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Here are simple ideas to handle your food cravings when you become a vegan.
Drink enough water
● Often, the unknown-craving feel comes out of dehydration too.
Have enough calories
● Not enough calories in your meal can also make you crave.
● Include rice, beans, lentils, sweet potatoes.
● Your cravings can also stem from inadequate nutrition.
● Especially if your iron and calcium levels are low, the sugar and other cravings will be high. Look into it. Increase your nutrient and iron intake.
For your coffee and tea cravings:
● Switch to soy milk, oat milk, almond milk.
● You can find rice milk and hemp milk too.
Over time, you can reduce your plant-based dairy, too, if you like.
For your meat cravings:
● Include tofu, soy chunks, and tempeh.
● You can make spicy curry recipes and stews with vegetables that can taste like meat gravies.
● Adding a mixture of spices like cardamom, bay leaf, peppers enhances your food tastes.
For your salt cravings:
● It is alright to include a wee bit of salt.
● Or you can add lime juice, orange juice, herbs, chili flakes, and spices.
● Enjoy baked/air-fried sweet potatoes, zucchini and potatoes.
For sugar cravings:
● Include dates syrup, maple syrup, vanilla essence, mangoes, apples, bananas, and dates in your meals or post-meals.
● You have vegan cocoa powder, nut milk, soy milk, oat milk, nutritional yeast, and plant-based cheeses. Enjoy a chocolate cake.
● Add vegan cocoa nibs as toppings to your breakfast.
● Prepare a batch of homemade sweetened granola’s, roasted nuts.
For your post-meal cravings:
● Make seasonal fruit jams, rose-petal jams. Have a spoonful of the jam along with a few walnuts or pistachios.
● Have some granola with cocoa bits.
● Have dried fruit and nuts bar.
● Enjoy dairy-free dark chocolate.
Include Good Fats
● Have avocados, almonds, walnuts, and other nuts. It will stop your cravings in a way.
● Vegan foods and recipes avoid processed foods, processed sugars, too much oil, fries, and high-fat food items.
● Vegan diets are naturally high in fiber, low in calories, and low in fat.
● Certain restrictive nature of the vegan diet also contributes to reducing weight.
A 2016 Harvard University Study “vegetarian diets and Weight Reduction” by Ru-Yi Huang et al. concluded that Vegan/vegetarian dieters lose more weight than non-vegetarians after 18 weeks of monitoring.
Gourmet vegan foods are expensive.
● Vegan mock meat is expensive.
● Unsweetened soy/almond/oat/coconut milk costs more than normal dairy milk.
● A dairy yogurt costs less compared to plant-based yogurts.
The demand for veganism is limited compared to a non-vegan, normal diet. That is also a probable reason for the high price.
Vegetarians: Consume animal-derived products like milk and eggs, along with their plant-based foods.
Vegans: No animal products of any sort. No kinds of seafood. No active ingredients, preservatives, and even food colors from an animal source.
When it comes to being vegan or becoming vegan, there is no one-size-fits-all. I may prefer a completely raw vegan diet plan. Someone I know prefers going vegan thrice a month or twice a day.
For some, including eggs and occasional meat along with vegan foods, can work well. The preferences and methods in veganism vary. In the end, it all comes down to our personal choices and decisions.
Sometimes it is difficult. And other times, it can make you feel you want to quit and get back to a normal diet.
● Explaining your dietary preferences or finding the right food for you at social gatherings (with friends, families, and other events) can make things uncomfortable.
● Finding the right foods that cover all the nutrients we need in a day can seem like a lot of work.
● People around you having a normal diet can intimidate you.
It all happens.
● Fruits, vegetables, legumes, sprouts, beans, and lentils.
● Plant-based soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, etc.
● Non-dairy cheeses and chocolates.
● Nut butter.
● Rolled oats.
● Rice (white/brown).
● Avocados (good fat).
● Non-dairy yogurts.
