How To Safely Start A Vegan Diet

How To Safely Start A Vegan Diet

Going vegan does not mean that you have to change your lifestyle completely. In a vegan diet, many of the recipes replace ingredients of animal origin with alternative ingredients. On the other hand, giving up on red meat may be a bit difficult, because this food contains high amounts of proteins. 

Why Is a Vegan Diet Better?

According to the American Medical Association, heavy red meat consumption may double the risk of colon cancer. This is only one of the health dangers posed by this food. Red meat is also rich in saturated fats that cause atherosclerosis and other heart afflictions. More than that, it is not uncommon to discover heavy metals, insecticides, and pesticides in red meat. Being vegan or vegetarian can imply a safer lifestyle and a healthier body.  

What To Include In a Vegan Diet?

Because red meat can be rather dangerous to your health, it is often better to follow a macrobiotic diet based on:

  • grains
  • staple food
  • vegetables 
  • beans

The main goal is to avoid foods that require processing or refining. Switching to a vegan lifestyle is not easy and mainly implies replacing meat with other foods, such as beans. Soups, casseroles, and stews can also be converted into vegan dishes.

Avoid Meat and Animal Products

Each of the following is found in red meat or foods of animal origin and have alternatives that suit a vegan diet:

  • Milk: consume soymilk, almond milk or rice milk instead.
  • Butter should be replaced with olive oild, fat-free cooking spray, or canola oil.
  • Cheese also has its substituents in the form of soy cheese.
  • Eggs are replaced by a dry product based on potato starch.

Learn Where to Get Nutrients

Nutrition does not have to suffer just because you switched to a vegan lifestyle. Vitamins and minerals can be obtained from many sources when following a raw food diet:

  • Protein is found in generous amounts in soy products, vegetables, lentils, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.
  • Calcium is available in spinach, turnip, kale, broccoli, and collard greens.
  • Vitamin B12 is most often obtained from animal products, so replacing it is possible only with fortified cereals, soy products, and dietary supplements.
  • Iron is found in whole grains, dried beans, peas, dried fruits, and lentils.
  • Zinc can be obtained from soy products, wheat germ, nuts, and whole grains.

As observed, none of the foods commonly found in a meat-eaters diet is irreplaceable. Starting a healthier life is easy once these alternatives are discovered.

Eat Organic Foods

Unlike junk food, which totally lacks nutrients despite its good taste, organic food is safe to consume and should represent the basis of your vegan diet. Vegans avoid animal products out of respect for the animals, but also because animal products may contain insecticides, pesticides, and even heavy metals. These toxins originate in the polluted environments in which most animals are grown. Genetically mutated fruits and vegetables are also deemed dangerous by the vegans. Organic food, on the other hand, will help you to reduce the toxin intake and will provide higher amounts of vitamins and minerals. You are, thus, recommended to replace normal products with organic food gradually, until the latter predominates.

Limit Spices and Salt Intake

Sodium represents a mineral that is useful to the human body, unless its amount exceeds the normal limits. When in excess, sodium helps in the development of hypertension and many other cardiovascular diseases. When starting a vegan diet, you need to reduce the salt intake in order to avoid such health conditions. In addition, you need to learn to enjoy raw food for what it is. Adding spices and condiments offers an artificial taste, so you have to stop using these.

Quit Smoking and Drinking Alcohol

This advice should be followed in many circumstances, not only when starting a vegan diet. Smokers and persons who consume alcohol periodically nearly cancel the benefits of the vegan diet by exposing themselves to toxins and carcinogenic substances. While some foods rich in antioxidants are able to prevent lung and stomach cancers, tobacco products and alcoholic drinks promote the development of precisely the same afflictions.   

When starting a vegan diet, it is best to take one step at a time. Depending on your body type, it may not be indicated to give up on animal products, salt, and spices suddenly. Instead, it is better to replace these gradually, until all the foods from your diet are vegan. In addition, you also need to increase the number of vegan recipes bit by bit, so that you end up being a healthy person.

  • Kirill Zaitsev

    Hiya,

    I enjoyed your entry; however, i have a question.

    I’ve been a vegan for about 18 months, so I’m rather set in my diet, and one of the things I’ve spent many many hours reading about is the effect of alcohol on the body, and despite my initial ideas about how terrible alcohol is for us, i haven’t been able to find any documentation to support the idea. In fact I’ve found the opposite, I’ve been frequently frustrated by articles listing actual Benefits to moderate alcohol consumption.

    You mention that it is very detrimental:
    “…alcoholic drinks promote the development of precisely the same afflictions. ”
    I was wondering if you have a source i could steal for that fact?

    Thanks a lot!
    -Kz

  • Mike Muller

    Kz
    You might find this womans compilation of data and subtantiated studies on the effects of alcohol useful…She tells it like it is with no BS…

    http://www.jrussellshealth.org/

    Hope this helps!

    Mike

  • NKF

    Hi there,

    So I am just starting to want to become vegan, but I’m only thirteen. My parents aren’t very accepting to anything they don’t know, so I wanted to know if you had any advice for telling them about my decision.

    Also, I would like to tell you that I very much enjoyed your arcticle. I have wanted to be a vegetarian or vegan for some time now, but I have never had the will power to do it. My longest go was a week! Anyway I was hoping you would have some way that would help me with my issue of sticking to it.

    Love, NKF

  • Sharon

    My husband & I are wanting to become vegan. I would like to know how to integrate new foods with what I have in my cupboards so that the transition can be made less expensive! Are there some staple items I should have in my fridge as we start this transition. Is there a site with a beginers grocery list? oh and some recipes as well!

    thanks!