It takes three things to maintain a healthy vegan lifestyle: dedication, forethought and simply enjoying what you eat! Removing meat and dairy from your diet is nowhere near as hard as you’ve heard, but you will need to be quite careful starting out. To achieve a successful vegan lifestyle, we suggest adhering to the following guidelines in terms of personal nutrition and wellbeing:
#1 B12 and Iron supplementsThere are various nutrients that occur naturally only in animal foods, so when you transition to a plan-based diet you need to substitute them. B12 is vital for nerve and blood cells, and deficiency in a vegan diet can lead to all sorts of mental and physical drawbacks. Heme iron is also lacking in vegan foods, so you’ll need to up your intake of high-iron foods like legumes, sunflower seeds and greens such as spinach.
#2 Develop a vegan recipe repertoireThe number of people who go vegan and who only consume frozen or junk vegan food is quite staggering. Nothing will help you ease into your new diet like trying out new vegan recipes each and every week. The world is full of cultures who embrace veganism in various ways, so whether you prefer Indian, Thai or Italian dishes, take some time to cook and craft a diet to your liking.
#3 No need to make a fuss
Unless your social circle comprises nothing but vegans, you may find your meat-free diet gets a mixed reception from friends and family. If you want to avoid a deluge of questions and scrutiny, then avoid “announcing” your veganism, and instead concentrate on controlling your diet and food cravings first.
#4 Snack healthily!If you’ve always enjoyed (but also felt guilty) having a few nibbles on hand, veganism presents the ultimate way to snack. Instead of artificially-flavoured crisps or cocktail sausages, our own vegan snack box is filled with delicious finger foods including Japanese-inspired rice sticks, coconut chips, cashew nuts and fig & linseed flapjacks.
#5 Plan-ahead for outingsVegans are often caught out when they’re invited to a dinner party or restaurant outing, even more so than ovo-lacto vegetarians. The key is to take initiative: ask your host what they’re preparing not only as a main, but side-dishes as well. Cook something in advance and bring it over (make plenty so people can experience great vegan cooking!). If you’re going out, the chef should appreciate you calling in advance to ask whether a dish can be made free of dairy or other animal products.
Going for a vegan lifestyle shouldn’t feel like an obstacle. It’s an enlightening, liberating choice that both your planet and body will thank you for! If you’re interested in more everyday vegan tips and recipe ideas, keep an eye on the Wild Radish Facebook page, or on Twitter @Wild_Radish.