How to go vegan
Maybe you’ve tried Veganuary in the past, or maybe you’ve been vegetarian for a few years and are ready to make the leap to veganism. Regardless of how you come to veganism, there are a number of steps you should take to ensure that you are healthy, happy and whole while vegan – whether you stay vegan for just a week or for the rest of your life. Keep reading to learn how to go vegan safely while maintaining your sanity.
Take a moment to reflect on why you want to go vegan
Before reaching for the soy milk, why not take a few moments to reflect on why you want to go vegan. It might even be worth setting time aside to journal and really reflect. Is it for health reasons, because you are concerned about the climate crisis and want to minimize your carbon footprint, for ethical reasons, or for something else entirely?
These are all questions that you should consider deeply and refer back to regularly in order to chart your vegan journey as well as the thoughts and feelings that accompany you during the process. You may even want to use your journal entries as motivation when you start craving a tuna sandwich or burger.
Find alternatives to your animal-based favourites
When first transitioning to veganism, it can be really difficult to find the self-control to set aside meals and snacks that were once your go-to. However, this is a lot easier if you find delicious alternatives to your favourite animal-based foods.
One of the great things about veganism is that there is a talented, creative and dedicated group of vegans around the world who are constantly coming up with amazing and easy-to-make recipes. If you miss anything from cheese to seafood to burgers, you’ll be able to find a wealth of recipes, videos and blogs all detailing how to make these meals without using animal products.
When looking for new recipes, just browse through social media, video sharing platforms or even just Google images, and you will be sure to find a few cooks whose recipes call to you.
Learn a few cooking skills
Being vegan does not mean that you have to live with less, but it does mean that you need to live more creatively. You will be able to live a much richer and better life as a vegan if you learn a number of basic cooking skills before transitioning to veganism.
Whether you learn from YouTube, a cooking class, books, friends or family, it is certainly worth taking the time to learn the basics such as how to press and prepare tofu, knife skills, creating a flavour profile and building nutritionally dense meals. Your future self will thank you and your wallet will as well – food that you cook yourself will typically be significantly cheaper and healthier than food that you buy at a restaurant or buy premade.
Find out if you need supplements
Most adults already take a few supplements, and if you are trying to transition to veganism in a healthy way, you will likely need to take a moment to take stock of your diet and consider whether or not you could benefit from taking supplements. There are countless resources out there to help you find out which supplements you need. If you have any underlying health concerns or challenges, you should also speak with your doctor about your plan to try a vegan diet.
Be realistic about your diet and your expectations
Oftentimes when you start out on your vegan journey, you can experience a rush of excitement and may be tempted to completely revamp every aspect of your life. While a total vegan makeover of your diet can be exhilarating and may make you feel like a new person, the reality is that this is not very sustainable.
Rather than going from a meat, dairy and egg-filled diet to a vegan one overnight, why not try slowly scaling back one or two things each month and seeing how you feel. You might find that the substitutions and meal solutions that seem insurmountable at the beginning are actually quite easy.
Try not to neglect self-care
Many people start to feel overwhelmed when they first make the transition to veganism. There’s often a stigma surrounding the lifestyle that makes people think that they have to give up on all of the things that they enjoyed doing previously, for fear of judgement from fellow vegans.
Of course, a vegan lifestyle will almost certainly involve some fairly heavy changes, but this doesn’t mean you have to give up on the things that you love. Some people suggest that vegans shouldn’t travel abroad, gamble, eat fast food, or in fact do anything that could be considered enjoyable, but this isn’t the case! It’s important to continue practicing self-care when making the transition to veganism, whether that’s taking an occasional holiday, loading up your favourite online casino, or getting the latest vegan offering from McDonalds.
Find resources you need
Many vegans started out as someone who thought veganism was much too restrictive and difficult a diet. Thankfully, now more than ever, there are hundreds of different vegan products on supermarket shelves and on restaurant menus. This makes being vegan – or even just vegetarian – a much less daunting task.
That being said, going vegan can still be difficult, and it is worth reaching out to the resources available to you when you do begin to change your diet. Whether that means joining groups on social media or in person, speaking with friends or even just doing your research and reading into the science of veganism, you are likely to feel more connected to a community, supported and acknowledged.
At the end of the day, everyone has to make the choice for themselves whether or not they go vegan, but hopefully these steps will help to make the choice a happy, healthy and fun one.
