Before you switch up your omnivorous routine for a plant-based version, first you need to know what exactly a vegan diet is. In general, the vegan eaters only eat plant-based foods including vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, beans, seeds & legumes and the soy products. Unlike the vegetarians who consume cheese, milk & eggs but not meat, the vegans avoid all the animal products including fish, meat, eggs and dairy products. The vegan diet followers also cut out the ingredients that originates from animals such as honey & gelatin.
Also Read: 10 benefits of being a Vegetarian
Now that you have got a better understanding of basics, here’s how to get started
Ease into your Vegan Diet Plan
The idea that a “slow & steady wins the race” couldn’t be truer, if you decide to completely ditch the animal-derived foods. The only key to adopt a vegan diet for the beginners is to slowly begin incorporating more and more plant-based foods in your diet & build up from there.
Begin with avoiding meat on Mondays and experiment your day with trying vegan meals and note down, how much meat-free dish makes your body feel.
If eating vegan for only one day makes your body feel more energized & satisfied, then you can steadily increase your vegan meal intake day by day.
With those meatless Mondays, try to replace cow’s milk with soy milk. Eat tofu instead of chicken & switch meat with beans in your stew.
Don’t try to “Veganize” your Favorite Food
It is as stress-free as it is to swap your favorite beef burger with a faux meat product, relying on vegan substitutes can actually make adopting the vegan diet even more challenging. These substitutes won’t taste like what they are accustomed to, try to cook with the new hard-to-find vegan ingredients. Therefore, struggle with finding a satisfying vegan meal.
Sticking with basics (therefore fruits, vegetables, legumes, lentils, grains, nuts, beans and seeds) and focusing on the familiar meals that happens to be a vegan.
Start off with the simple based dishes such as roasted veggie hummus wraps, hearty bowl of oatmeal topped with fruit & nuts, veggie stir-fries with brown rice and peanut butter & banana sandwiches.
Stock your Kitchen with Essentials
If you really want to achieve a vegan diet plan and reap its health benefits, you definitely need to load your fridge & pantry with staples.
Keep plenty of fruits & veggies that are packed with immune boosting nutrients and fibers to keep you full.
For a quick protein, turn to canned or dried beans as well as the whole grains, nuts & seeds from bulk bins at your local supermarket, all of which are relatively nutritious, inexpensive and also have a super long shelf.
Embrace Meal Prepping
After a non-stop workday, the last thing you do is spend time in kitchen and try new vegan recipe. While a huge bowl of spaghetti is sure to quell the hunger for a moment, it’s a lack of satiating fiber & plant-based protein means your stomach will be growling before the bedtime.
That is why a vegan diet for the beginners works the best with bit of meal prepping. It might be helpful to spend a weekend in making a big batch of one or two whole grains such as quinoa & steel-cut oats, roasting a bunch veggie, and prepping some plant-based proteins such as marinated tofu or cooked black beans to mix & match for quick meals throughout the week.
Buying items such as pre-washed & pre-chopped veggies, and already-cooked grains, such as frozen brown rice is also helpful.
Expect some Initial Changes to your Digestion
By increasing your intake of plant-based foods on a vegan diet for the beginners, you will also be upping the amount of fiber in your diet, which helps in lower cholesterol, relate the blood sugar level and keep you regular.
You might start noticing some changes with digestion because of eating more fiber. Initially you may notice some changes in the bowel habits, more gas and a bit of abdominal pain.
So, make sure that you are hydrating really well during your transition to a vegan based diet.
Note: The fiber pulls the water into colon in order to produce soft, bulky tools & prevent constipation. Hitting your H2O goals is a key.