● Nuts and seeds.
● Maple syrup, vanilla extracts, and dates syrup.
● Vegan bread and pasta.
Ovo-vegans take Eggs.
Lacto-Ovo vegans take Dairy and Eggs.
● Include good fats like avocado, coconut milk, nuts, and seeds. They help you stay full.
● Include fiber-rich foods like oats, beans, lentils, and such.
● Introduce little carbs. Add in rice, potatoes, and such.
● Hydrate yourself with water, smoothies, and juices.
● Not enough protein can also make you feel not full.
● Use cold-pressed organic oils in small quantities for your recipes.
These tips will help you stay full on a vegan diet.
By going vegan,
● Processed foods
● High-fat (not the essential ones)
● High levels of sugars, oils, and salts.
● Necessary fats.
● Fruits and vegetables.
● Essential nutrients and vitamins.
With all the good things in a vegan diet, you can bring in considerable health changes in your body.
● Educate yourself about vegan diets, foods, and lifestyles. It will help you make well-informed decisions.
● If possible, attend vegan diet workshops and sessions to know more.
● Starting slow is the best option.
● Look for alternatives instead of cutting down your favorite foods.
● Look for vegan recipes and try them even when you are on a normal diet.
Focus on changing basics like:
● Including more sprouts, fruits, and veggies.
● Include smoothies along with your pancakes.
● Cut down dairy. Use coconut milk, soy milk, or almond milk in your coffees and chai.
● Have fruit bowls as mid-day snacks.
● Include seasonal and regional fruits and vegetables.
● You can choose a vegan diet type to suit you.
When it comes to the vegan diet, making a conscious decision and doing it willingly is the best idea.
● Start by reducing your dairy (as milk, cheese, coffee, tea).
● Have vegan days once or twice a week.
● If becoming complete vegan is difficult initially; include eggs in your vegan diet. Or, weekly, two servings of meat and a vegan diet. Fix the meal plan to your convenience.
● Replace sugars with date syrups, fruit purees, nut butter, etc.
● Include 2-3 fruits and vegetable servings in your day.
● Stock healthy alternatives in your pantry.
● Occasional indulgences like vegan pizzas, cakes, and chocolates will help you get the wholeness feel.
● Learn more about going vegan and becoming vegan. Gather knowledge about the vegan lifestyle.
These tips will help you go vegan easier.
Proteins: Tofu, soy milk, almond milk, peanut butter, seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes.
Iron: Beans, broccoli, raisins, iron-fortified breakfast cereals and muesli, and have lots of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for iron absorption.
Calcium: Broccoli, cabbage, okra, fortified unsweetened soy and oat milk, calcium-set tofu, pulses, dried fruits (raisins, apricots, figs, prunes), and calcium-fortified brown and white bread.
Vitamin D: You can take Vitamin D fortified soy drinks, breakfast cereals, and spreads. Get the early morning hours sunlight.
Gluten is a protein found in almost all grains like wheat, barley, and rye.
A vegan diet may include gluten or gluten-free foods. For example, you can be a vegan and still have bread, barley, and pasta. They have gluten. And they are completely plant-based.
Then you have brown rice and quinoa. They are vegan and gluten-free.
See the difference?
It is up to people to choose vegan and gluten-free or just vegan.
● Don’t become vegan because everyone’s buzzing about it on social media.
● If you are already lacking certain nutrients and not sure about your cuisine covering all the nutrients, you shouldn’t go vegan.
● If addicted to dairy, you shouldn’t go vegan quickly.
● Vegan plant-based foods can be expensive. Not everything, but quite a few vegan things are costly compared to a normal diet.
● Unless you prepare appropriate recipes filled with nutritious foods, the feeling of "did not eat well" or "I am not full" becomes natural in a vegan diet.
What reasons do you have? Let us know.