Flip through every exercise magazine and, judging by all the attention protein supplements get, it seems protein and fitness somehow go hand in hand The Effect of six weeks of supplementation with multi-component performance supplements and resistance training on anabolic hormones, body composition, strength, and power in resistance-trained men.
`Ormsbee MJ, Mandler WK, Thomas DD, et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2012 Nov 15; 9 (1): 49. Effects of a high protein diet on body weight and comorbidities associated with obesity. Baker, Clifton P. IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia. The British Journal of Nutrition, 2012 Aug; 108 Suppl 2: S122-9. And it’s true: Protein can help promote a healthy weight and help your muscles recover from a good workout. But what exactly is protein, and when it comes to supplements, what kind of protein is the best? Read on to find out about the different protein powder sources and which one sets you apart from the rest.
Protein 101 – The Need for Knowledge
Protein is a macronutrient found in many foods, such as meat, dairy products, nuts, and beans, to name a few. It consists of amino acids, the building blocks of lean body tissue that support healthy skin, hair, bones, nails, and (drum roll, please) muscles Protein in the diet – its role in satiety, energy, weight loss, and health. Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lemmens SG, Westerterp KR. Human Biology, Nutrim, MUMC, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands. British Journal of Nutrition. 2012 Aug; 108 Suppl 2: S105-12.
While many experts suggest that most of our protein comes from wholesome food sources, protein supplements can make it easier to get these amino acids on the go. But not all protein supplements are created equal Effect of intake of different dietary protein sources on plasma amino acid profiles at rest and after exercise. Burke LM, Winter JA, Cameron-Smith D, et al. Australian Institute of Sport, Belconnen, Australia Capital Territory, Australia. International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2012 Dec; 22 (6): 452-62. Before demolishing the pros and cons of different protein sources, it’s important to understand two ways protein supplements are often classified:
How to go vegan – Ultimate Guide in 2022
1. Protein concentrate vs. Isolate: Protein comes from various food sources and is “concentrated” by removing non-protein parts. The result: a powder that is 70 to 85 percent pure protein (the remaining 15 to 30 percent is mainly carbohydrate and fat). Taking it a step further in the concentration process, “isolation” removes a much higher percentage of the non-protein content. Additional processing produces a premium protein that is up to 95 percent pure.
2. Complete protein vs. incomplete: The body cannot make Amino acids known as essential amino acids. “Complete proteins” contain all nine essential amino acids, while “incomplete proteins” contain some, but not all, essential amino acids.
OK, now we’re ready to dive into the fun stuff. Here’s a detailed look at the most common powdered protein supplements on the market and their pros and cons for you.
What’s Up With Supps? -Protein Comparison
The most popular protein supplement on the market today, whey, is a by-product of turning milk into cheese.
Pros: Whey protein has been shown to promote lean muscle growth and fat loss and support cardiovascular health and healthy metabolism. The effects of milk consumption and resistance training on female athletes’ body composition. Josse AR, Phillips SM. Medicine and sport science, 2012, Oct.; 59 (): 1662-2812. The influence of whey protein on cardiometabolic risk factors. Pal S, Radavelli-Bagatini S. Obesity reviews: an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 2012, Nov.; 14 (4): 1467-789X. Whey is also quickly absorbed by the body, making it useful for post-workout regeneration. Bonus: This inexpensive source of wholesome protein comes in various flavors, from proven vanilla to decadent chocolate mint ice cream.
Consequences: The sugar found in milk (lactose) is a common allergen that can make whey indigestible for some. And while these tasty flavors make whey a delicious choice, they often (depending on the brand) come with a plethora of less-than-desirable artificial sweeteners and chemicals.
It is another protein powder that comes straight from the udder (figuratively speaking). Casein is produced using the separation process applied to liquid milk, which can concentrate or isolate the milk protein from carbohydrates and fats.
Millet: Casein Protein Powder offers similar benefits to Whey Protein but with a different release process. As casein is digested over a long period, studies have shown that it is the optimal choice of protein at bedtime. (Yum-bedtime protein shake!)
Consequences: Casein is a by-product of milk, making it allergenic to some, as is whey. It is also not ideal as a post-workout supplement because it is slowly absorbed. After exercise, your body needs nutrients to replenish and rebuild – best left to the whey or a combination of the two. Casein is also more expensive than whey and often contains many artificial ingredients to make it more palatable.
Egg protein comes from, well, eggs! It is a complete protein that separates the yolks and dehydrates the proteins.
Millet: In addition to the protein itself, egg white powders are rich in vitamins and minerals that can contribute to a healthy diet.
