A balanced vegan or vegetarian diet can provide you many health benefits. These diets are found to aid weight loss, reduce blood sugar levels, lower the risk of many chronic health conditions, etc. However, it can be challenging for you to maintain a well-rounded vegan or vegetarian diet that will provide you all the nutrients that your body requires.
People tend to make many mistakes when they follow vegetarian or vegan diets. This can lead to different problems including diseases, nutrients deficiencies, etc. Therefore, it is important for you to be aware of them so that you won’t make the same. The following are some of the common mistakes made by vegans and vegetarians.
Assuming That All Vegan And Vegetarian Foods Are Healthy
People have the tendency to assume that a product is healthy when it labeled as vegan or vegetarian. However, just because you are eating only plant-based foods, it cannot be assumed that they will be healthy. There are a large number of processed plant-based foods and they are no healthier than many other non-vegetarian processed foods. Many processed vegetarian foods will have high amounts of calories and lack nutrients. Therefore, do not assume that a product is healthy just because it is plant-based.
Not Taking Enough B12
Vitamin B12 is essential for your body to function properly. But most plant-based foods lack this vitamin except some fortified cereals and soy milk. Nutritional yeast is another vegan product that contains vitamin B12.
Deficiency of this vitamin can lead to different problems including fatigue, numbness, and memory problems. Therefore, it is important for vegans to make sure that they consume enough vitamin B12. If you cannot take the required amount of this nutrient through your diet, then make sure to take a vitamin B12 supplement.
Reducing Calorie Intake
Most plant-based foods will be low in calories. Therefore, you will have to increase the intake of food for meeting your calorie requirements. Otherwise, it can lead to problems like fatigue, nutrient deficiency, and a slower metabolism.
Not Drinking Enough Water
As plant-based meals are high in fiber, you will have to drink enough water for removing it through your digestive tract to prevent constipation, gas, bloating, etc. Hence, make sure to drink plenty of water when you eat plant-based foods.
Forgetting About Iron
Iron is very important for the human body as it is needed for oxygenating the blood, supporting the immune system, promoting the cognitive function, etc. Therefore, you have to take enough iron through your plant-based foods. Even though iron is present in plant-based foods, it is found in a form that cannot be easily absorbed by the body. Therefore, vegans and vegetarians usually suffer from iron deficiency.
To avoid this problem, include foods with vitamin C in your diet, as it can facilitate the absorption of iron present in foods derived from plants. Otherwise, you might have to consume iron supplements.
Not Taking Whole Foods
Whole foods are rich in nutrients and they may help with weight loss and reducing the risk of different diseases. Hence, make sure that you take enough whole foods instead of processed foods. Include enough whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, etc. in your diet. This will be beneficial for maximizing your nutrient intake and promoting a balanced diet.
Not Including Enough Calcium
Calcium is essential for the health of your bones and teeth. They also aid in many other body functions including muscle build-up, nervous system functioning, etc.
Calcium deficiency can make your bones weak and they can become vulnerable to damage. Also, it can increase the risk of conditions like osteoporosis. Therefore, it is important to take enough calcium through your diet. Most people get calcium from dairy products. But vegans do not consume them, therefore, they will have to look for plant-based calcium sources. Some of such foods include bok choy, broccoli, oranges, figs, almonds, etc. Fortified foods also contain calcium. So make sure to include them in your everyday diet.
Not Properly Planning Your Meals
If you are following vegan or vegetarian diets, you will have to plan your meals properly to include all the nutrients. This can help to maintain a nutritious and balanced diet. Make sure that you include diverse food items in your diet including vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, cereals, whole grains, herbs, etc. for getting various nutrients needed for your body.
Not Getting Enough Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish and fish oil are common sources of omega-3 fatty acids. But they are not an option for vegans. So include plant-based foods that have omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Add chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, etc. in your diet to get enough fatty acids required by your body.
There are many mistakes made by people when they switch to vegan or vegetarian diets. You have to make sure to avoid them, as they can lead to different health issues.