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Going vegan is more than just dropping animal-derived products!
Veganism has gained a lot of popularity lately, and a lot of people consider this to be the ultimate healthy diet. However, if not done right, veganism can either lead to a lot of vegan junk food eating or to a lot of missing nutrients in your daily intake. If you are feeling a bit confused about the do's and don'ts of veganism, here's what you should know.
Vegetables are the star of your meals
A lot of rookie vegans obsess over what they can't eat, but they don't pay that much attention to what they can actually have! Veggie-packed meals are a winning choice all-around: veggies are full of vitamins (like A and K) and minerals (like potassium), they keep your calories in check and, because they are high in fiber, they can help you feel more satisfied. Re-think your dishes with vegetables as much more than just a side!
Eat a variety of food
The one thing you need to have in mind while on a vegan diet is nutrients. For example, you'll get protein and fiber from beans; leafy greens are great sources of vitamins A, C and K. Choose produce from all colors of the rainbow to get all the benefits. Red tomatoes have heart-healthy lycopene, blue blueberries have brain-boosting anthocyanins and orange sweet potatoes have lots of vitamin A to help keep eyes healthy. The more, the merrier!
Whole grains are your friends
Swapping refined grains for whole grains is the healthiest of choices, not only for vegans! However, as vegans need to be aware of their nutrient intake, whole grains add iron and B vitamins to your diet. The extra fiber is also great for feeling full for longer!
Vegan products are not always healthy
As veganism has become really popular, there are a lot (seriously, a lot) of over-processed foods that are vegan, which often contain saturated-fat-laden palm oil and coconut oil. Stick to whole, nutritious foods that just happen to be vegan, such as carrots and hummus, nuts and dried fruit, whole-grain tortilla chips with guacamole. Indulging in vegan treats every so often is fine, but don't justify them as "healthy" simply because they're vegan.
Watch your vitamin B12 intake
Vitamin B12 is a vitamin that helps transform food into energy in our bodies and aids in brain function. It is found mainly in animal foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy foods. People following a vegan diet can get some B12 from fortified cereals or energy bars, but make sure you talk with your doctor about taking a supplement. The daily value for Vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms for most adults.