Did someone tell you it was better for the planet to be vegan? Did you decide on the amazing health benefits with a clean vegan diet? Or did you want to save the animals? Whatever you do, don’t go one step further until you’ve read these amazing tips on how to make the healthiest transition.
1. Veganism is more than just a diet
Can you walk the walk? Veganism isn’t just about a plant-based diet, but is a prescribed way of living based on traditional religious beliefs. Of course, you don’t need to change your religion, but the idea is to do as little harm to the natural world with your consumption of everything you need. This includes:
- Consumable goods (like electronics, home appliances and furniture/furnishings)
…basically anything that you use outside of yourself, whether they are essential or non essential to your survival.
2. Some vegan alternatives are very bad for your health.
Nutritional yeast* is a supplement often used to flavour vegan food. It has a range of health benefits, being rich in fibre, protein, vitamin B3 and iron but can easily lead to a whole host of health problems. It’s actually very easy to overdose on, and while the small amount you might need to flavour a soup is minimal, the amount used to flavour a vegan cheese sauce could prove extremely dangerous to your health. While rare, the niacin (B3) can lead to liver failure in high doses and, less risky, the yeast itself can be problematic for many with IBD or Chrons.1
3. Vegans and vegetarians can suffer from iron deficiency, which can lead to conditions like anaemia and unpleasant symptoms like dizziness and fatigue.
Depending on whether you’re menstruating or not, you need either around 8.7mg or 14.8mg of iron every day.2 Without the intake of heme iron (that’s iron from meat) it can be difficult to source iron well. That’s why it is so important, as a vegan to take charge of your nutrition and select foods that give you the maximum benefit.
A variety of pulses and legumes, leafy green vegetables and fresh fruit will ensure that you consume enough iron AND the vitamin C required to absorb it.
Need a boost? Cooking in an iron pan or skillet can help, or you can add a Lucky Iron Fish* to your dish, which reportedly releases 6-8mg of iron when boiled in water for ten minutes. I don’t cook without it.
4. It is better to be an imperfect vegan than risk your life
There are so many people who speak out about leaving the vegan diet behind. The truth is, not all people are able to eat a totally plant-based diet. It makes many people very unwell. Either they don’t have access to the information or ingredients to have proper nutrition, or their own body requires something else.
In addition to this, most modern medicines were tested on animals, and even the COVID vaccine uses animal and human cultures to grow. Many countries now use tallow in their currency for notes as it survives the washing machine.
But, living as an imperfect vegan is recognising what is necessary to your good health and choosing the best available options for the environment that you live in. Take the time to investigate and question, is it better for the whole planet for me to consume the local produce, or to ship in products via air from somewhere else on the planet? Huge areas of the South American rainforest have been cleared to make room for soy farming. Deforestation, one of the arguments for going vegan, as livestock take up so much space, is just as much a problem for those who consume unsustainably farmed soy.3
There are plenty of celebrities who also became vegan for a time and then later gave it up for health reasons, or like Natalie Portman who has allegedly returned to a plant-based diet.4
It’s about the maximum amount of overall good, not about following a regime to your death and the death of sustainable ethical local agriculture.
With these tips on how to make the successful transition to a happy and healthy vegan lifestyle, you are bound to make a positive impact on not just your own life, but the lives of everyone you meet.