Going vegan is an important lifestyle choice anyone can make and one that can yield many health benefits. However, going about it improperly may result in unwanted side effects like fatigue, nutritional deficiencies and weight-gain. To make your transition to a vegan diet as smooth as possible, consider these common pitfalls that you can easily avoid.
Lack of planning
As with any other nutritional approach, planning your meals ahead of time can be of great benefit. This is especially important when going vegan, because finding sufficient sources of protein will more difficult since many, if not most, restaurants do not cater to vegan diets. Some good vegan-friendly protein sources include chickpeas and lentils, beans, tofu, tempeh, as well as soybeans, nuts, and seeds.
Insufficient energy intake
Many people who are new to vegan diets consume mainly fresh fruits and vegetables, but don’t realise that they need to eat appropriate amounts of other vegan-friendly foods in order to attain a sustainable calorie and nutrient intake, and as a result may end up feeling fatigued or unwell.
Over-consumption of processed carbohydrates
When going vegan, some people turn to processed carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, potatoes, and granola bars in order to fulfil their calorie intake. However, these foods lack nutrients and can lead to weight-gain, so consume carbohydrates wisely or opt for more unprocessed options (such as wholegrain pasta or sprouted wholewheat bread) instead.
Any successful nutrition plan needs to have balance. When going vegan, you should aim to consume 20-25% protein, 25-30% fats, and the remainder of your calories from healthy carbohydrate sources. This helps you make sure you get the nutrients you need, and keeps your body functioning at its optimum. Vegan athletes in particular need to be extra vigilant when it comes to ensuring adequate macronutrient intake. Supplements like pea protein powder can make hitting daily protein allowances a much easier task.
No matter your reason for going vegan, making sure you don’t make these newbie mistakes is the key to making sure your diet has longevity and that you can continue living healthily.