Veganism's popularity among millions has made it one of the most in-vogue dietary trends worldwide. The vegan diet primarily comprises of plant-based foods such as vegetables, grains, fruits and nuts like almonds. Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition & Wellness Consultant says that “Once you turn vegan, it is important to plan your diet carefully. If you relied on dairy products for calcium, you can choose from alternatives such as ragi, soybeans, leafy greens, sesame seeds and almonds."
But before you embark on this change in lifestyle, here are a few tips that can help ease your journey.
If you thought becoming vegan limits your food choices, you are in for a surprise for there’s an entire range of plant-based foods that you can experiment with. Dairy milk can be easily replaced with varieties of plant milk like almond milk, soy milk, or rice milk. Scrambled eggs can be swapped with scrambled tofu and eggs can be replaced with flax seeds or chia seeds in various recipes. Honey can be swapped for plant-based sweeteners, such as jaggery or pure maple syrup. In addition, you can consume a variety of whole grains and a wide array of fruits and vegetables.
Proteins are building blocks that maintain and repair your body's tissues, muscles, hormones, and enzymes. It also boosts satiety and builds metabolism. Without enough protein in your diet, you may feel fatigued, get cramps, and notice changes in your hair and skin texture. Dals like tur and moong, seeds like chia seeds, and nuts like almonds provide adequate protein in a vegan diet. Almonds are a great choice for a protein-rich snack. A handful of almonds have satiating properties that promote a feeling of fullness and keep hunger at bay between meals.
If you’ve been depending on dairy products for your source of calcium, now is a good opportunity to add exciting food items to your diet. Ignoring your calcium intake can cause long-term damage to your bones and teeth and even have an impact on your muscle function. Calcium-rich foods like ragi, soybeans, leafy greens, sesame seeds and almonds can make your diet tasty and healthy.
Packaged Vegan Foods Are A Big No
From frozen fake meats to veggie chips to vegan desserts, there is a wide range of highly processed vegan foods available in the market. A lot of pre-packaged vegan foods are laden with artificial ingredients and are high in calories. Limit these foods to no more than once a fortnight. Opt for healthier options like sautéed vegetables, sprouted pulses, and soaked almonds. Not only are they easier for your body to digest but they can also provide you with more nutrients.
Vitamin B 12 is the only nutrient that is not found in plant foods. Low levels of vitamin B 12 can cause a different kind of anaemia or may lead to neurological problems. If you go vegan, get your vitamin B 12 assessed regularly and take B 12 supplements if required.
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Going vegan suddenly may take a toll on your body. Start your transition by being a part-time vegan. Your diet can be very healthy if all the foods are taken in the right proportion. Studies have shown that vegans or vegetarians, who eat right have a lesser chance of getting lifestyle-related diseases like adult diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, etc. It’s also easier to shed weight with this diet. Try it sometime for a few days and you might feel the difference. Get help from a qualified dietitian if you wish to do it right.
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