Whether you are a new vegan or thinking to start your vegan lifestyle, you will start off with a lot of questions that will surely pop up in your head at some point of your journey. Being a vegan is not just a diet but a lifestyle and it can get hard from time to time, especially during the transitioning period. So, here are some useful ‘vegan tips for beginners’ and resources to help and guide you through your vegan journey.
Is a Vegan Diet Always Healthy?
A diet is not always healthy; Some vegan diets are just as unhealthy as some of these keto diets that have been taking over the online fitness blogs and forums. Doesn’t matter if you’re eating vegan or not, if you’re not getting your daily dosage of amino acids, minerals , Nutrition, and all 6 nutrients, your body will start deteriorating.
You should be aware of the health hazards that your diet may be contributing to your overall state of health and consider that you may not be practicing a truly healthy diet. There are vegan junk food substitutes for you junk food gluttons, just so you have the accessibility to a vegan lifestyle if you are picky with how your food and snack tastes. There are traditional diets that are junk food-based and all of these are unhealthy and definitely not backed by science.
Does that make meat safe for consumption? No, it doesn’t! For reasons discussed below on the beginner’s vegan guide:
Food and Nutrition
It really doesn’t matter if you are eating a healthy diet, or a vegan diet, or even junk food as long as you are ingesting the suggested number of calories and nutrients, may it be through animal meat or vegetables, you will be fit and healthy.
However, that doesn’t mean you can just eat junk food according to your caloric and nutritional needs. Firstly, that would never work as they are made unhealthy by incorporating additives, fat and sugar and other nutrients in excess to enhance your taste, which can never meet the nutritional needs of an average person.
Besides, veggies and greens come lightly packed. Meaning, calories per unit weight is significantly lesser than calories per unit weight in meat and dairy products.
Does that make meat safe for consumption? No, it doesn’t! For reasons discussed below on the beginner’s vegan guide:
Asparagus Rich In Protein
While you don’t need as much protein as some people think, from 5 to 8 percent of your calories should be protein, 10 percent is your average nutritional standard. Some people who are pregnant, healing from illness, or are bodybuilders may need to put this figure to 20 percent. But more than that tends to start causing health problems. Unless you work out a lot or live a lifestyle that requires you to exert a lot of strength like construction work or you’re a stuntman or even an athlete.
To comprehend and understand fully why and how much protein intake is required by your body, you will have to understand that protein is the building block of our body, just how bricks are the building blocks of built architecture. If your work or lifestyle demands you to have a lot of strength, you will need to pack heavyweight muscles or have strong muscles. They are both essentially the same thing and for you to have more densely packed muscle tissues, you will need more protein.
Otherwise, your body will go through this thing called- the ‘starvation mode’. It is a state your body enters when you’re low on fat reserves or you already have spent a lot of fuel stored in your fat in the form of fat, through manual labor; In this state, your body stops taking energy from stored fat and starts burning through your muscles. It makes you and your skeletal system weak and prone to permanent damage or injury.
Now, you may wonder why you can’t just eat meat, which comes packed with a lot of protein. And you are correct in thinking so, so here is the simple answer- Red meat is known to cause bladder stones and cancer as well. Compared to the health risks that come with greens, meat outweighs green heavily.
Thankfully, plant-based food has a lot of protein in it already so if you’re taking in enough protein through vegetables, you should be getting in plenty of protein without doing anything extra. But in case, you are concerned with putting in weight, you can add in some protein-rich food like pumpkin seeds, lentils, and quinoa.
Regardless of popular diets, carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet and come abundant in plants. They are the main component of fruits, vegetables, and starches like potatoes and corn.
If you’re eating a healthy vegan diet, most of your calories will come from whole carbohydrates. This does not include carbs from things like processed food, cakes, cookies, white bread and table sugar of course, etc.
In recent times, diet and nutrition plans come with carbs as one of the prime nutrients for a variety of reasons. The fact that you’re reading this article now means you are trying to attain a healthy lifestyle by making this colossal change in diet. And chances are, you exercise as well. This is where carbs come in and present its strangely delicious self to us. Carbs exist to fuel us. Think of them as the energy pack for us, which is not stored and give you that extra push in the strength you need to. Kind of like how proteins are the building blocks of our body.
A low-fat diet is good for you. However, this is a big misconception on a lot of people’s part- FAT IS NOT BAD! At least, not always. To understand how and why you will have to know that Fats come in 4 different types.
