It’s no secret that I can’t have gluten. Sucks but it is what it is. I was way too sick for too long until I discovered this intolerance.
It is also no secret that I much prefer the vegan/plant based lifestyle.
That said, getting all the right nutrients on such a more restrictive diet is HARD – at first! It takes planning and learning about the variety of foods one should eat – and then eating them!
I met 3 people recently who all had a variation of this story: “I was a vegetarian/vegan for 10 years, I eventually got so weak my doctor begged me to eat meat and here I am.”
And I get it. I get it because when I first went vegetarian, four years ago, I eventually started to lose my hair – right before my wedding!! I started to eat limited amounts of meat so I wouldn’t be a bald bride. It wasn’t what I wanted. Tons of vegans are super healthy. Germany’s vegan strongman Patrick Baboumian is obviously not nutrient deficient. Neither are Olympians Kendrick Yahcob Farris, Morgan Mitchell, and Marquise Goodwin. So it can be done!
I did some research and quit meat again after the wedding. My research helped me discover my gluten intolerance and my constant doctors appointments/ultrasounds/x-rays/blood tests finally stopped. You have no idea what a relief that was. I never want to go back. I never want to look at an innocent animal and see them as food ever again.
My hair is also all on my head. I finally figured out how to do it. Albeit in a lazy way, but I figured out what works for busy me.
So here are my top 3 hacks for being vegan and sticking to it long term!
1) B12 – you have to take it. I learned at a seminar on how animals get B12 fortified in their food or if they eat veggies from the ground (it’s in the dirt- the dirt we always wash off!). My hair stopped falling out as soon as I started with B12. Some bodies keep reserves. Mine doesn’t seem to. You have no way of knowing when B12 reserves will run out and if you are deficient for a while- neurological damage can happen that cannot be reversed. Consider an all inclusive multivitatim for vegans.
2) Eat protein, lots of it, in lots of forms. Eat a variety of lentils, beans, tofu, peas, etc. and you will be just fine. Just don ’t eat only one kind! Beans and brown rice is a really great meal btw. Find simple vegan cookbooks and learn to cook some meals you like that you can always go to. I have tried so so many cookbooks and at the end of the day I always go back to two because they are completely idiot/I am tired and don’t even want to look at the kitchen/please no more chopping proof (we ALL have those days!!). The books are Deliciously Ella Everyday and Thug Kitchen.
3) Vegan protein powder. This is my favorite trick. Garden of Life makes an excellent Raw Meal powder that has all the nutrients you need. I felt my best when I was having a smoothie with this, frozen spinach, and a banana everyday. That said, it is impossible to find in Ireland so this healthy habit stopped (still have all my hair thanks to the two points above!) for now. We use sun warrior after workouts at the moment. If you are a new vegan, consider adding a good powder until you find your bearings. It will keep you covered nutrition wise.
So those are my tips! Your turn now. Comment below on what your favorite hacks and meals are for sticking with a vegan diet.
p.s. thank you to unsplash for the lovely smoothie pic!