20 Mistakes New Vegans Make
A few years ago, I read one of those books that terrify you about all of the dangers of eating meat products—there are thousands of them out there, in case you’re interested in having nightmares and various days of nausea. Some are filled with ideas that are backed by impressive research; some seem a little more opinion-based. I’m no longer a vegan, and I’m not here to say whether or not being one is a good idea. For myself, and my own personal health, it ended up being more problematic than helpful. But I am here to tell you that if you dive into it without talking to at least a nutritionist and someone else who has transitioned from meat eater to vegan, you could make some mistakes that make you sick and uncomfortable. Here are mistakes to avoid as a new vegan.
So many beans
Beans will be one of the most familiar forms of protein at first since even as a meat eater, you probably had them in burritos, chili and things like that. But if you only eat beans, you will probably end up very gassy, and alternating between painful constipation and diarrhea.
Failing to pair your beans with rice
Don’t forget that you don’t get the full string of amino acids you need to get enough protein from beans unless you pair them with rice. But also know, it’s okay if that rice comes at a different meal—it just needs to be on the same day.
In the beginning, you’re going to fail at veganism. A lot. So maybe don’t announce to the world what a strict vegan you are until you are actually ready to be a strict one. It just gets awkward when you then order a burger with your friends at lunch.
Failing to pace out your produce
You’ll probably be incorporating a lot of produce into your diet now that you’re a vegan. But keep in mind that produce goes bad quickly, so even though you’re excited, you shouldn’t buy seven pounds of cruciferous vegetables in one day—most will go bad before you can eat them.
Failing to pace out your produce in another way
If produce used to make up a quarter of your plate and now it will make up 75 percent, just be aware that you will have a lot more bowel movements. That’s not necessarily a bad thing! But it also may not be something you’re prepared for.
There are some wonderful cheese alternatives out there! But pay attention to the ingredients. Some are loaded with chemicals, and some are just heavier in calories than dairy cheese—a fact that may surprise you and your waist line.
Talking about it a lot
It’s not only obnoxious, but it also makes your friends feel bad about the steak they’re eating. You aren’t going to convert them, so there is no point in ruining their appetite.
A little fake meat is okay, but keep in mind that most of this is soy-based, and you shouldn’t eat as much soy as you used to eat meat—that’s a lot of soy.
Failing to take Vitamin B-12
If you do not take a vitamin b-12 supplement as a vegan, you will be in a world of pain. You will develop headaches, depression, and major fatigue. Do not skip this vitamin, if nothing else.
Failing to take zinc
Zinc is bountiful in steak, chicken, dairy and all of the other things you’re not eating anymore. Failing to take zinc won’t affect you as much daily the way failing to take B12 will, but it will put you at risk of far more colds and the flu.
Getting drunk around meat
All I am saying is that meat is much harder to resist when you’re a drunk new vegan. But if you haven’t had meat in months, and you suddenly down a hot dog, you may spend the night in the bathroom.
Failing to order the vegan meal
If you’re flying, don’t forget to pre-order your vegan meal! Airlines only carry a few, and if you don’t order yours, you could be starving until you land at your destination.
Not getting enough protein
Don’t just do the eyeball test and eat a handful of beans because you used to eat a handful of pork; that won’t be enough protein. You’ll end up hungry, and eat lots of carbs and sugar.
Assuming you’ll lose weight
Just because you’re eating the vegan ice cream and cheese doesn’t mean you’re cutting calories; you should still read nutrition labels.
Failing to read menus
Do not assume you’ll find something to eat at the restaurant your friends suggest. Some restaurants truly do not have any vegan source or protein on the menu.
Believing in portabello burgers
Since when can portabello mushrooms replace steak in the protein department?
Forgetting to ask if it’s cooked in butter
Only when you stop eating butter, do you begin to realize how many things are cooked in butter. Your server won’t think about it either; she may recommend the sautéed veggies to you, forgetting that they were sautéed in butter.
Combining it with tons of exercise
If you are becoming a vegan in an attempt to lose weight (as was the case for myself) then it may be a part of an entire new regiment, which includes a lot of exercises. But keep in mind that veganism is brand new to your body, and you do not know how your energy levels will respond. Stick to a moderate exercise routine, see how you feel on your new diet, make adjustments accordingly and work your way up to more intense exercise.
Buying all of the vegan alternatives
Fake ice cream, fake cheese, fake chicken, fake pork, fake taco meat, fake milk…you name it, and there is a vegan alternative. However, most of these products are not only filled with chemicals, but they’re also very expensive! You’ll tire of most of them before eating them all. And you can eat a fulfilling vegan diet without the fake stuff.
Obsessing about veganism
Yes, your uncle could probably combat all of his health issues by switching to a vegan diet, and yes, the treatment of most farm animals is very sad. But know you’re doing your part and taking care of your body; don’t let your new knowledge drive you to a state of insanity.