Home General Info & Awareness 3 Things To Know Before Going Vegan

3 Things To Know Before Going Vegan

by InvisiblyMe
A bird's eye photo of a black worktop with a few fruits and veggies on it, like peppers, berries and carrots. In the middle is the word Vegan with a heart drawn in chalk. Below this is the post title: 3 things to know before going vegan.

Going vegan is a way of life, with increasing numbers of people making the switch for health, moral and environmental reasons. While a vegan diet can have ample health benefits, it’s important to know what to expect beforehand. This collaborative post takes a look at just three things to be aware of.

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It seems as though vegan diets have become increasingly popular recent times. The number places to eat out, menu options and vegan brands in the supermarkets have all expanded, giving consumers more choice. Going vegan certainly isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. But if you’re curious about veganism or are debating taking plunge, you need to be aware of what to expect. Here are just 3 potential issues that may need to be managed on this type of diet.

1. You’ll Need A Mix Of Protein Sources

The essential macronutrient protein is vital building block for the body’s tissues and muscles, while also being an important source of fuel. Protein is made up of 20 amino acids, 11 of which are made in the body. This leaves 9, the “essential amino acids”, that we need to get from our diets, and if a food contains all 9 of these it’s referred to as a ‘complete protein’.

Meat is one of the largest sources of protein while also contain all 9 of these amino acids. Because is a complete protein source, cutting this out of the diet can leave you struggling to obtain enough complete protein regularly. The good news is that you can achieve the same thing by eating different protein sources.

There has been a lot of research into proteins and amino acids, with plenty of information, advice and suggestions that can be found online for how to mix and match your food sources to obtain an optimal intake. Sources of protein suitable for vegans and vegetarians include the likes of lentils, chickpeas, tofu, seitan, tempeh, oats, nuts, chia seeds, green peas, spirulina and nuts.

2. You Might Experience A Lack of Iron & B12

Iron and B12 are found in a lot of vegan un-friendly foods and drinks, like meat and cow’s milk. As such, it’s harder to get these vital components on a plant-based or basic vegan diet. Iron deficiency anaemia and B12 defiecny can cause various symptoms, with people experiencing anything from a gradual lack of energy and lightheadedness to issues with weakness, brittle nails and a rapid heartbeat.

Over time, B12 deficiency can increase levels of homocysteine, increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease. One study of vegan participants discovered that 92% had B12 deficiency.

It’s worth investigating good vegan sources of iron and B12 to ensure you get those in your diet, such as leafy greens, fortified cereal, fortified soy, nutritional yeast, and marmite. It’s worth getting a blood test to check your levels and speaking to your GP if you have any concerns. It’s also worth considering regular supplements, like taking vegan friendly iron tablets daily, to support your diet.

A photo of a cardboard background with a fully green icon design showing a heart with a tick through it and '100% vegan' above it.

3. The Vegan Diet Can Be Gassy

When you switch to a new diet, your body takes time to adjust. In fact, it’s often not recommended that you go from a meat-eating diet straight to a vegan one overnight. Instead, give your body a chance to adapt by gradually reducing your meat and dairy intake. This puts less stress on your digestive system and can prevent a host of digestive problems.

However, the vegan diet is naturally high in foods that can cause bloating and gas. It’s also worth noting that fibre, which is prevalent in a plant-based diet, doesn’t suit everyone. Again, this should get better over time as your body becomes used to digesting these foods, so if you’re concerned and having problems with extensive bloating, upset stomach or constipation, speak to your doctor.

Even if your body digests and works well with fibre and the vegan diet, being gassy and bloated at times is quite common. You might be able to counteract this with ensuring you eat slowly and chew well, or taking digestive enzyme supplements and probiotics, as both can be beneficial for aiding your digestive system. 

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Caz  ♥

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[ This is a collaborative post ]

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johnrieber February 2, 2021 - 5:00 pm

I do a modified vegan/vegetarian diet…2 days a week as a way to eat healthier without losing fish completely…and I do not eat Tofu for reasons you mention above…

Animalcouriers February 2, 2021 - 5:41 pm

You do have to think carefully before starting out. Two friends of ours ended up anaemic after joining in their daughter’s new diet. They of course hadn’t thought about the diet substitutes she was taking 😉

Sandee February 2, 2021 - 5:46 pm

All good reasons to eat some meat. I don’t eat a lot of meat, but some. I’ve tried no meat and it didn’t work for me.

Have a fabulous day and week, Caz. ♥

Blogging_with_Bojana February 2, 2021 - 8:40 pm

Damn it. I love meat, what can I say. Vegetarian I can understand. Vegan is a bit too extreme for my liking. But, whatever makes people happy.