Cons: Egg allergies are common, similar to milk allergies, especially in children and young adults. Szépfalusi Z. Wiener medizinische Wochenschrift (1946), 2012, Nov.; 162 (23-24): 1563-258X. Egg protein is also one of the most expensive protein supplements available, which is likely why Rocky Balboa did it this way.
Soy protein is one of the few plant-based protein sources that offers all the essential amino acids. The protein is concentrated or isolated after the soybeans have been hulled and dried into soy flour (making delicious pancakes!).
Millet: Protein from soybeans may help improve the body’s immune function and promote bone health. The effects of soybean peptide on immune function, brain function, and neurochemistry in healthy volunteers. Limit D, Hoxur P, Amat N. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 2011, Aug; 28 (2): 1873-1244. Soybean Food: Is It For Optimal Bone Health? Lanou AJ.
How to go vegan – Ultimate Guide in 2022
Therapeutic advances in musculoskeletal disease, 2012, Aug.; 3 (6): 1759-7218. Soybeans can also help prevent cardiovascular disease and reduce the risk of certain cancers. Effect of soybean protein on novel cardiovascular disease risk factors: a randomized controlled trial. Rebholz CM, Reynolds K, Wofford MR. European journal of clinical nutrition, 2012, Nov.; 67 (1): 1476-5640…
Cons: Soybeans have come under heavy control in recent years as they are often genetically modified for higher yields. Some studies have singled out soy for its Effect on hormone levels. Many foods are already full of soy because of their highly cheap protein. It has led some to question whether adding even more soy to the diet (via protein supplements) is wise.
News flash: There is a protein in rice! While it is often thought of as just a carbohydrate, brown rice is becoming the definitive source of vegetarian protein powders.
Millet: Protein aside, brown rice protein is considered a good source of complex carbohydrates, vitamin B, and fiber. It is also hypoallergenic, meaning it is easily digestible and therefore almost entirely used by the body rather than released as waste.
Consequences: Unlike soybeans, rice protein is a plant-based option deficient in certain amino acids and, therefore, should not be the primary source of dietary protein.
Hemp protein is derived from the hemp plant seeds that have gained popularity in recent years. (And yes, we are talking strictly about hemp as a food source!)
Millet: Often referred to as a “superfood” due to its blend of essential fatty acids, hemp is vegan friendly and highly hypoallergenic.
Consequences: Since hemp is only harvested in massive amounts in selected countries due to its relationship with cannabis, it is often the most expensive protein powder available.
I thought you saw them all? Pea protein is derived from yellow split peas, making it a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans.
Millet: As with most plant-based proteins, pea protein is hypoallergenic. And thanks to the small number of additives and artificial ingredients, it appeals to those looking for the closest source of protein to whole food. Don’t you like peas? Don’t worry; the protein version doesn’t taste like a mushroom!
Consequences: Isolated pea protein is often considered complete as it may contain a spectrum of essential amino acids. Nevertheless, it remains deficient in some amino acids and should not be used as the primary source of dietary protein.
Are you checking if you want to gain weight? Weight gainer combines whey protein with a blend of high-carbohydrate ingredients, making it significantly more caloric than typical protein powders. It is often used by bodybuilders looking to gain weight or by serious athletes who have difficulty consuming enough calories to offset the large amount they burn during intense training.
Pros: Jam-packed with calories, weight gainers allow people to consume more calories than they could by eating alone. They also help keep the grocery bill in check by providing calories at a (slightly more) economical price.
Cons: It’s no wonder that weight gainers often contain a lot of additives, artificial sweeteners, and fillers so that they can pack the calories and proteins to a punch their users are looking for, and the huge caloric count in these foods does not necessarily translate into more muscle. These extra calories will be stored as fat if not needed for recovery after intense exercise.
To the Protein Aisle! -The Takeaway
When it comes to protein powders, there is something for everyone. Remember that when it comes to buying protein, as in life, “You get what you pay for.” Cheap proteins often use inexpensive protein mixtures that may not be very digestible by the body.
It is also worth noting that the amount of protein required by the body depends on a person’s level of activity, physical size, and gender. Testing for different sources and amounts of protein can help determine the mix that works best. And just because it’s easy to shake a post-workout shake doesn’t mean that protein powders should completely replace whole foods. Protein powders are supplements best used to supplement a healthy diet containing whole foods.
How to go vegan – Ultimate Guide in 2022