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Veganism is the practice of refusing animal products in everyday life, mostly in diet. Just because one is a vegan, does not mean the substituted products are always healthy. Here are some steps on how you can make sure that you maintain a healthy lifestyle as a vegan.
1Research first. Once you have decided to become a vegan it is always best to be knowledgeable about the topic and do your research. Look online for health information and diet tricks from both doctors and other vegans. You'll want to combine both medical advice and recipe advice to get started on the right foot in veganism.
2Know how to understand labels. Being able to understand the ingredients written on the label will help you understand the differences in vegan-friendly, and non-vegan-friendly foods. When choosing the right item make sure when looking at the labels you look for many of the symbols that indicate food contents.
- For example, if it truly is a certified vegan, gluten-free or Non-GMO product, there will likely - depending on your country - be a note or symbol indicating so. The more aware you are of the labels and key ingredient- the better you can choose which product is best for you and your vegan journey.
3Know the difference between natural, organic and chemically processed foods. There are foods that claim to be vegan when in fact, they are not. This goes back to being able to understand labels. Natural foods and organic foods are two completely different things that many people mistake for being the same.
- Organic foods are foods that must be grown without the use of any type of fertilizer or pesticides, growth hormones or antibiotics.
- However, natural foods have no legal supervision at all and the USDA does not require an official ingredient listing such as using any growth hormones.
- Natural and both organic are considered to have less to no preservatives compared to the processed foods that are loaded with artificial sweeteners, dyes, and use as many imitations as possible.
4Learn which food items give you proteins and fats that can be absorbed into your body. Nuts, seeds and legumes are a great substitute in a vegan diet as a source of protein. Nuts are low in certain amino acids such as tryptophan and methionine and are higher in oils that give you the best amount of vitamin E.
- The best way to enjoy seeds is to soak them overnight, by doing this you allow the fats and proteins to be easier to digest. You can try any type of seed when doing this such as almonds, flax seeds, cashews, hazelnut, peanut, pistachios, sesame and pecans.
- Dried legumes are always great sources of vitamin B6 and keep your skin glowing. Also any bean can help give your body vitamins such as kidney beans, black-eyed beans, pinto, adzuki, fava, lima, soy, mung and lentils.
5Ensure that each meal consists of whole grain, vegetables, and protein. Vegetables and fruits are a major part of your diet, so make sure you get lots of them! Whole grains include types of wheat, oats, rice, corn, barley, quinoa, sorghum, rye and spelt. Many whole grains have antioxidants as well as magnesium, iron, vitamin B and E, and fiber.
- By eating whole grains you will reduce strokes, diabetes, obesity, cancer and even heart disease. Also, many fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals that fight off diseases and are even a better source of nutrients. Lowered cholesterol levels have been one of the many results of whole grains, vegetables and fruits as well.
6Spice up your diet. Just because you are a vegan, your diet doesn't have to be bland with only fruits or vegetables; you can literally spice up your diet with herbs and spices! Italian spices can actually help protect your skin cells in many ways. By adding them to your diet you not only get a great new flavor but you will also get key ingredients that are loaded with antioxidants that protect your skin cells from harmful free radicals that can contribute to heart disease, cancer and even Alzheimer's disease. So by spicing things up you are also protecting yourself.
- Other great herbs and spices that can fight aging and help your overall health are: Sage, Marjoram,Thyme, Oregano, Jamaican Allspice, Turmeric, Cloves and Cinnamon.
7Use vegan-friendly substitutes for milk, butter, and honey. Soy milk is a good place to start: there are many flavors of it and it's definitely vegan friendly. Using almond soy milk in baking, and regular soy milk in other cooking is a perfect way to substitute. You will not be able to taste the difference. Another fun substitute is ground flax seed - one tablespoon of flax seed equals three tablespoons of egg. Vegetable base butters, are an excellent substitute for regular butter. And finally, if any recipe calls for honey, it can be substituted with maple syrup, agave nectar, or agave syrup. These are just a few of the many substitutes that fit into the vegan diet.
8Try some non-diary cheese. If you love cheese but want to make sure it is vegan friendly try Daiya (they create vegan cheeses, with a couple of flavors, such as cheddar and mozzarella). Another general brand of food that is very well known is the Kashi brand; not only are they vegan friendly but they're also environmentally friendly!
9Use Tofu in place of cheeses and meats. You can use this in so many dishes, from pies to stir fries. Silken tofu is very soft and can be blended and flavored for pie fillings or mousses. It can be cooked, baked or fried. You can make a dish called Tofu scramble, which is scrambled up tofu with veggies and it's essentially like scrambled eggs.
10Make sure you always put your health first! You may ask your doctor if your body is getting enough vitamins, food and iron in your diet. Ask about supplements you might need to start taking, and ask if the supplements your doctor may prescribe are vegan friendly. The purpose of food is to give our bodies the nutrients it needs to function on a day to day basis. Not getting enough of a certain vitamin, not getting enough calories or iron can cause mental and physical problems.
- If your body does not get the right amount of iron you may become very tired and weak. If you do not get the right amount of calcium your bones will become very brittle, you may have poor posture and your height may change.
- If you do not get the right amount of veggies and fruits, your body may be low on immune support to help keep your body healthy. If you're not sure if your body and mind are on a healthy track, you may double check with your doctor.
11Be healthy in your whole lifestyle. Only changing your diet will not give you the results you want. Diet and maintaining a regular exercise routine will complete your life in a healthier new way! 30 percent exercise and 70 percent diet will help your body transform. Your body is your temple, so cherish it!Advertisement
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