3 Things You Should Know Before Going Vegan
So I turned vegan around 7 months ago and before that I was vegetarian for two years. My transition was a bit bumpy but manageable, to say the least. But I was one of those people who just jumped the gun. I didn’t do any research before I began this transition. Instead, I was doing the research along the way. Which isn’t a bad thing but I could have prevented a few things, health-wise. If you have a goal in life and it’s to quit consuming/using animal products, do it! But I wish I would have known these things before turning vegan overall. Such as what vitamins I should be taking and how carbs aren’t an alternative for protein. So I am here to share with you all the mistakes I made and that you can prevent from doing.
1. Motivation and Goal
If you are deciding to become vegan, ask yourself why? This is going to be a very important question to answer. It’s going to be the engine to your motivation. There are days that I want to quit or just go back to being vegetarian but my motivation to save the animals and help the environment it what keeps me going. Like any goal in life, you need something to look forward to. Whether it’s for health reasons or just a lifestyle change.
Now, as I turned vegan I noticed an extreme weight increase. Shocking and strange, I know. Sure the first month I lost 10 pounds but I quickly gained it all back, and more. When people think of turning vegan they think of an easy rapid weight loss and maintaining it. But it’s not all rainbows and roses let me tell you. There are a lot of vegan junk foods and carbs! So instead of diving into the internet and searching “why am I gaining weight as a vegan? ” I decided to speak with a professional vegan nutritionist. As she asked me what I ate and what my daily activities were, she kept nodding her head in confusion as she looked a bit concern about my decisions.
Before she began scolding me, we went over my blood work. The vitamins that I was taking such as B12 were at a moderate level. This was because I did my research and found out that most vegans and vegetarians reach for this particular vitamin. But what I was unaware of was vitamin D2 and D3. My levels were extremely low and it was concerning. Vitamin D is involved in many things such as healthy bones and teeth in addition to supporting the brain and nervous system. I also mentioned that aside from my unhealthy eating habits, my anxiety was flaring up and I felt extremely upset at times. She mentioned that low levels of vitamin D can cause us to feel upset and down. Which it completely makes sense now.
It is important as a newly vegan to incorporate vitamins into your diet. Some of the ones I am taking now are Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, and Vitamin E. Why you may ask? Well, there are vitamins that our body are used to consuming and that we need. The foods that we are having as vegans might not be giving us the vitamins we need. Many might think otherwise, but if you are truly concerned about what vitamins you are deficient, make sure to talk to a doctor or a nutritionist.
3. Vegan Protein and Carb Intake
But, as the appointment went on she also pointed out how carbohydrates better known as carbs, are not a source of protein or a replacement. I looked at her in confusion and replied: “well it keeps me full so it works well for me“. Honestly, I should have just kept quiet and asked her what was I doing wrong instead of sounding like an ignorant. But I was there sitting in that crowded office space for a reason. I didn’t know what I was doing with my new lifestyle.
It had gotten out of control, I was getting out of control. No, my carb intake was getting out of control actually. See the problem with replacing protein with carbs is that although you are feeling full at the moment it won’t keep you full for a long time like protein and fiber would. On top off that carbs don’t really hold any nutritional value (shout out to Oscar who implanted that fact in my brain).
I also find it that a lot of vegan bloggers and vegan influencers don’t talk about this issue. Which is important to know since we were so used to getting our protein from animals. It was easier to not think about protein consumption before, I should say. My current favorite source of protein is tempeh, tofu, and some vegan protein patties. When choosing vegetables to eat, make sure to choose those high in protein such as broccoli, legumes, and asparagus; to name a few. But there are some amazing blogs I follow that have delicious recipes if you don’t really know how to cook with tofu or tempeh. Some of my favorite vegan food bloggers are Dora’s Table, The Simple Veganista, and From My Bowl.
So to avoid over-eating my meals with carbs, my vegan nutritionist encouraged me to keep track of my protein intake and carbs by setting a daily goal. I like to use MyFitnessPal or Lifesum to track my protein and carb intake. It’s a hassle to input everything but you’ll get the hang of it and eventually, you won’t be needing the app anymore. In my case, it’s been three months that I have changed the way I eat and it’s helped me lose weight, increase my vitamin D levels, and protein intake.
I just honestly wanted to create this blog post for those that want to become a vegan to better their health and life choices. Also for those that are vegan and feel lost or confused about why they might be gaining weight. I hope this was helpful in some way. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave me a comment, send me an email through my contact form, or ask me on Instagram at @lupiitabonita.
Until next time,