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5 Common Mistakes when starting a Vegan Diet

Have you been thinking of starting your plant-based journey?

As a dietitian, these are the top 5 common mistakes I see when beginning a vegan diet. Make sure to read this so you don't make these mistakes. 1. Relying on fake meat/cheeses as the sole protein replacement. While mock meats/cheeses are okay on occasions, you don’t want to be relying on them as your primary protein source. More often than not, these replacements are high in saturated fat and sodium and contain very little fibre. They are also energy dense. Solution -> Opt for burgers made from beans/legumes and include things like tofu, edamame and fresh beans. Select cheeses made from nuts (i.e: Cashew) rather than coconut, as it is high in saturated fats. 2. Assuming that just because it is vegan, it automatically makes it “healthier.” This is definitely not the case, the term vegan often has a “health halo” effect, meaning that individuals often perceive that the particular food is good for you, even when there is no evidence to confirm this is true. I.e: Just because chocolate or ice cream is vegan, doesn’t mean it is any better than its regular counterpart. Same goes for mock meats/cheeses. This does not mean you can’t consume these foods! It simply means to have them in moderation and don’t put them on a pedestal because they are vegan. 3. Spending too much money on fancy “health” foods. i.e: Greens powders, acai, chlorophyll etc. These are unnecessary and don’t provide any extra benefits that you can’t get from fruits and vegetables. Focus on increasing your intake to at least 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables every day. 4. Not supplementing Vitamin B12 B12 is an essential nutrient that can be lacking in a vegan diet. While some food products can be fortified with B12, it is not enough to meet your daily requirements. Supplement with 25-100ug daily or 1000ug twice per week. Check out my previous post on B12 for more info. 5. Not selecting the appropriate milk replacement. Not all brands of milks are created equal. When looking at plant milks, aim for at least 100mg calcium per 100ml of milk. Opt for higher protein milks such as soy where possible. Bonus if it is also fortified with B12. I recommend So Good as it is fortified with calcium, B12, B2 & Vitamin A.

If you are looking to start a vegan lifestyle but are unsure of where to begin, book an appointment with us today! Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your dietitian or health care professional for individualised care.

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