Thinking Vegan? Tips from a Nutritionist - StapleActive

Thinking Vegan? Tips from a Nutritionist

Vegan diets are gaining huge popularity over recent years for health reasons, animal welfare and it also uses less of the planet's resources. A lot of people start off on the right foot, going all in and feeling super excited about this new venture and eating in line with their values. However, many resort back to previous eating habits after a few years or even go in the opposite direction going carnivore.

So why does this happen?

NOT ENOUGH VARIETY

This can happen with Standard Western Diets too, but so many people resort to the same handful of ingredients to build their meals. We truly do need to eat the rainbow! Buy different coloured veggies, switch out your carbs from rice, to quinoa, to starchy veggies, to wholemeal or chickpea pasta, to beans and legumes.

The more diverse our gut bacteria is, the stronger our immunity, our mood is elevated, we will be having a wider intake of micronutrients and be more likely to cover our needs, better digestion and more.

NOT EATING ENOUGH

Vegan diets are naturally lower in calories and higher in fibre, meaning we can feel fuller on less. Most people don’t actually need to ‘diet’ whilst eating plant-based or limit their calories. Instead they should be ensuring they are getting in enough fuel, protein, calcium and more. Cronometer is a popular app for vegans to ensure they are hitting their targets. It’s more a case of expanding and abundance rather than thinking restrictively.

Make sure you eat often throughout the day and even drink your calories if you need an energy boost.

NOT SUPPLEMENTING PROPERLY

Vegans tend to supplement with B12 (non-negotiable), vitamin D, iodine, omegas, zinc and iron (but this can depend on the individual, their dietary intake, absorption from food and even exposure to sunlight. You can supplement with direct food sources such as sprinkling kelp (seaweed) over dishes or nutritional yeast for a boost in B vitamins to ensure adequate intake. So this definitely comes down to the individual as to what and how much they need.

I recommend getting 8-12 month check ups whether it be through bloods, hair follicle tests or bio-energetic scans as a precautionary measure. That way you can zap problems in the butt as soon as they arise and prevent deficiencies long-term.

Blood tests are the most accurate but doctors generally only check for iron and B12. The other two options are non-invasive and just give an overall picture of what’s ‘out of balance’. I like them because they show every single nutrient in your body. The device I use for my clients can also check for emotional health, balance with the earth/grounding, organ health (often affected by mental health) and takes a wider holistic view on healing the body. 

At minimum, get check ups every year on your birthday or at New Years so you remember.

BEING TOO RESTRICTIVE

Not only does going vegan cut out A LOT of ingredients that the general population eats, there’s a lot of sub diets that make it extremely hard to nourish yourself properly such as going raw or keto vegan. This is completely unnecessary and cuts out a lot of foods that are still good for you. This can also cause damage to your gut as you may experience bloating and discomfort when you re-introduce those ingredients back into your diet.

A lot of raw diets I see online are also extremely low in protein, which is not ideal if you have performance and physique goals.

NOT BEING PREPARED WITH MEALS

It’s easy to choose the ‘good’ option when it’s ready to go. Pack your lunch for work, keep easy nourishing snacks in the pantry and fridge, try new recipes often to mix things up. It can be as simple as a protein bar and a piece of fruit to keep you going for a few more hours.

NOT CUSTOMISING IT FOR THEIR INDIVIDUAL BODY

I don’t believe that everyone has to go completely vegan to be healthy or make a difference in this world. Personally I find a 90-95% approach works best for my physical body and mental health without needing to stress about small things or analyse every single label. I’m also a bit more lenient if I’m dining out or if someone else has cooked and that’s all there is available.

Some people go 100% vegan and thrive. Some just like to eat vegan at home or have a ‘most of the time’ approach. Both pathways still offer incredible benefits.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS IN TERMS OF ATHLETE PERFORMANCE?

Meat consumption and high cholesterol levels exacerbate inflammation which can result in pain and contribute to disease onset or progression. Plant-based diets have an anti-inflammatory effect.
High in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help reduce free radicals. Free radicals lead to muscle fatigue and impaired recovery.
Low in saturated fat and cholesterol which helps improve blood thickness. This allows more oxygen to reach the muscles which improves athletic performance.
Improve arterial flexibility and diameter, leading to better blood flow.
Plant-based diets are typically low in fat and calories whilst being high in fibre, leading to reduced body fat. This allows increased aerobic capacity and improves the amount of oxygen that can be used during exercise, resulting in better endurance.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

You can connect with Cassie Amber on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or her Plant Powered Podcast.


References

Barnard ND, Goldman DM, Loomis JF, et al. Plant-based diets for cardiovascular safety and performance in endurance sports. Nutrients. Published online January 10, 2019.

 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.