As a personal trainer whose clients consist of individuals with all sorts of goals as well as diet limitations it is important for me to know what its like when I give them options on what healthy eating looks like. Because I do get clients who are not only vegetarians, but also vegans in the month of June I was on a quest to go vegan for 30 days to find out what it’s like. With undergraduate studies in nutrition and as a certified NASM fitness and nutrition specialist I’m very aware of what a healthy vegan diet looks like. I’ve followed very strict extremely healthy meal plans for over 6 months before where I had no sugar, bread, corn, white rice, white potatoes or sweets of any kind, so going vegan was nothing that I thought would be challenging. Individuals go vegan for several reasons such as their love for animals, food allergies, health reasons and so much more. Going vegan for 30 days helped me realize that just like vegetarians and people who eat only organic, just because your vegan doesn’t mean you are eating healthy.
Top 7 Foods I ate as a Vegan
- Quinoa (carbohydrate)
- Green leafy vegetable (vegetable)
- legumes and Beans (protein and carbohydrates)
- Unsweetened organic vanilla almond milk
- Low glycemic index fruits (fruits that don’t cause spikes in your blood sugar levels)
- Hummus (protein and carbohydrate)
- Nuts and Seeds (healthy fats)
It’s important to learn and listen to your body if you decide to change your diet by going vegan or vegetarian. If you feel tired all the time or begin to gain unhealthy fat weight you are doing something wrong and its a possibility that your not consuming all the nutrients that your body needs. One of the major deficiencies that I see in clients that are going vegan is iron and it is because your body doesn’t absorb plant iron the same way that it does animal iron. It is important to go vegan the right way, so that you are not doing your body more harm than good. Just because you see that several celebrities are turning to vegan lifestyles it does not mean that it is the best thing for your body type and lifestyle.
Vegan Foods to Avoid:
- French Fries or anything fried
- Candies, Cookies, Chips, Donuts, Soda
- Processed foods including veggie burgers and bean burgers that are filled with other additives that are far worst than eating meat.
9 Ways to go Vegan the Correct Way
- Consume a variety of fruits and vegetables at least 9 servings a day to ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.
- Talk to your doctor or see a registered dietitian about how to get all the nutrients you need from a vegan diet.
- Eat as much whole/ raw vegan foods as possible such as fruits, nuts, and vegetables
- Get creative by locating recipes on pinterest, google, and even instagram.
- PPE, plan, prepare, and execute to ensure that you have healthy food available at all times to prevent from eating unhealthy vegan foods.
- Limit simple carbohydrates such as white bread, white potatoes, and sugar unless you are extremely active and need to get your blood sugar back up fast.
- Get blood work done to check you cholesterol levels and vitamin levels to make sure that you are consuming the right types of food.
- Do your own research and don’t take others word for it, a complete diet change is serious and you need to be thoroughly informed about what your doing to your body.
- Drink plenty of water and diminish fruit juices as much as possible it’s always better to get your nutrients from the actual fruit or vegetable to minimize the amount of sugar you are consuming.
Vegan is not for everyone just like eating meat is not for everyone. It’s okay to try it, but be sure to listen to your body. I know plenty of vegans that are extremely healthy as well as plenty of people that eat animal products that are extremely healthy. We are all different and our bodies react different to foods as well. Find out what works for you, just please make sure you are doing it the healthy way.
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