I have never gone full vegan. Although I did adopt a plant based diet for two months while practicing yoga in India. I decided to change back to animal products when I moved to Thailand. In Thailand there is practically meat in every meal, which makes it difficult to eat a plant based diet!)
Here are ten diet tips to abide by if you are planning on following or currently eating a vegan diet
Keep your thyroid healthy
Iodine helps the thyroid gland produce hormones. A lack of iodine means the throid must work harder to function. This may result in a swollen neck due to an enlarged thyroid gland.
Supplement with a vegan form of vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 is actually a steroid hormone primarily got from the suns rays. Vitamin D3 is very important for reducing inflammatory bowel disease, hypertension, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Supplement with vitamin B12 10 mcgs/day.
One of the primary sign of vitamin B12 deficiency is fatigue. The best sources of vitamin B12 come from animal sources (Beef, chicken, eggs, raw milk).
Increase iron absorption
Combine iron rich veggies (dark greens) with good sources of vitamin C (peppers, berries, citrus fruits). This is especially important for pre menopausal woman.
Supplement with vegan EPA and DHA and avoid vegetable oils high in Omega 6.
Avoid soybean oil, cottonseed oils, corn oil, sunflower oil. Switch these oils for coconut oil, oilive oil, macademia oil. EPA and DHA are primarily found in fish oil. They improve brain and eye function, cardiovascular health, joint health and weight management.
Properly prepare nuts, grains and legumes.
Make sure and soak before eating ideally overnight. They all contain phytates and enzyme inhibitors, which can cause digestive disorders and block the absorption of minerals like calcium and iron.
Reduce intake of processed vegan foods and imitation meats.
These can contain all sorts of nasty preservatives and additives. They also tend to be made from soy. You can check out the problems with soy here.
Supplement with vitamin K2 or add natto* to your diet.
Vitamin K2 helps with bone, cardiovascular, skin, brain, and prostate health. The primary sources of K2 come from Hard cheese, Soft cheese, Egg yolk, Butter, Chicken liver, Salami, Chicken breast, Ground beef.
*Natto is a type of Japanese food made from fermented soybeans.
Enhance beta-carotene absorption and conversion.
To boost absorption eat beta-carotene rich sources (leafy greens, orange fruits and vegetables) with a source of fat (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado) and salad. This is important as it aids vitamin A conversion which has many benefits like healthy bone tissue, vision and proper hormone function
Go gluten free
If you are a vegan you should be eating mostly vegetable sources not grain. If you do choose grains try and avoid wheat which tends to be the hardest on your digestive system especially if you have symptoms of “gluten sensitivity” – bloating, headaches, migraines, joint pain.
Another thing to be conscious of is the long term effects of veganism. It is worth the thought that not one indigenous group survived on a 100% plant based diet.
Vegan diets can be a great way to detox the system but the jury is still out on the long-term benefits.