Transitioning to my current diet was not something that happened overnight. It took weeks of cutting certain foods out and required a mind switch in terms of what to buy and what to cook.
So let’s run through some of the concerns most people (myself included) have around cutting out meat/animal products:
Getting enough protein in my diet was one of my first concerns with eating a predominantly plant-based diet. Like everyone else, I assumed we needed animal products like meat, milk, and cheese in order to get all of our essential nutrients. If this is where you’re also hesitating in terms of changing your diet, fear not! I am by no means a nutritionist, dietician or have any form of medical training so this is all based on research I’ve done myself/my own personal experience over the last year. This is all information that is easily accessible to anyone who wants to read up on it.
I’ve learned that there is protein in most everything we eat (plants included). If you’re eating a balanced diet with lots of different fruits, vegetables, and legumes then there’s nothing to worry about. As someone who will eat almost anything, this hasn’t been a problem for me. When I stop and think about it, there are SO many options when it comes to plant-based protein: Lentils, red/white kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans (heck, any kind of bean), avocados, broccoli, spinach, quinoa, mushrooms, nuts, and tofu just to name a few. Start looking at nutritional labels more closely and you’ll be quite surprised at the protein hidden in your cupboards and fridges.
Another concern of mine was that I wanted to make sure I would still feel full after a meal. I didn’t want to leave the table still hungry. As someone who has a large appetite (both before and after changing diets), I can honestly tell you that it IS possible to eat plants and feel fully satisfied! With the right recipe, which does not have to be complicated or involve obscure ingredients, you can eat a meal without animal products and get that full, “hit the spot” feeling. Ensuring that each meal has some plant-based protein included (which is now obviously easy to do), I’ve never made a dish that left me craving more food (minus a few failed recipes, because no one is perfect). Variety is definitely key.
Energy Level/Weight Loss
A lot of people who have transitioned to a vegan diet have claimed to have increased energy levels and claimed to have lost weight. Personally, I wouldn’t say that my energy levels have increased by much, but it definitely hasn’t decreased either. I’m not the most active person, but I do walk to/from work, enjoy weekend hikes, and the occasional run. After switching my diet, I’m still very much able to do all of these things no problem and am more than capable of making it throughout the day as I would have before. Unintentionally, I did lose some weight. Not enough that anyone would notice or to raise health concerns over, but my boyfriend and I did notice our pants fitting slightly looser than normal after a couple of months of cutting out meat.
I was weary at the thought of taking multiple vitamins or supplements to ensure I was getting everything my body needed, without animal products (I’ve got a horrible memory). Thankfully, all I currently take on a regular basis is a B12 supplement, which is normally found in various red meats. I won’t lie, there are some days I forget to take it – Although I’ve never gone long enough for it to actually feel like it’s had any negative effect on me. Other than that, no further supplements needed which keeps things easy-peasy.
Overall, I feel great.
I’m getting all of the nutrients and health benefits from mainly eating plants.
If there’s a healthy, environmental-friendly, cruelty free (and of course delicious) way to enjoy food, why not give it a try?
Stay tuned, as I’d like to share with you some of my fave vegan snacks that you can easily find in the grocery store – Perfect for lazy days or when you’ve got those food cravings!