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Five things to think about before going vegan

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There are countless delicacies where veggies are the star (Shutterstock)

Are you considering giving up on meat? Well, it is obviously greener on the vegetables side and there are countless delicacies where veggies are the star.

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While going vegan widens your exploration margins, there are a few things you need to think about if you are considering veganism:

Protein power

You have to ensure that you have enough protein in your diet to meet your body’s demands and requirements. Good news is, you can readily find all the vitamins and minerals you need from your vegetarian diet.

To ensure that you get the full complements of proteins, you can consider eating varied sources. You can eat beans, seeds, pulses, nuts and even grains.

Calcium intake

Now that dairy will no longer be an option, you need to figure out how to add calcium to your diet. There are consequential health impacts of low calcium in diets including high risk of osteoporosis – which is higher in vegans.  

You can easily incorporate calcium in your diet by thinking about what you are eating. A good place to start would be to get fortified dairy alternative milks instead of the unprocessed nut milks that are not calcium fortified.

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Other common sources of calcium are the green leafy vegetables, such as kales, nuts and dried fruit.

Consider variety in your vegan diet (Shutterstock)

Other nutrients

There are nutritional concerns that are associated with having a vegan diet.

Being low in iodine is a common side effect of a vegan diet and it can cause thyroid problems. To curb this, you can consider using iodide salt to cook. Another way would be to throw in sea vegetables to your diet from time to time.

For zinc, you may need to include dried beans in your diet as they are rich in the mineral. For omega 3 fatty acids, you can consider adding some flax seeds, soybean oil or walnuts to your diet.

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Iron levels

If you have a history of anemia, you may have to consult your doctor before you start your vegan diet since consuming iron in a complete plant based diet can be a challenge.

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To ensure you have some iron in your diet, you can consider regularly having some fortified cereals, beans, lentils, leafy green vegetables, sesame seeds and dried fruits.

You can add in some vitamin C sources, such as fruit juice, as the vitamin C helps in the absorption of more iron.

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Variety

Knowing how to cook only a couple of plant based dishes can be quite restrictive.

In as much as you could be getting satisfied by taking your limited options, they will not be covering your nutritional needs.

A good tip would be to consider looking up some vegan recipes online or getting a vegan cookbook.

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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke





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