6 Things to Consider If You’re Going Vegan

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A vegan diet is one that avoids the use of animal-derived products and embraces plant-based foods instead. People may choose to turn to a vegan diet for many reasons: it can be low in cholesterol, high in fiber, and offer protection against heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. Some choose a vegan diet to protect animals and the planet, others for their own health. Like any major dietary change, however, a change from an omnivorous or vegetarian diet to a vegan one shouldn’t be made carelessly. Here are six things to consider when switching to a purely vegan diet.

Ease into it

If you’re serious about a vegan lifestyle, you don’t need to transition overnight. There are many ways to ease into veganism. Individuals stepping down from an omnivorous or flexitarian diet may start by embracing a vegetarian diet before cutting out eggs, dairy, and other animal products. Vegetarians may choose to eliminate egg and dairy products one at a time rather than both at once. Another way to ease into a vegan diet is to start by switching to vegan snacks, then one vegan meal a day, then two a day, and so on until the entire diet is free of animal products.

Not all proteins are equal

The human body requires 20 types of amino acids to function properly, nine of which it can’t produce on its own—these are called essential amino acids. Animal products, including meat, eggs, and dairy, contain all nine essential amino acids. However, animal products are not the only complete source of the nine essential amino acids. Quinoa, a gluten-free pseudo-grain, contains all nine, as do soybeans and buckwheat. Foods such as nuts, beans, and seeds also contain some amino acids, and if combined wisely can provide all nine essential amino acids.

Defying nutritional deficiencies

The vegan lifestyle can sometimes lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Critical vitamins like B12 and vitamin D3 are lacking in many vegan diets, as are minerals crucial to our health, such as calcium, iron, iodine, and zinc. These are often added to fortified foods such as plant milks and cereals but certain plant-based foods are naturally high in these nutrients. By understanding which foods are high in these vitamins and minerals, you can know which ones to include in your diet to maintain good health. Many vegans also boost their diet by incorporating daily supplements into their routine to ensure they get the best nutrition. 

Hormone fluctuations

image source Sherman Kwan Unsplash.com 

Soy is one of the few plant-based foods that provide all nine essential amino acids. It can also help to control cholesterol, improve digestion, can be prepared in a myriad of ways, and is frequently included in vegan dishes of all sorts. Unfortunately, soybeans also contain high amounts of phytoestrogens which can sometimes lead to estrogen dominance when eaten in excess. For this reason, it is crucial not to rely too heavily on soy-based products. Using organically sourced soybeans and fermented soybean products can also help mitigate this situation.

Hidden ingredients

Animal proteins can be found in unexpected sources including wine, marshmallows, preserves, orange juice, and even some non-dairy creamers. Ingredients to be aware of when maintaining a vegan diet include:

  • Albumen/albumin
  • Carmine
  • Casein
  • Gelatin
  • L-cysteine
  • Lutein
  • Myristic or tetradecanoic acid
  • Omega-3 products fortified with seafood-based omega-3s
  • Whey

Reading food labels is a crucial component of maintaining a vegan lifestyle. Animal products can pop up in all sorts of food. It’s important to note that alcoholic beverages don’t have to list clarifying products on their labels, even if those are derived from animals. To ensure that your beverage was created with no animal products, choose a certified vegan wine or beer.

Consult a doctor


Always check with a medical professional before making any major changes to your diet. Your physician will ensure you are healthy and not suffering from any mineral deficiencies like anemia or osteoporosis, which would require extra iron or calcium in the diet. While these conditions may not prevent you from adhering to a vegan diet, adjustments to the types and amounts of food included in your diet may help alleviate the risk.

People who transition to a vegan diet will likely experience several health benefits from the switch. A vegan lifestyle can reduce cholesterol, promote weight loss, and stabilize blood sugar levels when properly managed. It is important to understand how the nutrients in plants work to support your health and well-being when crafting a vegan diet plan. Taking these six things into consideration will help ensure your new lifestyle will be in your best interest.

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