Wednesday, August 1, 2012

5 Tips for a Healthy Vegan Diet

I recently read an article with a headline that screamed, "The scary truth about vegan diets". Are you scared yet? You shouldn't be! The article discussed some people who had actually seen some declines in their health including an unusually high number number of cavities (caused by overconsumption of carbs), weight gain and even a high cholesterol. 

The article clearly stated that a balanced, well-planned vegan diet can be healthy. I'm not sure what the people they interviewed we're eating exactly, but there is definitely a way for even vegans to be severely unhealthy. I like to refer to my own diet as a whole foods, plant-based diet.

You can sit on the couch, eat a bag of chips and call yourself a vegan. There's tons of vegan "junk food" that I have seen since making my switch. These junk foods are usually processed and overindulging on them can definitely have a negative effect on your health.

Here's some ways to ensure good health!

1. Find a great vegan doctor. I felt confident in my diet until everyone thought it was "too dangerous" or bad for my health. That's when I turned to Dr. Linda Carney to monitor my health and progress while I made my switch. She is monitoring all of my bloodwork numbers, answers all of my questions and addresses any concerns I may have.

2. Take a multi-vitamin and a B12 supplement. I won't go into details (because that's another post!), but it's important to ensure you are meeting your daily nutrients. has some great information on multi-vitamins for vegans. Also, Vegetarian Times has an article about choosing the right multi-vitamin. *For this topic, please be sure to discuss this with your doctor to see what they recommend!

3. Study up. It's not a requirement that you need to read every single book out there on veganism, but find a few that speak to you and learn all that you can. You'll find it easier to understand all of the benefits and the best way to plan balanced meals. Check out my Pinterest boards for vegan documentaries and books.

4. Focus on plant-based meals and not on junk food. If you find yourself reaching for a quick fix for dinner (aka vegan burger patties every night), try out cooking a casserole-style dish on Sunday afternoon that you can eat over a few days. If you get bored easily, plan smaller, quick sides that will pair well with the entree. Looking for ideas? My Plant-Strong Pinterest board has 340+ ideas! 

5. Keep fresh fruits and vegetables on hand at all times. Craving ice cream? Pass on the vegan versions you can find in stores and opt for homemade ice creams made with fruit! We generally have fresh fruit that we've cut so it's a quick snack instead of reaching for a bag of vegan chips or other junk foods.

Kelsey is a passionate vegan living in Houston, Texas, spreading the word about the benefits of eating a healthy, plant-based diet. She's also a minimalist enthusiast, a self-proclaimed financial guru of her household, and founder of The Little Red Journal.

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