I hate to disappoint you, but going vegan isn’t some magical cure-all to get healthy. On the contrary, most people who are uninformed about nutrition end up making a lot of mistakes by making the switch. These mistakes could even make you less healthy than before you gave up meat and animal products.
In this article, we cover the top 5 mistakes that people make when they switch to veganism that jeopardize their health.
What Is A Vegan?
A vegan diet is a diet that is absent of all meat and animal products. The most common items include meat, butter, milk, and eggs. In extreme cases, vegans avoid all animal products altogether such as leather.
To most people, it is known as the most strict form of vegetarianism.
There are a variety of reasons that people switch to a vegan diet. Some people do it for ethical and religious reasons. Others do it for health and environmental issues.
There are many benefits to switching to a vegan diet. Many people notice reduced inflammation which helps many things like improving digestion, joint pain, and hair and skin health. Read this article about how switching to a vegan diet could prevent hair loss.
Top Vegan Mistakes
Although there are a lot of benefits of reducing the consumption of meat, unfortunately, many people make mistakes that could cause severe health effects. The following 5 unhealthy mistakes are very common for people that switch to a vegan diet.
Not Enough Protein
Animal products are loaded with complete proteins. The main concern that most people have with switching to a meat-free diet is, where am I going to get my protein from?
Our bodies need complete proteins for various reasons. The most popular is to produce and maintain muscle. This is especially important when you are following a strength training routine. You can read the benefits of regularly exercising here.
A complete protein includes all 9 of the essential amino acids. While most meat and animal proteins have all amino acids, most vegetarian options do not.
This makes it more crucial to consume a wide range of plant-based protein sources. By eating a variety of vegetarian protein sources, you can be sure to get all nine amino acids.
Make sure to eat foods like lentils, beans, nuts, and leafy green vegetables. They will ensure that you get enough protein, so you don’t start destroying your muscle mass.
Eating Too Many Processed Carbs
The second mistake that people make when switching to a vegan diet is eating too many processed carbs.
Carbohydrates are the primary energy source for the body. So, when you cut out a large portion of your daily calories in the form of meat and animal products, they need to be replaced.
With so many fast and flashy options, it is easy to start consuming processed carbs. Processed carbs are refined grains that are stripped of most of their nutritional value. These include things like chips, french fries, white bread, and pastries.
As mentioned above, processed carbs don’t give you much nutritional value, but they are high in calories. This can lead to weight gain, obesity, and inflammation which can lead to serious health problems.
Make sure that you stick to whole grains and minimally processed carbohydrates as healthy options. Also, as mentioned above, be sure to include some plant-based protein sources.
Whether it is tofu or just plain old soybeans, many vegans ramp up the amount of soy in their diet as a protein source. Soy is one of those plants that seem healthy at first glance but actually are the opposite.
First of all, most soy is genetically modified. This means that it is resistant to pesticides and the crops are smothered with things like glyphosate. Glyphosate is very toxic and has recently been linked to more severe health issues like cancer.
Secondly, soybeans contain anti-nutrients. These anti-nutrients cause severe damage to your body. But blocking the absorption of nutrients into your body people have serious effects. These include disrupting your hormones, interfering with digestion, and even blood issues.
Your best bet is to avoid soy altogether.
Poor Quality Oils
French fries are vegan.
And they are usually fried in soy or canola oil, which is very unhealthy. Most of the low quality and inexpensive oils are processed with chemicals. These chemicals include hexane which is a derivative of crude oil.
These chemicals interrupt your normal bodily function and cause things like inflammation. Also, they tend to be high in Omega-6 fatty acids which you usually want to avoid, and low in Omega-3s which are healthy. For more information, check out the article naturemadecures.com/omega-3-benefits.
For better choices, stick with olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados.
Too Much Sugar
Many vegans also try to eat a lot of fruit and fruit-based products as a way to keep their calorie count up. Most of these fruit-based products have added sugar and very little fiber.
This causes insulin spikes in your blood sugar which can lead to diabetes and kidney disease.
Also, since added sugars are empty calories, it is easy to consume a lot by mistake. This could lead to weight gain. Especially with things like soft drinks. The effects of soda are well documented. For example, drinking a can of soda every day will result in additional 51,000 calories in the year. That could lead to a 14-pound weight gain.
Try to stay away from anything with added sugars like soft drinks, fruit juices, and dried fruits. Stick to whole fruit.
Making a choice to adopt a vegan lifestyle could be am excellent decision for your long-term health. But the reality is that it must be done correctly.
By substituting meat products with unhealthy chemicals and sugars, you could be accidentally killing yourself.
Take notice of the tips mentioned above and not only will you be helping the planet and animals, but you will also live a healthier lifestyle.