Going plant-based can be super exciting and overwhelming at the same time. You’re stepping into a whole new eating routine that you’ve never quite considered. With this lifestyle, you’re figuring out what to eat, what not to eat, how to replace animal proteins with plant ones, how to dial down your meat addiction, even how to eat out. All of these common mistakes when going plant-based or vegan are tricky and, as a beginner, they may push you to give up altogether.
Always remember that mistakes are inevitable on a plant-based diet, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up every time you make one. That’s why in this article I’m outlining 4 common mistakes to avoid on a plant-based diet. Hopefully you’ll be able to maintain a well-balanced plant-based lifestyle with joy and without stress.
Rushing Into A Plant-Based Diet
It is a common idea to try and go plant-based immediately after watching Game Changers or some other vegan documentary. But if you rush into it, you may not enjoy the full health benefits.
The journey might feel challenging in the beginning because you transition too quickly. This can lead to under-eating and frustration, making you give up early.
Ultimately, you are learning a whole new way of eating. It’s okay to start slow. Be patient with yourself and move at your own pace. If you need to drop one animal product at a time (meat first, then fish, dairy, and eggs later), then so be it!
By starting slow, you will gradually fall In love with plant-based foods, hence helping you to sustain a healthy plant-based diet for the long term.
Where do you get your protein? This is the most common question non-plant-based eaters ask these days. As a beginner, if you let this question overshadow your thoughts, you will start worrying too much about your protein intake, to the extent that no amount of plant protein will be enough for you. You’ll just keep adding more and more which can lead to what I call “Protein Obsession”. Protein from plant foods supports health and longevity better than protein from animal foods.
One thing to keep in mind is that protein intake is per pound of body weight. So don’t overdo it. When you know your body weight and the amount you need to be eating, you won’t have to worry about the question; “where do you get your protein”? Check the amount you need here.
There are plenty of protein-rich foods on a plant-based diet. Beans, legumes, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, seitan, etc.
Just remember, you can’t be protein deficient on a plant-based diet because almost all the plant foods we eat have ample protein. So stop the obsession!
Neglecting support on a plant-based diet is a bad habit, and eventually make you give up on your plant-based journey. So, If you are new to the plant-based lifestyle, it might be time for you to locate and connect with a plant-based support community that shares the same values around food choices as yours. This can be comforting and less isolating as it becomes a source of awareness, education, inspiration, and companionship for you.
If you can, attend vegan/plant-based meet-ups and cookouts. Interact on social media platforms. Create a profile on PlantStand and ask questions to the community if you are feeling stuck. Speak out and don’t be shy to accept support.
Forgetting To Supplement
Never forget to supplement on a plant-based diet. The most common deficiency for plant-based eaters and vegans is vitamin B12, as well as iodine, Omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and vitamin D. The good news is that it is easy to avoid these nutrient risks.
First, eat an abundant source of plant-based foods and try to consume more fortified foods like breakfast cereals and plant milk.
Second, take a daily dose of vegan-friendly multivitamin, or supplement with individual nutrients if you feel okay taking it that way.
I’m super excited about your willingness to go plant-based, and I wish you all the best on your amazing journey.
Always keep in mind that to achieve a healthy plant-based diet, you have to eat right and at least follow the 4 common mistakes when going plant-based in order not to fall off the wagon. By simply eating plenty of whole plant-based foods and regularly consuming a few key nutrients (in form of supplements) you will surely enjoy your plant-based journey.