Vegan Smart and Safe
By Lauren Lane
According to the Vegetarian Resource Group, the number of Americans who eat a vegan diet has doubled in the past five years—and for good reason. A diet that removes animal products, like meat, eggs and dairy, has been proven to provide both immediate and long-lasting benefits. Even iconic celebrities like Beyonce, Ellen Degeneres, Carrie Underwood, Ellie Goulding and Ariana Grande swear by the lifestyle; so why not give it a try?
While going vegan in a college setting can seem overwhelming, expensive and even dangerous, the lifestyle is actually very adoptable. Check out our tips for how to live a safe and satisfying vegan lifestyle, and you’ll be on well on your way to more energy, glowing skin and a leaner body.
- Get to the grocery store
- Don't be afraid to experiment
- Start with supplements
- Clean your plate
- Be exotic
How you look is a reflection of what you’ve been putting in your body, so if you want to glow from the inside out, it’s time to start eating more fresh and nutrient-dense foods. Energy-dense foods such as hamburgers and ice cream will fill you up with loads of calories and saturated fat, but nutrient-dense foods such as spinach and whole grains will fill you up with the vitamins you need to fight off sickness and lose unwanted fat. Fill up your grocery basket with both fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, beans, whole-grain bread, rice, pasta, hummus, oatmeal and nut butters.
Explore your local grocery store or farmer’s market for healthy meat and dairy substitutes you may never have considered before. Coconut-based yogurt, black bean burgers, cashew milk ice cream and tofu are all delicious examples of vegan options that can replace some of your favorite non-vegan foods. Just be mindful that vegan ice cream is still a dessert! If you’re still intimidated, Pinterest can help you out with hundreds of pins on how to seamlessly incorporate these foods into your diet.
The eventual goal of a vegan diet is eliminate the need for a multivitamin, except for B12, which can be taken weekly. But when you’re just starting out, find a multivitamin that covers all bases, especially Iron, Vitamin C, Calcium and Vitamin B. You may want to make a food journal for the first few weeks, checking each day to see if you are getting enough macro and micronutrients.
Founder of the successful McDougall Diet program, Dr. John McDougall, suggests listening to your hunger and satiety cues throughout the day to determine when to eat. Whether that means eating five times a day or three square meals, vegans are encouraged to eat as much as they want, as long as they are abiding by a plant-based diet. This means eating mostly whole grains and starches, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts and seeds.
Stray away from strictly American and fast food restaurants that may have a hard time accommodating your vegan diet and instead opt for cuisine from around the world. Chinese, Italian, Indian and Japanese restaurants all offer plenty of menu items or options suitable for a plant-based diet. Even pizza joints, such as Mellow Mushroom and Domino’s, offer vegan and cheese-free pizzas loaded with veggies.