- Trans Fat- It’s the worst form of fat and saturated fat. It is unhealthy and can cause good cholesterol levels to drop and increase bad cholesterol. It is found in most processed food.
- Saturated Fat- This too is unhealthy like Trans Fat, as Trans Fat is a form of Saturated Fat, itself. The negative effects are similar as well. Saturated Fat is found in rich food like cheese, butter, fatty cuts of meat.
- Monounsaturated Fat- These help you by lowering your bad cholesterol levels, meaning it lowers your chances of having heart attacks and strokes. These are usually found in healthy natural foods like Nuts, Avocado, and various forms of oils pressed from Canola, Olive, Peanuts.
- Polyunsaturated Fat- Polyunsaturated Fat is considered to be a healthy fat and just like the previous unsaturated, this too helps by lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol. It also helps by providing essential oils that our bodies can’t produce. Sources of polyunsaturated fats are usually derived from plant-based oils like Sunflower Oil, Soybean Oil, Corn Oil.
You need to consume natural and healthy fats to aid in processing Vitamins. Natural fat found in bananas, avocados, nuts, and seeds is all your body needs in terms of fat. You should try to keep the percentage of fat per calorie to be 20% at max. However, a 10 percent rate is ideal and is advised.
Everyone needs some fat in their diet because healthy fat enables your body to absorb and process vitamins and minerals. But you don’t need much fat. Most people only need about 10 percent healthy fats in their diets to maintain a healthy weight, soft skin, and hair.
Most food comes packed with fat. If you add any extra fat to your diet, you want it to come from natural sources like olives, avocados, coconuts, and bananas. You don’t even need to add any processed fat if you don’t want to and should always avoid indulging in excess amounts of fat. There is no reason to drizzle olive oil on anything or cook with coconut oil to get enough fat in your diet. It should be plentiful with whatever you have.
To get enough minerals in your diet, it’s imperative that you simply eat enough calories and a variety of plant food on a vegan diet. Everyone needs to get enough calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur.
The good news for most people is that- you don’t have to go overboard and do anything extra other than eating a variety of plant food to get the right minerals in your body. Water too is a good source of minerals.
There are also13 essential vitamins that everyone needs for various reasons, ranging from the prevention of diseases to boosting your immune system to gently, refreshing the mind. For most parts, you can get them from your diet when you’re eating enough calories for your body type, height, and weight as well as activity level. Ensure that you are getting enough of each of the 13 essential vitamins paying special attention to B12 and D3.
Additionally, whether vegan or not, most people should supplement themselves with Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D3. Get your blood tested to be sure but note that most B12 deficiencies don’t show up for a long time so it’s better to just go ahead and supplement to be on the safe side. No diet is healthy regardless of the type if it’s filled with processed food and lacking in the nutrients mentioned above. There are, of course, other vitamins we need to ingest to survive- Vitamins C and D.
This can’t be stretched enough but everyone needs to start drinking enough water. Our body’s mechanisms are like that of a car engine, where many different types of chemical reactions (in this instance, it’s stored fat is burnt to produce energy) are taking place and we all know that chemical reactions involve the release or the absorption of heat. Which we need to cool down and remove the heat from our system through excretion and perspiration.
The recommended water intake is 8 glasses for an average person, assuming that the person doesn’t do highly intensive workouts, which causes the water to leak out in the form of urine and sweat. The guideline of 64 ounces per day is a good rule of thumb, but if you weigh more than 150 lbs.’, you may want to add half an ounce to per pound of body weight to your water regimen. If you are drinking enough water, you should pee seven to eight times per day and it should be clear to very light yellow and definitely should not have a bad odor. Once your body is used to getting enough water you can also follow your thirst cues.
Moreover, we are dependent on water for other equally big and important properties of the liquid, like- to flush out toxins from our system and aid with digestion. It generally boosts your positive energy. Fruits are a great source of water if you can’t get yourself to drink water without adding harmful side products to it like powdered juice or glucose, they all are fattening and weighs heavy on your wallet as well.
Everyone needs to eat enough fiber. The good thing is that if you’re eating a plant-based diet, a healthy vegan diet, you’re getting enough fiber. Eating enough fiber helps prevent strokes, keeps your weight down, and helps you eliminate regularly. You should get a minimum of 25 grams a day of soluble fiber and 47 grams a day of insoluble fiber. This may seem like a lot to you but if you’re eating a healthy vegan diet; it’s a snap.
