When it comes to the vegan diet, I get this question a lot: how do you make sure your lifestyle is healthy and balanced. I went vegetarian a few years before going vegan, and the reasons behind my choices were rooted in the idea that we are in fact what we eat. For me, this lifestyle change had to do with living my values and showing compassion for the planet and all living beings. But I have to be honest: my body reacted to this change – in the best way possible. Before going vegan, I was like many people who thought it would be restricting or even extreme – 20 months into it and I can’t imagine living differently. I feel more energetic and balanced, and I am happy to say that I no longer have tummy aches.
That’s not to say that there aren’t unhealthy ways of going vegan. Having fries (and I have nothing against fries) in every meal won’t give you the nutrients you need. There are basic elements of a healthy lifestyle that have nothing to do with a plant-based diet. Keeping hydrated, sleeping 7-8 hours, doing exercise and etc. are good ways to make sure your body and mind are in good health. That said, what we eat really matters. Over the past 20 months as a vegan, I have learned a few things about what works for my body. You may also find them helpful.
The less processed the better. So much of the food we eat is processed with added sodium and sugar. Buy your food in bulk and make it from scratch. You’re never going to go wrong with a plate of rice and lentils followed with a salad. Or a delicious pot of chilli filled with all your favourite beans. This kind of cooking is balanced, delicious and sustainable. It’s probably the cheapest and quickest way of cooking too. You prepare one big pot to last you a few meals. Win-win if you ask me.
Fruits and Veg
A balanced vegan diet means lots of fruits and vegetables. That’s where you’ll get your nutrients and vitamins. You can also turn a bowl of salad into a nice lunch by adding some grilled tofu or beans to it. I find days where I eat fruits or dates I hardly crave sugary foods. Fruits are a healthy way of controlling cravings and packing in nutrients.
The most common question I get is about protein sources. Protein is important especially if you’re really active. As I have become more active, I have been more mindful of my protein intake.
Most doctors will recommend B12 for all vegetarians and vegans. I always make sure I take mine on a daily. In addition, now that I have become more intense about exercise, I have started to take supplements to help me maximize my training. But like everything else read the labels. A lot of the conventional sources include ingredients that are harmful to your health. Instead, try Organic and Vegan Protein sources that will give you the boost you need without all the yucky stuff.
Remember the most important tip to keeping a healthy lifestyle is by being consistent and balanced. Food is fuel for the body, so make sure you get all the nutrients and vitamins you need. Drink lots of water, get lots of sleep and move around, and I promise your body will thank you for it.
These are my tips for keeping a balanced vegan diet. On to you: comment below to share your tips.