If you are a vegan or want to become a vegan, you have pretty excellent protein sources like:
● Soy (contains all 9 amino acids needs for the body), tofu, tempeh, soy milk
● Hemp seeds
● Chia seeds
● Rolled oats (1/2 cup)
● Nut butter
And for the Ovo, flexible, Lacto vegan types, there will be no problem with the protein source. They all take eggs.
Weight-Loss and Weight Maintenance:
● Vegan Diet has low-calorie, low-carbs, low sugars, and lower cholesterol compared to a regular diet.
● A vegan diet has low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, low blood pressure levels, lower rates of hypertension, and lower rates of Type 2 Diabetes.
Essential nutrients point of view:
● The regular diet that includes eggs, meat, fish, and dairy looks good compared to a completely vegan diet.
Katherine Tallmadge, RD, LD, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, says:
If you are a complete vegan, you must be very careful in selecting your foods to get all the nutrients you need.
If not, the vegan diet makes your body energy less and nutrients less.
Kathy McManus, Director of Department of Nutrition at Harvard affiliated Brigham and Women’s hospital, says:
● Vegan diets can be healthy, but they can lack certain nutrients.
● The anemia seems to be a problem in a completely vegan diet. The body quickly absorbs animal-based iron compared to plant-based iron.
● Nutrients like iron and zinc get absorbed faster in a normal diet compared to a plant-based.
● For instance, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish gets absorbed easily compared to the same omega-3 present in the flax seeds.
● If you’re a vegan, you might take a Vit.B12 supplement.
Take care in accommodating enough protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin B12 in your vegan diet.
Choose a comfortable vegan diet plan.
● You can try vegan foods twice a day followed by a normal diet with dairy and meat.
● You can try “vegan till lunch” or “vegan till evening” and have a normal diet plan for the remaining meal.
● You can take eggs and dairy (be Lacto-Ovo vegans) along with plant-based foods and avoid all meats.
● Some people like to go 80/10/10, i.e.80% fruits/veggies in their daily meals.
It becomes easy for you to start a plant-based diet if you start with any vegan diet plan.
● Start slow.
● Start with minor changes.
● Gradually increase fruits, green leafy veggies, grains, vegetables, lentils, non-dairy plant milk, sprouts, and nuts.
Take it easy! Take your time! It is the best way to go vegan.
Now that we have covered the basics of vegan diets, let’s discuss the pros and cons.
Benefits of Going Vegan:
● Get to include fresh, home-cooked foods than pocketed/boxed/processed ones.
● Improved overall health.
● Improved gut health.
● Improved skin health.
● Mindful eating.
● A good way to shed the extra pounds.
● Lowers blood sugar levels.
● Encourages you to eat nutritious foods.
● Supports the idea of environmental sustainability.
● On the grounds of ethical perspective- avoids animal cruelty.
● Helps us prepare a balanced meal.
● Reduce processed sugar and saturated fat in the daily diet.
● Reducing health risks from processed foods.
● Improving their body and health and fitness levels.
● Reduced risk of cancer (as per 2015 WHO study)
● Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (as per 2018 Cleveland Clinic study)
● A vegan diet has complex carbohydrates present in them–it enhances the feel-good hormone in the brain.
Cons of a vegan diet:
● Keep exploring different food choices and recipes with vegan foods.
● Difficult to find vegan restaurants compared to normal restaurants.
● Finding a completely vegan company will be less. Most of our surrounding people will either be vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
● Can get expensive.
● Chances of nutrition deficiency–especially Vitamin B12.
● Have to be mindful in bringing/adding nutritious food items in every meal.
● Be careful with the ingredient list every time you buy something out, even if it says “vegan.”
● Watch out for heavily processed vegan foods. Stick to your home-prepared foods most of the time.
● Friends, family members, co-workers can become critical of your vegan choice.
Now that we have discussed the pros and cons of becoming vegan, one thing is clear.
The more you educate yourself about veganism or vegan diets, the more you will make ideal food choices! You will bring more nutritious food sources in your every meal.
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