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Maintaining Vegan Diet

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We all know that no specific kind of diet is complete all by itself with no drawbacks. That is why experts have often suggested a healthy diet and regular workout as a healthy way to live. A diet that excludes all animal products also has some nutritional drawbacks. Calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12 and folate have been cited as key nutrients that a vegan diet could lack in. These nutrients are abundantly present in meat and dairy. A continued vegan diet could lead to inadequate consumption of these vital nutrients and may result in problems like loss of bone and muscle mass.

The ideal diet for every individual is dependent on several factors. Hence, one size can never fit all. Factors such as overall health, gender, age, fitness levels and personal dietary preferences plays an important role in charting out the right diet plan for every individual. A continued vegan diet could lead to inadequate consumption of vital nutrients and may result in problems like loss of bone and muscle mass.

An important factor for people to not be able to sustain a vegan diet is challenging social situations. There is a long list of reasons why people fail on a vegan diet and return to the world of cheese sandwiches and fish fillets. That aside, barring any major illnesses such as diabetes, or kidney issues, a vegan diet can certainly be beneficial for weight loss and health. However, to ensure you’re doing it in the best way possible for your optimal health, you should definitely seek professional guidance both at the outset and along the way. This is advisable also because some people experience depression or foggy thinking or fatigue without animal foods, which makes them quit being vegan. This sudden switch can cause health problems that take some time to go. Some people develop overt deficiencies or vague symptoms of poor health after turning vegan.

If you find yourself wavering in your commitment to veganism, or feeling generally unwell, maybe one or more of the tips that I am going to discuss next will help.

Depression-fighting supplements are the first thing that you should think of, I will tell you why. A vegan diet is too low in vitamin D, DHA, vitamin B12 and iodine. This kind of diet is capable of making existing depression worse, along with possibly causing you to feel depressed even if you weren’t before. Lower levels of some of these nutrients may affect concentration and produce vague aches, fatigue and pains. The only way to get vitamin B12 and DHA is through supplements or fortified foods. If you don’t get adequate sun exposure to make vitamin D and are not using iodized salt, consider supplements of these nutrients, too.

Legumes

Although, with good planning it is not too difficult to meet protein needs from a vegan diet with minimal effort, most vegans tend to forget including protein-rich foods and could fall short, especially if they are restricting calorie intake. It is advisable to consume at least 3 servings of legumes like beans, peanuts, and soyfoods per day to meet protein needs. A suboptimal level of protein intake which is not enough to produce overt deficiency symptoms but is enough to feel less than great is quite common and possible in vegans. Older people need a little more amount of protein and may feel better with more than this.

In my next post, I am going to discuss some more ideas for staying happy and healthy on a vegan diet. I am going to condense them into a sort of checklist for those who are struggling to stay vegan. I may not be able to cover everything in one post, but I will try to address the most common barriers related to nutrition, practical issues and social support. If you can think of something that could be added to that list, do let me know. Keep checking back for more.

Disclaimer: The medical and/or nutritional information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this website.