Make Sure You Have a Plan Before Going Vegan

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Upending your entire diet should not be a halfhearted process.

For a variety of reasons ranging from moral conflicts to health improvements, veganism has grown in popularity over the last decade. Now, I’m not tough enough to go vegan, personally; I like meat too much. But if you think your life needs a change, then I wholeheartedly commend you for taking the thornier path. Veganism can most definitely give you some genuine health benefits, and less meat consumption in the world means less livestock animal abuse. However, you shouldn’t decide to go vegan just because it’s popular or someone pressures you to do it. Being a vegan is hard work, and if you go at it without planning first, you could really throw your diet out of whack.

The most important thing you need to consider before going vegan is sourcing vitamins. If you don’t eat meat or dairy, you could miss out on your daily recommended supplies of protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and iron. It is more than possible to get all of those vitamins from plant-based sources, of course, with potential sources for the vitamins I just listed including (in the previous order) beans, almond milk, mushrooms, fortified cereal, and leafy greens. Of course, everyone’s physiology is different. Maybe you’re allergic to certain foods, or maybe you absolutely cannot stand the taste of certain others. You need to make 110% sure that you have reliable sources for every vital vitamin that won’t conflict with your health or your personal palate.

It’s also important to properly feed your appetite. Non-vegan food like meat and dairy tends to stick to your ribs and make you feel fuller. If you only eat plants, it may be harder to properly satiate your hunger. Malnutrition is no joke, especially as you get older. If you find vegan meals aren’t fully satiating your appetite, try to punch things up a bit. Have a few snacks over the course of the day, or add something really filling to your meals like vegan cheeses, olive oil, or smoothies.

A vegan diet is completely workable for just about everyone, provided you do your homework first. If you decide to become vegan, only to find you hate everything you need to eat, you’re officially up a creek.