Eating a strict vegetarian diet should always be a personal choice, but if you really want to adopt the vegan lifestyle, saying "no" to meat, eggs and dairy, you should know some of the problems that going vegan can bring to your health. Therefore, below we share some of the most important things you should know before switching to a vegan diet.
Jesús Román, president of the Spanish Society of Dietetics and Food Sciences, told BBC Mundo that vegans "are a complicated diet that is not easy to follow. if you decide to adopt you must do so with sufficient knowledge".BBC Mundo, "Risks of the vegan diet".
Your friends and family will ask you many questions
People are very sensitive about their diet, especially if they always believe that what they think is right. The best way to minimize conflicts is to emphasize that you have chosen this vegetarian lifestyle for personal reasons. If you are satisfied with the results that is all that matters, you don't have to justify yourself to anyone. What is really important is to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
Often, our family and friends find it difficult to accept the vegan diet.
Similarly, those who choose the vegan option should not try to impose their diet on anyone who does not want it.
You need an iron supplement
Iron is mainly found in foods of animal origin and, from this source, the body absorbs it very easily, while the iron contained in vegetables is more difficult to absorb. Therefore, we will need a iron supplementation to ensure optimal daily intake. Important plant sources of iron are sunflower seeds, raisins and green leafy vegetables.
You don't have to give up your favorite restaurants because you're vegan
Veganism is becoming more and more popular, so most restaurants have vegan diet recipes on their menu. However, before ordering your dish, ask the waiter for more details about the preparation of the food to find out for sure.
You need a supplement with vitamin B12, yes or yes.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found only in foods of animal origin and its lack in the body affects the cells of the nervous system and blood, leading to DNA degradation, fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, decreased muscle mass, depression, among other possible problems. To find out what is the necessary measure, go to your family doctor for a blood test so that he/she can prescribe a vitamin B12 supplement.
You need to find new sources of protein
Another fundamental aspect of the vegan diet is that every meal should contain protein. Proteins are the cornerstone of life, as they are broken down into amino acids, which are essential for cell growth and repair. The recommended daily protein intake for an adult is at least 0.8 grams per kg of body weight per day (54 grams for a 68 kg woman).
The best sources of vegetable protein are soybeans, lentils, nuts, beans, quinoa, raw oils, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, seeds and pistachios.
Do not replace animal products with junk food.
By giving up meat in favor of processed foods you will only harm your health. If you have made the decision to be a vegetarian, focus only on natural foods and not on processed foods which, in addition, usually have a lot of animal fat in their formulas.
It is perfectly possible to maintain a healthy and balanced vegan diet.
Do not overdo it with soy products.
In general, critics overestimate the dangers that can arise from the consumption of soy products, while their promoters exaggerate the benefits of consumption. Excessive consumption of soy products has more serious effects on the body than meat consumption, since most of these products are highly processed and "enriched" with sodium and preservatives, so always read labels carefully. Our advice is to choose only the dried soybeans and thus use them to prepare whatever you want; soy milk, tofu, etc..
Be prepared to read food labels.
If you really want to switch to a vegan diet, you should read the food carefully to verify the ingredients they contain. Although a product, at first glance, is considered a vegetable, it can contain quite a few surprises. For example, in many energy bars and cereal breads you can find casein and whey (which come from milk), while jam and other foods contain whey (meat fat) and carmine (coloring derived from the crushing of the female cochineal insect), so if you want to be strictly vegan you have a big job ahead of you.
The transition to a vegan diet should be made gradually.
You don't have to go to bed a carnivore and wake up a vegetarian. It takes a lot of work, so you can start by adding plant foods to your diet, while giving up animal foods and processed and refined foods. Gradually make changes in your diet to assess how you feel about eating only vegetarian foods. It is essential that you are not in a hurry to complete the process.
Animals won't be the only happy beings if you go vegetarian - you will be too! Compared to vegetarian diets, omnivores contain more arachidonic acid, which makes certain neurological changes, thus decreasing the good mood of consumers. So after a period of adaptation you are sure to get great results.
You will soon discover the benefits of a healthy and balanced diet.
Beyond moral issues, being vegan or not is a personal choice that at some point in our lives we have taken into account. Nowadays it is perfectly possible to have a balanced diet and maintain a good state of health by being vegan, but we must always bear in mind these recommendations.
If we have any doubts or problems with our diet, we should always contact a physician who will prescribe suitable instructions for our health and rhythm of life.
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