Quite often it is assumed that if you are a vegan or vegetarian you are eating a healthy diet. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case; many people eat a version of these diets that are down -right unhealthy! At Community Natural Foods we specialize in vegan and vegetarian fair so we have created a list to ensure your personal choice to eat vegan or vegetarian is also a healthy one.
Follow the tips below to up the ante on living a healthy, ethical and environmentally sound life:
- Recognize vegan/vegetarian is not synonymous with healthy – fruity pebbles and potato chips are vegan but they certainly are not nourishing to our bodies. Be sure to focus on eating nutrient dense foods.
- Focus on natural sugar – eliminate as much processed sugar as you can from your diet. Focus on more natural forms such as honey or maple syrup. Your blood sugar, mood and health will thank you.
- Ditch the processed foods - processed foods are a no, no if you want to be a healthy vegan or vegetarian. They are devoid of nutrients and actually steal stored vitamins and minerals from our bodies to digest making them a double negative. This includes such things as soy milk and tofu which are highly processed. Eating these items occasionally are okay but should not be a main stay in your diet.
- Eat fresh, organic fruits and vegetables – since your diet is so highly focused on fruits and vegetables be sure to eat them organic and fresh vs. canned and conventional. If organic is a leap, start with the dirty dozen, clean fifteen list.
- Eat nutrient dense foods – such foods as nuts, seeds, vegetables and healthy fats (flax seed, avocado, coconut etc.) are key to a great vegan or vegetarian diet. These foods contain a high amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega 3 and other fats for optimal health.
- Get your vitamins and minerals – minerals are one of the most difficult nutrients to digest and often the plant versions are more so. B12 can also be a concern for those eating a mostly plant based diet. Taking a whole food vitamin and mineral supplement is the way to go to ensure you are getting enough of these vital nutrients.
- Keep your eye on the protein – especially if you are vegan it is really important for you to eat a variety of foods with proteins and to make sure you get enough. Active vegan may have to take a protein supplement
- Exercise – getting outside and exercising is important for everyone including vegans and vegetarians. Vegans and vegetarians tend to be lean but you need to get your vitamin green too!
- Be mindful – mindfulness and stress reduction are a key component of anyone wishing to live their healthiest and best life and that includes vegans and vegetarians.