It is becoming more and more fashionable by the day to go vegan. Some do it because they strongly believe in animal welfare, others because they argue it is better for the environment. Whatever the reason, the number of vegans out there is growing fast. Fortunately, the western world is taking this trend in its stride and vegan-friendly cafés and restaurants are popping up left, right, and centre. Gone are the days of having to say no to eating out because you couldn’t find suitable food. Nowadays, everyone is catered for.
But, just because there are more vegan options on the market doesn’t make being a vegan any easier. Going vegan is a serious change to your diet and it is important to understand how to cope with this upheaval.
You Will Probably Need Vitamin Supplements
One thing a lot of new vegans don’t realise is just how much nutrition they were getting from animal products. Once you cut out meat, dairy, and eggs, you will need to find other ways to replace all the vitamins and minerals you used to get from these sources. B12 is the most common vitamin supplement for vegans as it is found naturally only in animal products. Lack of B12 can lead to tiredness, weakness, loss of appetite and depression.
You Will Need to Ensure You Still Consume Enough Protein
First time vegans often suffer from a lack of protein. The recommended amount of protein per day is 0.8 grams per kilo of body mass. Non-vegans have no problem consuming this through meat, eggs, and dairy, but vegans need to look elsewhere. Soy, lentils, beans, and quinoa are popular sources of protein for vegan, but you can get adventurous and see what else contains this essential nutrient.
People Will Quiz You on Your Choice
No matter how understanding your friends and family are of your decision, you will always meet one or two people who just do not get it. If you care enough to explain yourself, make sure they realise that it is your personal choice. You don’t need to justify yourself but don’t let it anger you either. People are naturally curious about things they don’t understand – you’re going to have to get used to it.
It Is Fine to Transition Slowly
Becoming a vegan doesn’t have to happen overnight. If you think you are going to find it challenging you are free to transition however you feel works best for you. This might mean cutting animal products out one by one over the course of a year or doing a stint as a vegetarian first before going the rest of the way. It is up to you and you should never let anyone pressure you into going faster than you feel comfortable with.
Don’t Go Crazy With Soy Products
The jury is still out about the full effects soy has on your health but one thing is for certain: soy is not that great. Unfortunately for vegans, a lot of the meat substitutes contain or are made entirely of soy. Research shows that consuming large amounts of soy is actually worse than consuming the same amount of high quality animal produce. This is mainly because soy products tend to be loaded with sodium and preservatives. Take it easy with the soy and look for sustenance from other sources.