When it comes to following a vegan or plant-based diet, like all other diets and health plans, it’s not a one size fits all. Choosing to adopt this lifestyle, in the interest of improved health and reduced environmental impact is the first step, but adopting it personalized to you is the part that really matters. Without taking into account specific considerations as they relate to your personal needs, likes, and body responses, the lifestyle will prove difficult to maintain and fail to give you the results and outcome you desire. Here’s what to consider in crafting a plant-based lifestyle that will work for you.
Many people struggle in the early stages of a vegan diet with balancing energy needs with caloric intake, with feelings of fullness and satiety. Because many plant-based foods are high in fibre, they may fill you up and make you full, but be lower in overall caloric content and hence leave you feeling fatigued or low in energy later in the day. Figuring out what works for your body and how much food you need to eat will take some time. For the first few weeks, keep a journal of what you eat to allow you to modify it as necessary and to monitor it for adequate caloric and nutrient intake. This is especially relevant if you are entering the diet as an athlete and need adequate fuel to facilitate performance.
While the basis of the digestive system and how it works is the same for everyone, we each have our own individual nuances when it comes to breaking down food. Some people digest quickly, and food moves through the system fast. Others have a stomach that empties slowly and the food will remain in the digestive process and organs for longer. This is relevant when it comes to adopting a vegan diet, as many of the items consumed are high in fibre. For those who have a slower digestive system, this can pose a problem if the body is forced to digest too much. When you are switching to new foods, like higher fibre legumes and whole grains, start with a smaller portion to avoid any unwanted digestive distress.
One of the most important things to do during the set-up stages of your new plant lifestyle is to get really comfortable with your own personal preferences and philosophies. Don’t get trapped in a label or certain way of eating just because it is trending, and don’t fall into avoiding a certain food or eating excess of a certain food because you read online that someone else did. The basis of personalizing your lifestyle is that you find out what works for you, eat the foods that make you feel good and leave you energized, and you don’t have to worry about the ones that don’t!
If you are new to eating a vegan or plant-based diet, it may take some time to get used to it and to feel like you know what you are doing. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to us for some assistance in meal prep, or to order some food to get you inspired!