Additionally, whether vegan or not most people should supplement with Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D3. Get your blood tested to be sure but note that most B12 deficiencies don’t show up for a long time so it’s better to just go ahead and supplement to be on the safe side. No diet is healthy regardless of the type if it’s filled with packaged food and lacking in any of the components mentioned above.
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Are Meat and Dairy Substitutes Worth It?
Often, when one embarks on a journey to the vegan diet, they usually tend to try and recreate the food that they are used to eating. Often that includes using meat and dairy substitutes. While sometimes it is nice to eat something that looks savory and tantalizing, the truth of the matter is, meat and dairy substitutes are not needed for a healthy vegan diet, but that doesn’t mean we are going to cross it off our list.
Everything comes with a good side and a bad side. However, meat and dairy substitutes should always be considered if you are trying to go vegan. In the past, science explored the idea but never really came to a standstill informative discovery until now.
We have a very limited number of sources for indulging ourselves with pleasure, food is on top of the list. And in this era of modern cuisine, where food comes in hundreds of thousands of varieties, we quickly get accustomed to the delicacies we are brought up with, or grow into from personal choice of food.
Most people who try vegan usually succumb to the loss of will power from sheer withdrawal of junk food. But it doesn’t have to be a 50/50 trying ritual for life. Nowadays, you won’t be able to taste apart from a bean patty from a beef patty, vegan soy cheese to actual cheese. The list goes on and on, as long as the list for food goes, just the Vegan version. You won’t even be able to tell the difference. So, why not eat what you love eating while cutting out the unhealthy side of your favorite munchies.
To Help with Transition
For some people, transitioning to a vegan diet is something strange and hard. For others, who had high meat and dairy-based diet, using these substitutes might help them through the journey to a better lifestyle. This is basically vegan for beginners. Mostly because today, there are some very good substitutes such as those that come from the Beyond Meat brand, ad many nut milk, and nut milk-based yogurts.
The problem is, they are expensive and like their meat counterparts, aren’t always better for you than eating an unprocessed plant-based diet. Fat, salt and sugar can be just as bad for you in vegan form as it is in animal form. But if you’re doing it for the animals more than your health, then your mission to save lives will not go in vain.
To Recreate an Old Family Favorite
Since most people don’t start life as a vegan, if you’re one of those, you may really miss a family favorite. Today, there are so many clever cooks who are creating and recreating family favorites that people really love due to their knowledge of flavor and how to trick the taste buds into thinking it’s their old treat.
This will be worth the wait and time investment, once you try it and succeed. This is the vegan tips for beginners you find when you’re researching about Vegan lifestyle online.
As a Treat
Sometimes it’s fun to just have a treat. Maybe processed food isn’t really that good for you but sometimes, you just want the flavor that only processed food provides. That’s okay on special days like birthdays and holidays. If you really want some butter flavor popped corn while being on a vegan diet, it doesn’t have to be a big deal? And yes, it’s worth it.
Most substitutes aren’t healthy, and while many are starting to taste like the real thing they are still processed and packaged. You’re better off making your own tofu-based meal, your own nut or soy-based milk, and your own soy or almond milk-based yogurts, so that you can control the ingredients and make it healthier.
It’s the same finger rule as a non-vegan life. Processed food can never be good for the body. But for occasional use, meat and dairy substitutes are more than worth it today due to the good taste and the quickness of creating a great meal.
To Add Variety of Flavor to Your Diet
When someone goes vegan sometimes they miss the special flavors that come with meat and dairy. Using the substitutes can add variety into your diet that you are missing. But it doesn’t take much. A little bit of vegan bacon on your salad may make the difference between truly enjoying it and dreading it for some people especially those who are in transition.
How To Be a Vegan When the Rest of Your Family Isn’t
It can be difficult for you if you’re the only vegan in the family. This is especially true if you’re the cook or if you’re the child, it’s still bad, ’cause you’re not the cook. Many parents don’t understand but if you’re the parent, cooking meat might make you feel weak. But you can get through this if you plan it right and if you REALLY put your will to the test. Remember to go through this Vegan Guide, just for that extra push if you feel like giving up and forfeiting the initial effort you put into it.
Educate Yourself & Them
Show your friends and family the stats and the pie charts. Most normal people really don’t like going through lengthy internet articles on requests. They’ll be mentally turned off to the idea. Sit them down, and let pop culture and the internet break it down to them. A good show to watch together on Netflix is ‘Forks Over Knives’. Explain you want to eat this way because of health and put no judgment on them that makes them feel guilty about the animals.
