10 Tips for Transitioning to a Vegan Diet
I found a great video featuring Yoga Instructor, Nutritionist and Vegan Teshia Maher. Here she goes over her 10 tips for an easy and healthy transition to a Vegan Diet.
Here are my thoughts on the 10 tips, which I think are excellent. My only advice that I would add to the list would be on ways to deal with Non-Vegans who might criticize your Vegan journey. From my experience, there are many Non-Vegans, and so they might not intentionally do it but it happens. So, it’s important to find support groups and find ways to keep your Vegan journey alive and well.
And now to present Teshia Maher’s 10 tips, with my own notes and experiences regarding each of them.
- Transition Slowly – At the beginning of this year I jumped back into a Vegan Diet cold turkey. But that is because I have been Vegan and Raw Vegan for many years in the past. I don’t know why I went back to an Omnivore Diet, but I REALLY glad I came back to being Vegan again. I feel the added energy levels and this is extremely important for me as I approach 60! If you don’t have the added energy levels at an older age, the quality of your Life suffers greatly. Especially when you are getting older, a clean healthy diet is essential and you simply can’t get away with eating junk food and fast food like when you were younger. At an older age, diet becomes a Life saving endeavor and also affects the quality of your Life.
- Increase Fiber Slowly, While Increasing Water – I have learned the hard way because I’ve experienced bloating and lots of gas when jumping into a Vegan Diet immediately. This is wise advice to transition slowly with the high fiber fruits and vegetables. Broccoli can cause a LOT of gas if you suddenly eat a lot of it. But this is also wise advice to increase water intake as you increase fiber. It makes perfect sense.
- Go Easy on Processed Foods – This is something I need to apply in my own Vegan journey. As I do eat my share of processed Vegan foods, like Vegan bologna, turkey, cheeses, burgers, sausages and chicken nuggets. And although it will help because most of us were raised on hotdogs and burgers and pepperoni pizza, the hurdle to become a Vegan is ALSO a psychological one. You might believe 100% that you can thrive on a 100% Vegan Diet, but the psychological conditioning and brain-washing about the emphasis of meat is still there and must be overcome. Having said that, I try to limit the Vegan processed foods to a few times a week. After all, processed food is processed food. And the move should be to a whole foods based diet. Develop a base diet of mostly fruits and vegetables.
- Go Easy on High Calorie Raw Vegan Fats – This is something I’m working on. As I still crave hight fat Vegan dressings and Veganaise. And I love Avocados! I think the solution for me is to have more smoothies and green smoothies to bring up the carb content and lower the need for high fat Vegan carbs.
- Avoid Too Much Fruit if You Have a Blood Sugar Sensitivity – I’m glad she mentioned this tip, as I think I still need to transition slowly when it comes to eating more fruits. I have a tendency to have a high triglyceride level in my blood. But, this might be due to the grains that I still tend to eat along with the higher fruit content in my diet. I’m still addressing this issue, as I tend to have a higher Blood Sugar Sensitivity to fruits than most people.
- Individualize Your Diet and Keep a Food Journal – I started using Cron-o-meter again and I suggest everyone try this out for tracking your food intake AND your exercise calories burned. I think this is the best way to keep a food journal and track your progress. There is a Cron-o-meter App as well as the Website, so you can always track your food intake wherever you go. What I like is that it really tracks your required intake of vitamins and minerals, along with protein, fats and carbohydrates. But, the problem would be when you dine out, which obviously will be harder to track. Of course, it’s easiest to track whole foods.
- Avoid and Reduce Isolated Sugars – This is something I’ve had success with, as I no longer use Agave Nectar, Honey and Molasses in my diet. If I have sugar it’s organic raw sugar and I only have 1 teaspoon a day with my morning decaf coffee. Probably my only vice at the moment.
- Eat More Superfoods – There was this very negative article online that basically said that superfoods don’t exist, and that it’s a scam. How farther from the truth can that be? Obviously, there are foods that are nutrient-rich. And for whatever reason, they have the most nutrients compared to other foods. Broccoli, for one, is nutrient-rich and is considered a Superfood. Also, there are not just the standard vitamins and minerals found in these foods. Research is finding that there are micro-nutrients and phytonutrients (mostly in plant foods) that make superfoods stand out from the rest.
- Take a Vitamin B12 Supplement – The one nutrient that Vegans should probably take, especially if they are a longtime Vegan. But, have your doctor do a blood analysis to find out if you are deficient in B12. That is the best way to know for sure. But chances are, you will be deficient in Vitamin D before you are deficient in B12, and we only need very minute quantities of B12 as the body has stored reserves of B12 since you were a child.
- Identify Your Favorite Foods and Find a Healthy Vegan Substitute – Sandwiches are my favorite foods, so it’s easy for me to make a Vegan Sandwich and feel satisfied. And there are Vegan deli “meats” and “cheeses” that can be used in your Vegan Sandwiches. Once again, use them in moderation, as these are processed foods even though they are Vegan.
My additional tips to help you stay Vegan
- 11. Watch this video about Ellsworth Wareham. This retired heart surgeon is Vegan, is 100 years old and looking healthy & thriving. Skeptics of the Vegan Diet will say, “Where are the Vegans who are living a long life?”. Well here is your proof! Loma Linda is the only established Blue Zone in the United States, where many are Vegan Seventh Day Adventists and centenarians. Ellsworth Wareham retired around age 96 and is still going strong on a plant-based diet.
- 12. Watch Earthlings documentary. This video is shocking, but people need to see why we need to be more Vegan to become more compassionate toward our fellow “earthlings” and also to be kinder to our planet.