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What You Should Know Before Going Vegan

By Sara Butler

Many people switch (or consider switching) to vegan or vegetarian diets for health reasons. There is some evidence that shows they’re better for your heart and overall health, but they’re pretty restrictive, so it pays to educate yourself about them before starting. If you’re considering switching to a vegan diet, then there are a few things you need to know for your health.

You’ll Need B12

B12 is an important vitamin for your brain and it only occurs naturally in animal products. If you go vegan, you can get B12 from a supplement or from fortified foods. It helps to keep your blood cells and your nerve cells healthy, so deficiencies can lead to a variety of symptoms such as:

  • Weight loss (not the good kind)
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Nerve issues

It may be a good idea to get your blood tested once you make the switch to veganism so you know if your levels are acceptable.

You’ll Have to Branch Out for Protein

Your body needs protein -- it’s crucial. But now that animal products are out, you’ll need to find a good replacement. An adult should get about a gram of protein for each kilogram of body mass. The best sources of protein for vegans are:

  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Soy
  • Seitan
  • Beans

Don’t Replace Animal Products with Junk Food

Did you know Oreo cookies are vegan? Yup! But that doesn’t mean that you should eat a package each day. You also shouldn’t replace meat with pasta or white bread – or any other packaged food. Processed foods can be tempting and convenient, but they’re not a good substitute for animal products that were full of vitamins, minerals, and protein. You need to make sure you’re replacing animal products with quality, whole food sources.

Make the Switch Slowly

You don’t have to just stop eating all animal products at once. In fact, if you’re really serious about making the switch, then you should ease into it. Take your time to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet and cut down on processed foods that are highly refined. Gradual changes will help you assess how you’re feeling along the way and correct course if needed.

Going vegan is a big choice. Make sure you're informed before making the switch so you can do it as healthy as possible! 

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Round Rock, Tex.

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