Rosepoint Publishing February 2, 2021 - 9:27 pm

after my hubby’s 2nd hospitalization for heart related issues, I decided to switch his diet to vegetarian. more fish. i’d already cut down his red meats, but was getting nervous. because of his issues, he is monitored pretty well and it didn’t take long before his blood test came back short on B12 and he was advised to get out and get those supplements. apparently eggs, fish, and occasional chicken wasn’t enough to supply his needed B12 level. i’ve slacked up on the vegetarian diet, now only eliminating a meat source 3-4 times a week–light at that–and VERY occasional red meat. last blood test he’s fine–and still taking the supplement.

capost2k February 2, 2021 - 9:57 pm

Reading Daniel, chapter 1;12-15, “‘Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.’ So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food. So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
Just the same, I always wonder if in Heaven we can’t kill animals to eat them, how can it reeeally be Heaven!? :-)))
Guess I’ll find out when I get to eat from the trees along the river’s bank. “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life[b] with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month.” Revelation 22:1-2

Julia Tannenbaum February 2, 2021 - 10:35 pm

This is a great post for me as I’m currently transitioning from vegetarianism to veganism. I’ve been vegetarian for nearly 14 years, and up until very recently, I wasn’t in a place where veganism was realistic or safe (due to struggling with anorexia). I’m working with my nutritionist to find new protein sources and ensure I get enough protein, fat, and other important vitamins and nutrients. Turns out there are loads of tasty and protein-rich plant-based options out there that are making the transition pretty easy!

Carolyn Page February 3, 2021 - 12:17 am

This is a great post, Caz; essential reading for all.
It took about one year to transition to vegetarian/vegan eating for me. I gradually added beans and grains, nuts, seeds, and loads of vegies. I love hummus, which is a complete protein in itself if made with chickpeas and tahini (sesame seeds) with a generous helping of lemon juice; and cumin for extra flavour. There are loads of yummy recipes on-line for all to seek!
Yes, I suffered from ‘gas’, on and off over that period. However, it gradually diminished as my body adjusted; and now it is a thing of the past.
Along with great food there is the need to ensure adequate intake of vitamins and minerals, as you wrote. To my daily vitamin D supplement I take a algal oil capsule (algae oil for omega 3). My daughter, who is still in the menstruating period of life, takes an iron tablet. I, on the other hand do not. I do, however, eat tons of leafy greens. This, I believe, along with my regular diet gives me adequate iron, though, I will be having tests later this year to determine if any vitamins/minerals are needed.
B12 is an absolute necessity for us all. Together with nutritional yeast sprinkled on lots of foods not only tastes great, but has the additional B12 needed. Then, come Saturday, I take two B12 (high strength) tablets just to make sure! And sometimes, during the week (if its been particularly busy) I’ll take an extra one or two. Can’t really overdose on B12, the ‘extra’ will flow away in our toileting!
And lastly, Caz. Reading and more reading is crucial. We only have the one body. Ensuring it has the best possible chance of health requires loads of great knowledge at our fingertips, patience, and a good helping of great food.

peanutbuttersandwiches_ February 3, 2021 - 2:30 am

Fab post, Caz!! Great tips. (:

The Oceanside Animals February 3, 2021 - 4:54 pm

Charlee: “Lulu, we think you should go vegan.”
Chaplin: “Definitely.”
Lulu: “You two cats just want to eat all my kibble and canned food yourselves.”
Charlee: “Whaaaat?”
Chaplin: “How could you even THINK that?”

Terri, Reclaiming Hope February 3, 2021 - 8:42 pm

Plant-based eating has many benefits, but as you pointed out, there can also be some downsides. Finding those sources of the nutrients we need is so important to the long-term success of a vegan diet. Great post as always Caz!

Christy B February 3, 2021 - 10:14 pm

Very informative, Caz! It’s a great reminder that going vegan involves planning and balance to ensure your body stays at its best.

Gemma February 3, 2021 - 11:54 pm

This is so useful Caz, especially point number 3 for someone, like myself, who suffers with IBS. I’ve been eating more plant-based meals in recent years, but gas/bloating is definitely worth considering if I were to ever take the full plunge.

Gemma x

terrepruitt February 4, 2021 - 1:42 am

Because of that last one perhaps they should come with warnings. 🙂

Despite Pain February 4, 2021 - 11:18 am

These are good tips. I am trying to eat less meat but I don’t think I could go completely vegan. I do often hear about people who decide to become vegans without doing any research. A sure way to develop nutritional deficiencies.

Helen's Journey February 4, 2021 - 2:28 pm

Very good points to share. Like anything, if is good to do some reaearch & make informed decisions so you can do thungs in the best way possible for yourself. ???? ????

Lindsay February 7, 2021 - 11:44 pm

This is a great post! I’m not vegan, but have done a lot of research on B12 and iron, and you nailed it!

Holly February 12, 2021 - 4:42 am

Great collaborative post, Caz. In our home, we try to eat plant-based foods more often than not. We are still currently having meat-based as well but have considered the idea of going 100% vegetarian or vegan.

The gassiness struggle is real, ha ha! Any time a diet is increased in fiber, there tends to be an adjustment period. There is definitely a different nutrient base as well, no doubt about it. Heme vs. non-heme iron is a pretty interesting topic all on its own.

I think this collaborative post has given some real food for thought. Pun intended. 😉 Thanks for sharing some important considerations before making the switch. Being prepared, and making a dietary change slowly is the key to long-term success. – Holly ♥

rulookingforjesus March 10, 2021 - 8:56 pm

Great post

Tenzin April 10, 2021 - 7:11 am

I think your post is wonderful. These days so many people are turning to veganism. There are as you say, many wonderful dietary benefits to veganism but consideration should be given to other aspects.
I have always thought, if you are raised as a vegan – the body adapts naturally to this diet as it grows and flourishes. But if you switch from diet where meat & fish have been prominent, the body is going to lack certain nutrients.
Thank you by for sharing your post.


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