener. Cow milk can be swapped with almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk or coconut milk. Jackfruit can be used as a substitute for meat.
9. Do not go overboard with consumption of nut butters and other fat sources. Practice portion control. When followed in the right way in combination with regular exercise, vegan diet can aid weight loss.
10. You might need supplements in case of a vegan diet. Omega-3 fatty acids (fatty fish and ghee are rich sources of B Vitamin) and B Vitamins may be difficult to derive from this diet and hence you can opt for supplementation. Make sure you consult your doctor before this.
However, use of supplements is usually not recommended. Clinical nutritionist Dr Rupali Dutta says that vegan diet includes with some food groups and that may not be good for your health. Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium, and eggs and meat are great sources of protein. Alternatives to get these nutrients from foods green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds like cannot suffice for the nutrients that eggs, milk and meat provide.
“People who are planning to go on a vegan diet must keep a check on the levels of Vitamin B12 and calcium. They should consciously take protein,” recommends Dr Rupali.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.