Remember that you probably didn’t decide this overnight. Don’t expect your family to follow your shenanigans just because you want them to. Granted if you’re the cook of the house, you do have some power you hold over your kids when you feed them. You can choose not to cook animal-based meals as the person who cooks. No one is forcing you. But if your spouse/mother cooks themselves animal meals, you should refrain from being judgmental.
If you have the right mindset, you can make sure to keep something to snack on. But do remember that most family events aren’t about stuffing your face. There will always be food for you, so don’t indulge in gluttony, it’s a sin. You won’t go hungry if you keep like a pack of nuts on the go. But don’t make a big deal if you cut yourself some slack and indulge. To err is human. If you make it a habit though, it may turn into something to be worried about and will most definitely have adverse effects on your body and it will be that much harder to go cold turkey.
Always be ready to make a new plan. If your dietary requirement is uniquely scarce or unconventional- such as only eating raw or having special grown beans and greens, don’t give in, substitute it with another vegan plant-based snack. Google has thousands of free vegan recipes, so look it up. You can’t possibly fail this.
There are many services that drop off raw ingredients you need to make a particular recipe. You can subscribe to a similar service.
Laugh A Lot
Remember to laugh. Laughing adds 5 days to your lifespan. Plus every vegan poster boy and girl never appeared in their respective photoshoots not smiling. Smiling is the Vegan equivalent of facial expressions.
Make Friendly Dishes
There are dishes that make themselves easy for both vegans and meat-eaters alike. Pizza, lots of Italian meals, Mexican meals and the like often can be made completely vegan with the meat on the side for those who like to add.
Keep a Journal
Keep a vegan beginners guide. Your journal on all your vegan and fitness experience you ever put yourself through will be your very own personal assistant. The longer you practice it, the more information you have, the more understanding you will have of the changes in mechanisms of the body that can be achieved through diets and lifestyle changes.
You can be the only vegan in the room without feeling uncomfortable. Everyone admires a healthy person, it’s in our instincts. It is something to flex about. And the feeling of greatness in body and mind is incomparable to the unhealthy life we most live. Just try it, you won’t know how good a body can feel, even after the 40s. Vegans live longer than meat-eaters
Useful Vegan Blogs and Resources for New Vegans
It can be very confusing to a new vegan to know what to listen to or where to scoop out information from. There are so many different types of vegan diets and opinions and researches. The best place to find the appropriate information is the internet at this moment, and the motion picture is a wonderful medium to get acquainted with this new lifestyle. The following resources will get you solid green information and keep you on the right track:
Forks Over Knives – This is a great website and an equally informative move that you can watch on Netflix and possibly Amazon that helps you understand a healthy vegan plant-based diet that will work for most people. Plus, they don’t use processed food, and all the recipes are super simple and tasty.
Dr. McDougall – This site has a variety of categories, which can help you pinpoint exactly what you’re looking for, including some free downloads and menus that you can follow. Since he is a Doctor, he also has a Health & Medical center and many programs you can sign up to be part of, to help you on your vegan journey.
Tryveg.com – this is a great site that has recipes, and a free starter guide for new vegans too. This site has everything you need to begin a plant-based diet off right. Starting off healthy with the right information can make all the difference in your success.
The Plant-Based Dietitian – If you want some one-on-one help, then plant-based dietitian is a great place to dig out information and find out about books she’s written, and you can even sign up for coaching with Julianna Heever.
Thrive Magazine – This online magazine has everything you’d expect from a magazine, but it’s all dedicated to veganism. They’ll help you with health and wellness, culture, recipes, shopping and so much more.
USDA Farmer’s Market Directory – This is a directory kept up to date by the US Government. To find a farmer’s market in your area, this is the place to go. Shopping at your local farmers market is better for the environment and for you too.
There are so many amazing food blogs you can check out as a newly turned vegan. Try FatFreeVeganblog.com, OhSheGlows.com, and GreenKitchenStories. There are so many options out there for you that there is no possible way to list them all but if you google them out, you won’t regret.
Today there is barely any excuse not to be vegan. It’s healthy for you, healthy for the environment, and simple too. You don’t need fancy ingredients or special vitamins, and there is no such thing as carb combing to create complete proteins which have been debunked for some time.
Just eat plants, and you’ll be as healthy as Tarzana.