1. Not eating enough variety.
When you first stop eating animal products, it’s easy to get stuck on what’s easy. We ate pizza four times in a week once, and pasta five times. Both are extremely easy to make with various sauces and toppings, and while carbs are good for you (your brain runs on them!) and pasta does contain some protein, you need other nutrients, too. Add in more vegetables—frozen are fine and have all the same nutrients as fresh!
2.Assuming That Vegan or Vegetarian Products Are Automatically Healthier
Unfortunately, just because a food product is labeled “vegetarian” or “vegan” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthier than the regular alternative.
For example, almond milk is a popular, plant-based milk that’s often a staple in vegan diets.However, while almond milk is low in calories and enriched with several important vitamins and minerals, it is not necessarily healthier than cow’s milk.
For example, 1 cup (240 ml) of low-fat cow’s milk contains 8 grams of protein, while the same amount of unsweetened almond milk contains only 1 gramSweetened almond milk can also be high in added sugar, with 16 grams of sugar in just 1 cup
3. Going Vegan Overnight
One of the quickest downfalls I’ve seen is to “go vegan” literally overnight. One day you’re chowing down on two cheeseburgers, and the next, you’re swearing off all animal products forever. A small subset of people, often motivated by serious medical diagnoses or some other emotional reason, can do it. They have a strong, unbreakable “why.” But for most people, it absolutely doesn’t work that way — and it is a shock to your body. Start eliminating one food category at a time. Poultry, dairy, fish, pork, beef, eggs, etc., and give your body time to adjust.
4.Being obsessed with protein.
You don’t need as much protein as you may think you need, and if you’re eating enough variety, you shouldn’t have a problem getting enough of it, or any nutrient for that matter. No Meat Athlete’s website states that the total number of calories from protein that you need is between 10 to 15 percent of your total calories.
5.Not Getting Enough Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 plays several important roles in the body. It’s important in the creation of red blood cells and DNA, among other processes.
Unfortunately, the main sources of vitamin B12 are animal products, such as meat, poultry, shellfish, eggs and milk products.For this reason, vegetarians have an increased risk of vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause fatigue, memory problems and numbness. It can also lead to megaloblastic anemia, a condition caused by having a lower-than-normal amount of red blood cells
Unfortunately, a high intake of folate can actually mask vitamin B12 deficiency, hiding symptoms until the damage becomes irreversible.However, there are foods and supplements available that can help vegetarians meet their vitamin B12 needs.
6.Not Eating Enough Iron
You need iron. It’s a mineral required for vital biological functions including transporting oxygen throughout your body. In fact, every living cell in your body needs iron to function, so it is a big deal to make sure you are getting enough! Iron comes in two forms, heme and non-heme. About 40 percent of the iron in animal products is heme, which your body easily absorbs. Non-heme from plants isn’t absorbed as easily, so you need to eat more of it. Vegan sources of iron include:
- Legumes (beans and peas)
- Macadamia nuts
- Oats (traditional steel-cut)
- Sesame seeds
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Swiss chard
7.Eating too many meat and cheese substitutes.
People say going vegan is too expensive for a reason—they’re thinking of all of the substitutes they’ll “have” to buy when they go vegan… but you don’t have to buy them! There are plenty of products out there from companies that make fantastic meat and cheese substitutes, but they aren’t necessarily healthy, and you can make plenty of substitutes at home for a fraction of the price. Looking to cut it out? Try making veggie burgers with beans, vegetables, and spices, baked in the oven to cut out oil, or make your own cashew cream sauce for pasta to make mac and “cheese”.
8.Eating Too Few Calories
Many foods and food groups are off-limits for vegans and vegetarians, which can make it challenging for them to meet their calorie needs.In fact, vegans and vegetarians tend to eat fewer calories than people who eat both meat and plants.
One study compared the nutritional quality of 1,475 people’s diets, including vegans, vegetarians, vegetarians who ate fish, people who ate both meat and plants and people who ate meat only once a week.Vegans had the lowest calorie intake across all the groups, consuming 600 fewer calories than people who ate both meat and plants.
Vegetarians had a slightly higher calorie intake than vegans, but still consumed 263 fewer calories than people who ate both meat and plants
We live in a fat-phobic society, but our bodies can’t absorb certain vitamins unless fat is present. It’s also a source of energy. If we don’t eat fats, we don’t live. It doesn’t do you any good to drink a huge fat-free smoothie or skip a healthy dressing on a salad because there are vitamins that your body can’t absorb without the presence of some fat.
There are bad fats — ones that harm our health and provide no benefits. Those are trans fats and other hydrogenated fats that are highly processed, completely man-made, and unnatural. Skip those.
However, you want to make sure you’re getting enough Essential fatty acids (EFAs). Among other benefits, they help your body absorb the nutrients in your food and help maintain healthy cell walls. You need both (that’s why they’re called essential), but your body can’t make them, so you must eat them. They come in two forms: omega-3 and omega-6 and should be eaten in a 2:1 ratio of two parts omega-6 to one part omega-3.
10.Not having more than one reason to go vegan.
For some, one reason may be enough, but studies show that for most people, they need two or more reasons to go vegan, whether for health, ethical, or environmental reasons. Do your research, and find out what’s important to you. Animal agriculture is the number one cause of global warming; do you want to contribute to that, or fight against it? Have you read that eating a plant-based diet can help fight heart disease and high blood pressure or even prevent seemingly genetically predisposed diseases? Do you want to save the cows from their untimely death at two years old, when they should be living 20 or more years when not farmed? Find your reasoning, and do your research.
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