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7 Healthy Tips to Help You Start Eating a Vegan Diet

First of all, I understand how scary it can be transitioning to a vegan diet. When I first became vegetarian 7 years ago, I thought I was not going to be able to meet all my nutritional requirements. I was convinced about my decision for ethical reasons, but I didn’t think the diet had any health benefits at all. I was just ready to make the “sacrifice” to align my actions with my beliefs.  It was a few years after, when I became vegan, that I started researching for more information about the diet itself. Then, I discovered that a Whole Foods Plant-based diet has been scientifically proven to reverse heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol and a lot of other health benefits.  When a vegan diet is well planned your body gets all the nutrients that it needs to survive and thrive. Besides, both the British Dietetic Association and the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognize that a vegan diet is suitable for every age and stage of life, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. 

1. Eat a variety of foods: do not be scared of any macronutrient and nourish yourself with balanced meals. Choose produce from all colors of the rainbow to get all the benefits.

2. Choose whole grains: this way you are avoiding processed sugars and including more fiber, iron and B vitamins to your diet.

3. Eat enough calories: Plant foods tend to have fewer calories than animal based foods. It is possible to not meet your caloric needs at the beginning. Make sure you are eating enough quantities.

4. Make sure you get enough Omega-3s: these fatty acids are extremely important for brain development. In an omnivore diet, they are mainly found in fish. However, you can also get them in plants like flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts and hemp seeds.

5. Get your supplements: make sure you take a supplement of vitamin b12 or get fortified foods. This vitamin is made by bacteria and is found in animal products. That’s why when eliminating those foods, you need to include a good source of it. Besides, it is possible that you need to supplement also vitamin D, especially if you are not exposed to a lot of sunlight (this applies also to omnivore diets).

6. Eat your greens: dark leafy vegetables are extremely important if you want to keep your health on point. They are a super nutrient dense food really rich in fiber. They are a good source of iron and calcium.

7. Include plant proteins: protein is the main concern of people when thinking about a vegan diet. However, there is plenty of protein in plants and we can get enough of it without having to eat animal products. Besides, animal sources of protein tend to be high in unhealthy saturated fats. Good sources of protein are legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils), tofu, tempeh, nuts and seeds.

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