Here are some ideas to make a healthy transition. 

 Why should you consider adopting a vegan diet?

WHAT IS VEGANISM?

It is usually defined by what it forbids:  animal products and nothing processed with animal products. This means bypassing obvious foods like meat and dairy, but it also includes obscure items like refined cane sugar because bone char is often used during the sugar refining process.

HOW DO YOU START?

  1.  Shop the perimeter of the grocery store where the fresh produce and nuts and grains are located.  This is also where many stores have bulk bins where you can stock up on dried beans, rice, nuts and lentils.
  2. Go for colour.  Choosing a wide variety of colour will supply you with many different nutrients.
  3. Eat 9-12 total servings of fruit and vegetables per day. 
  4. Discover non-dairy alternatives such as nut milks, nut butters and seasonings. 

BABY STEPS

Start with baby steps.  Focus on introducing more vegetables, beans and grains with the most protein such as chickpeas and cashews.  Phase out animal products and increase your plant intake slowly, some people have a problem with digestion when increasing vegetables.  Choose whole foods.  Build your diet around this and try to avoid prepackaged foods in moderation.  

FILLING THE GAPS

If you become vegan here are some of the most common deficiencies.  Vitamin B12, Protein, Vitamin D, iron, calcium and omega-3’s. 

Vitamin B12 is one of the most common examples.  There are not many foods that supply us with this vitamin.  The only foods are sea vegetables and nutritional yeast (brewer’s yeast).  The best form is through supplementation.

Protein can also be a tricky deficiency.  Protein is important for building muscles, keeping blood cells health and other vital functions so it is very important to do foods rich in protein such as dried beans, lentils, peas, soy and soy products.

Iron is found in kale and spinach.  Pair all iron sources with Vitamin C for good absorption. 

Calcium can also be a struggle, you can find calcium in green leafy vegetables and fortified plant milks but supplementation may be your most convenient option.

Switching to a vegan diet even for just a month can be a big undertaking.  Strive for progress not perfection.  Experiment with different recipes and alternatives when beginning your journey.  Plus ask other vegans for inspiration and support.

Submitted by Gwen Cottingham, Registered Nutritionist,

g.cottingham@hotmail.com905-778-9998

Gwen Cottingham, Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Life Coach Sign up for more nutritional solutions that are simple, fun and sustainable
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