If you are thinking of going vegan long-term, there are a few things you should keep in mind. While you can certainly eat a healthy and well-balanced diet as a vegan, you must also invest time in menu planning. The goal is to ensure that your diet is more than free of animal products, but also that your body has the nutrients it requires to thrive.
Identify Multiple Protein Sources
By removing meat from your diet, you are likely removing your primary means of protein. Many new vegans find one protein source they really like, and stick with that. There are two flaws with this mindset: 1. You will get bored, which will make going vegan more of a challenge. 2. Moderation is best, no matter what the source.
For example, most people can eat soy without problem. But if you drink soymilk, eat tofu, and soy cheese and yogurt—it’s too much of a good thing, and will likely throw your hormones out of whack. Additional protein sources include:
- Nut Butter
- Soy Protein Powder
Also consider taking a daily multi-vitamin designed for vegans, and be mindful of your iron and calcium intake.
Avoid The Sugar Trap When Going Vegan Long-Term
There are many reasons for going vegan long-term, and being healthy isn’t always at the top of the list. In fact, it is surprisingly easy to eat a high-sugar diet as a vegan. There are an impressive number of vegan breads, desserts, and snacks—that may be animal-free—but nutritionally low in value.
You May Need To Be Vegetarian When You Travel
Nothing you do with your diet has to be 100%, so don’t beat yourself up if on occasion you eat dairy, seafood, or meat. I have a friend who is a strict vegan, but when she is sick she will eat fish. I have another friend who is vegan, and has learned that when she travels she has to be vegetarian, and turn to dairy for protein.
Before you go vegan, head to the grocery store to stock up on essential grains, nuts, beans, and protein sources. You may also want to invest in a few new cooking appliances—blender, food processor, juicer, dehydrator, food steamer, and crock pot. Last but not least, invest in a few vegan cookbooks, and find a few go-to recipe websites.