Some tips, on starting out on a plant-based diet

Over a year ago now, I decided to follow a plant-based lifestyle, after dabbling between a pescetarian and a vegetarian diet for 20 years, and it has been one of the most enlightening decisions I have ever made.

Becoming vegan, prompted me to learn as much as I could from a nutritional point, giving me peace of mind that I am getting proper nourishment while on this delightful journey. Additionally, allowing me to discover new and exotic foods and flavors I had never experienced before. It has truly been an exciting time.

Sauteed kale in turmeric and olive oil, with sweet potato and garlic

Sautéed kale in turmeric and olive oil, with sweet potato and garlic

However, speaking from experience, I know that for some it is not so easy to make the switch to becoming a “healthy” vegan. When a person decides to follow a plant-based diet there is usually a thorough thought process behind that, whether it is because of health implications, wanting to reduce toxins in the diet, or like me an ethical choice. But, some just do not know how to make the change properly and as a result may return to eating animals, or become unhealthy, sluggish and overweight. I know when I first became vegetarian 20 years ago I relied heavily on processed carbohydrates like pasta, rice, pastries and breads.

Here are some hints and tips on sports nutrition and how to be a happy and healthy vegan, without feeling the need to consume processed and weight causing carbohydrates.

Make sure you eat enough at one setting, with an ample amount of plant-based protein, thankfully there are so many options, whether you cook at home or eat out;

  • Beans, nuts and seeds, tofu, brown rice, quinoa, farro, nutritional yeast, seitan and tempeh
  • Plant based milks; hemp, rice, soy, almond and coconut
  • Pre-made products which can be bought at a supermarket including veggie burgers, veggie slices, cheeses and veggie mince
  • Protein powders, spirulina and algae with you can add to smoothies and juices
  • High protein vegetables like, artichoke, brocoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, chickpeas, spinach, potatoes, and asparagus.
Pad thai, veggie burger and nachos (all vegan)

Pad thai, veggie burger and nachos (all vegan)

Start compiling as many vegan cookbooks as you can as inspiration, a few of my favorites are,

  • The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out, by Angela Liddon
  • Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, by Isa Moskowitz
  • The Vegan Cookbook: Feed your Soul, Taste the Love: 100 of the Best Vegan Recipes, by Adele McConnell

Be prepared, and carry snacks in your bag with you in the case you get hungry on-the-go and there is nothing suitable for you to eat. This has happened to me only a handful of times, but during those times I sure was hungry and kicking myself that I did not have something with me! Some ideas are;

  • Trail mix, like this recipe I found with pineapple HERE
  • My coconut chocolate energy balls, recipe HERE
  • Fresh fruit, like a banana
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Kale salad with beans, quinoa, corn and avocado

To boost energy and ‘fill in’ any gaps in nutrition, you can additionally take a daily vitamin and mineral supplement. They are available with built-in probiotic too, which can help with digestive issues and to control stomach bacteria. Most pharmacies, and even supermarkets, carry these supplements: Vegans are recommended to read the ingredients and the information on the box before deciding which is best for their needs. If there are other health issues, it is best to consult a doctor before taking any regular supplement, even if it is over-the-counter.

Following a plant-based diet is better for the animals, better for your health and better for OUR planet, and with the right preparation and understanding anybody can be on their way to a vegan way of life. Just like me!

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

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