What you eat (and what you don’t eat) can go a long way in helping you achieve your health goals. Focusing on your nutrition can help you lose weight, improve mental clarity, boost sports performance, and contribute to muscle gain.
When you are considering a new diet or lifestyle shift, it can be overwhelming at the start, and you might have more questions than answers: Where do you begin? What sources can you trust? Which diet is right for you?
That’s why Barry Hughes, DC and our team here at Premier Chiropractic in Pearland, Texas, are happy to offer nutritional coaching 一 and that includes vegan coaching as well. Below, we shed light on one type of diet that you might consider: veganism.
What is Veganism and Why is it so Popular?
Vegan diets avoid any animal products, including products made with or by animals. This includes:
- Red meat, including beef and lamb
- Dairy products
- Mayonnaise (if it’s made with eggs)
- Honey (made from bees)
- Fish and shellfish
Acceptable food includes fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, bread, rice, pasta, vegetable oils, and non-dairy alternatives e.g., almond milk.
Plant-based diets are growing in popularity because researchers have linked plant-based diets with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Other benefits of vegan diets include increased gut health and may support individuals with chronic conditions.
Explore the Vegan Do’s and Don’ts
There are many misconceptions about vegan diets, but the important thing to remember is that there’s a right way and a not-so-right way to embrace a vegan lifestyle. Explore these do’s and don’ts if you’re considering making the switch.
- Make sure you include plenty of calcium in your diet, which can be found in dark, leafy greens, calcium-set tofu, sesame seeds, fortified bread, and fortified oat or rice milk.
- Find plant-based sources of protein, such as nut butter, seitan, lentils, beans, hemp seeds, spelt, and nutritional yeast.
- Ensure you consume adequate iron (since that’s essential for healthy red blood cells) from foods such as dark leafy greens, fortified breakfast cereal, nuts, and pulse.
- Ensure that you’re getting adequate vitamin intake (including vitamin B12) and take any recommended supplements as directed.
- Swap out fish-based omega 3 fatty acids for flaxseed oil, walnuts, and avocados.
- Continue to practice other healthy habits like good sleep hygiene, regular exercise, and stress management.
- Substitute animal-based products with processed foods 一 even potato chips can be vegan!
- Be afraid to try new foods like spelt or seitan.
- Limit yourself to raw food 一 cooked vegetables are good, too!
- Avoid the spices 一 fresh herbs and dried spices can be a great way to add flavor to your meals.
- Stick with only one source of protein (try them all and rotate through your favorites!).
- Skip the supplements.
And the most important “don’t” when it comes to venturing into the vegan lifestyle: don’t be afraid to ask questions! Our nutritional coaching programs are personalized and designed to be reasonable, affordable, and realistic for your lifestyle. We’re more than happy to answer all of your questions, address your concerns about veganism, and help you make the changes you want to make.
If you’d like to schedule your nutritional counseling appointment or to learn more about vegan diets, call at our Pearland, Texas, office today at 281-223-1172. You can also schedule an appointment through our online portal.