Veganuary is a non-profit organisation that promotes a plant-based diet as a way to improve health, and to protect the environment and animals.
You can pledge to try a vegan diet for a month. It was initially all about doing this in January however you can do the pledge at any time of the year. See if it works for you.
There are a few things you should know before navigating a vegan diet though:
- Just because a product says it is vegan, doesn’t make it good for you. There are a LOT of very processed vegan products that use artificial colours, GMO soy and other baddies in it. If you are leaning towards a plant based diet, then leave the processed options behind and cook with real, wholefoods. Cook with organic soy products to avoid using Genetically modified products. Use wholefoods like tempeh, legumes, nuts and seeds instead of fake meats like “vegan hot dogs”.
- A plant-based diet will not meet your vitamin B12 needs. We’ve seen lots of vegetarian and vegan clients in clinic who are very sick with vitamin B12 deficiency. The symptoms can be wide spread and different for everyone, and range from depression, anxiety and mental health issues, to peripheral neuropathy, vision loss, heart palpitations, digestive issues that can be misdiagnosed as IBS, and muscle weakness.
It is very important to supplement your diet if you remove animal protein. Not all vitamin supplements are created equal though! The ones you can buy over the counter or at the supermarket are often B12 in the form of “cyanocobalamin”, which means the B12 is attached to a cyanide molecule. In most healthy people, it’s not a problem, however, if you have a slow detox pathway or sensitivity to heavy metals, it can create issues. Your best bet is either hydroxycobalamin or methylcobalamin.
Come and see us at CK Health and be prepared with the most appropriate supplement and dose for you.
- Omega 3 intakes may be low as well. This is usually from fish intake or fish oils, so you will need to find a vegan omega 3 to make sure you meet your needs for this important nutrient. Signs you aren’t getting enough omega 3’s are fatigue, dry skin, brittle nails, and problems with concentration, irritability and joint pain. We can recommend a great vegan omega 3 supplement to cover your needs!
- Changes in diet might cause a few digestive issues. Introducing more legumes can cause bloating and gas, and removing dairy might be constipating in some whose bodies were using lactose as a bowel stimulant.
Making slow changes into a plant-based diet can be easier on your body. Learning the best way to prepare plant-based foods so they aren’t as inflammatory will make a big difference to your digestion as well. Try soaking nuts to activate them, and soaking beans and legumes and cooking them with Kombu to lessen bowel issues.
- A poorly planned veg diet can have you feeling sick very fast. Anaemia is a big risk from iron and B12 deficiency. Mental health issues can come on rapidly for people that have methylation issues and need lots of B12 to support their neurotransmitters. Digestive issues can be problematic for some (have you ever smelt a vegan’s fart??!!) and skin issues may be exacerbated. In children these risks are exaggerated and can result in kids being misdiagnosed with ADHD or ASD, when they are simply nutrient deficient.
Raising a vegan family is something that you need to take seriously and do well so your children can thrive.
There’s many reasons why eating more plant based meals is beneficial for your health, it reduces the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and has been shown to be the best at long-term weight management.
A plant-based diet reduces your carbon footprint, so if climate change is concerning you, then here is an easy way for you to make a positive change for the environment. And let’s not forget animal welfare.
If you are considering it, then Veganuary might be the perfect opportunity to give it a go.
When you plan it well and eat a wide variety of colourful fruits, vegetables, plant-based proteins and support nutrient deficits with supplements, you should feel amazing.
We’d love to help support you if you decide to embark on a vegan journey for yourself and your family. Book in your free 20minute consultation today to see how we can help!