So, you're thinking of going vegan, but you're not quite sure what that means. No meat, chicken or fish? That's a no brainer. But did you know that to become a vegan, in the truest sense of the word, requires a major diet change? A true vegan diet is one that consists of only plant foods. Those on a vegan diet do not consume any animals or animal products including fish, poultry, pork, beef, lamb etc., milk, eggs, or even honey (it's made from bees).
Although it may seem like a major dietary overhaul, if you're smart about it, going vegan (or adopting that style of diet) can be easy. You can find everything you need for a healthy vegan diet at pretty much any grocery store or food shop. Essentially, you are looking to build your diet around plant-based foods including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and beans and nuts and seeds. Check out our top eight tips to go-vegan.
1. Use whole unprocessed foods as much as possible
Whole unprocessed foods including fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and legumes and nuts and seeds are the main components of a vegan diet plan. Make sure your fridge and pantry are brimming with these at all times and you will have more motivation to cook and eat vegan foods.
2. Make veggies (especially greens) the star of your meal
Vegetables—especially green ones—are chock-full of vitamins and nutrients and they're bursting with immune-boosting antioxidants. They should be eaten daily as part of a healthy vegan diet. Other veggies you should include are sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes and radishes.
3. Eat superfood vegan 'bowls' at breakfast, lunch and dinner
They are splashed across Instagram, whipped up at your local health food joint and sworn on by every food blogger around. And for good reason. ‘Superfood’ vegan bowls are an ultra-healthy and extremely-versatile meal-in-a-bowl. Made by combining your choice of base ingredient (think oats, quinoa or brown rice, depending on the time of day) with raw or roasted fruits or veggies, hearty legumes and omega-packed seeds, they are a nutrient and antioxidant-packed breakfast, lunch or dinner.
4. Stash vegan food and snacks at all your go-to spots
Depending on where you live, work and go to the gym, you may not have access to healthy and affordable vegan food options at every corner. So, we suggest placing food and snacks at each of your go-to spots. That way, if you get stuck in a bind and need some quick and healthy nourishment, you've got something within reach (preferably not a candy bar). This will also help keep you on that vegan track because you won't need to stray in order to feed a starving tummy. Our favourite vegan snacks to stash? Trail mix, mixed nuts and seeds, raw veggies and fruits and granola bars.
5. Add nuts and seeds to your diet
Nuts and seeds are a valuable source of omega 3 fatty acids which are essential in any diet. Walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, hempseeds and chia seeds are all great choices.
6. Skip the vegan convenient processed foods, or eat only occassionally
Vegan processed foods are abundant, but not necessarily healthy. Try to limit these to occasionally and instead rely heavily on whole, unprocessed foods to fulfill most of your dietary needs.
7. Be open to trying new foods
There are so many cuisines that can be showcased through a vegan diet, so switch it up!
8. Stock your pantry
Make sure your pantry stays stocked with ingredients that you can create healthy and affordable meals with. Great choices include beans and whole grains, leafy grains like kale, spinach, and collards, fresh fruits and veggies and lots of nuts and seeds.