Thinking of going vegan?

Ethical and environmental considerations aside, I think a vegan diet can also be beneficial from a health perspective, provided you know what you’re doing. However, it doesn’t suit everyone and you need to be clued up so that you get enough protein and don’t become deficient in vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron or iodine. And it can always potentially be an unhealthy and unbalanced way of eating – after all, chips, sugar, quorn and bread are generally vegan!
But done properly, without ‘fake’ foods and with the focus on fresh food and a balance of protein, good fats and complex carbs, I find lots of people feel great eating this way.
Or you can do what I do which is to not be too rigid but eat around 80% vegan meals just because you find you like that way of eating 🙂

Here is A Vogel’s guide for debunking some of the myths that surround being vegan:

YOU CAN’T GET ENOUGH PROTEIN WITH A VEGAN DIET
This is a common misconception when it comes to vegan diets, but of course we know that plant based foods certainly contain protein too – herbivore animals the world over manage to get enough protein to keep them strong and healthy for a start! Protein packed vegan sources include nuts and seeds, beans, chickpeas, fermented tofu and quinoa. Plant-based protein powders which often come from peas can also be added into smoothies if you are particularly keen on upping your protein intake.

ENOUGH PROTEIN TO BUILD MUSCLE THOUGH?
Up to date research found no difference in the effects protein from meat vs. plant-based sources on body composition outcomes. Successful athletes have succeeded in their field whilst employing a vegan lifestyle, including former Germany’s Strongest Man Patrik Baboumian!

IT’S EXPENSIVE TO BE VEGAN
This couldn’t be further from the truth! What can be expensive is when people buy vegan junk food…meat alternatives or quorn products. Trying to replace meat with processed meat taste or lookalikes is kind of missing the point, instead we want to be celebrating the power of plants! Get experimental with different vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and oils and of course lots of herbs, spices and additional flavours. All of these ingredients are super cheap, much cheaper than meat that’s for sure. And the same applies when eating out – vegan-friendly meals are nearly always cheaper than their meat counterparts.

IT’S TOO TIME CONSUMING
Although at the start of taking on any new lifestyle regime, it may take a little longer to get your bearings – for example checking food labels and planning meals. But eventually this will all become second nature to you. Remember, eating fresh is key (for any diet!) so once you know which ingredients are suitable you can get experimental in the kitchen and whip up exciting meals in no time.

IT’S BORING AND TOO HARD TO GET VARIETY
It’s only boring if you want it to be! There are a huge variety of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, herbs, spices, oils, condiments which you can use to create different tastes and textures.

IT WON’T FILL ME UP
There’s no reason to believe that vegan food should fill you up any less than other food. Regardless if your meals are vegan or not, prepare balanced meals which contain healthy proportions of fats, protein and fibre – all of which help support satiety. Refined carbohydrates and sugar (which are very often found in highly processed foods anyway) are some of the worst offenders at disrupting our blood sugar and in turn our appetite, so eat from fresh and you’ll be bound to feel satisfied for longer.

If you want advice on starting a vegan diet please get in touch:
vanessa@wellbeingandnutrition. co.uk