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Guide to Switching to the Vegan/Plant-Based Lifestyle

In a world where health consciousness and environmental concerns are on the rise, the transition to a vegan or plant-based diet has become more than just a trend – it's a lifestyle choice that's gaining momentum worldwide. Whether motivated by ethical, health, or environmental reasons, making the switch to a vegan/plant-based diet can bring about a plethora of benefits for both individuals and the planet. 

Read on for a little advice about making the switch as seamless as possible!

Let's Talk Vegan vs. Plant-Based

When you hear the phrases “vegan lifestyle” and “plant-based eating,” you might think they are the same thing. These lifestyles are often thrown into the same category when, in fact, there are a few significant differences that make these lifestyles distinct and unique in their own ways.

Veganism goes beyond just a dietary choice; it is a philosophy that seeks to minimize harm to animals by avoiding the consumption of all animal products (meat, dairy, and eggs, for example). Plant-based eating, on the other hand, focuses primarily on consuming foods derived from plants, but plant-based eating does allow for the occasional consumption of animal products. 

While both of these lifestyles will help you eliminate some unwanted food choices, veganism can be a less healthy option at times if you are replacing animal products with preservative-packed foods. Fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts are the way to go for each of these diets, so stay focused on the good stuff rather than the processed replacements. Whether you focus more on veganism or a plant-based diet, continue to be mindful of the replacements you are making in this lifestyle change to maintain the freshest, healthiest choices.

Health Benefits Heading Your Way

Whether you’re heading into your new lifestyle for the sake of the earth, the animals, or your health, you’re in great company either way. There are many health benefits you can look forward to!

Heart Health

Diets that are rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, nuts, and grains play a large role in your overall health. These foods can lower the risk of heart disease and lower your cholesterol - both of which will help keep your heart strong.

Weight Management

While switching to a vegan or plant-based diet is not a full proof plan for weight loss, it often helps if done the right way. Replacing meats, dairy, and fatty processed foods with fresh,  fiber-rich ingredients and low calorie choices, you are sure to notice that your body will slim down a bit!

Gut Health 

Lately, there has been a real emphasis on improving “gut health.” Clearly, in our society, there is a true need for individuals to reduce inflammation and focus on a healthy gut and digestive system. By focusing on whole, plant-based foods, individuals are more likely to consume a diverse range of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are all essential for overall well-being as well as reducing bloating and improving digestion.

Lower Risk of Disease 

Studies have shown that plant-based diets may lower the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and certain cancers. 

According to the Eating Well article entitled “The Health Benefits of Eating a Plant-Based Diet,” individuals can lower their risk of diabetes because “plant-based diets improve insulin sensitivity, help with weight management and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Plant-based foods also have more fiber than animal foods, and increased fiber intake has been associated with a decreased diabetes risk, according to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation.” 

Additionally, studies have also shown that regularly eating fresh fruits, veggies, grains, and seeds is associated with a lower cancer risk. There is also an association between red meat consumption and cancer, so reducing animal products in your diet could certainly play a role in reducing the risk!

Environmental Impact 

The environmental benefits of adopting a vegan or plant-based diet are significant as well. Animal agriculture is a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, water pollution, and habitat destruction. By reducing or eliminating animal products from your diet, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to environmental sustainability!

Tips for Making the Switch

  • Take Baby Steps: Going vegan or plant-based doesn't mean you have to throw out all your favorite foods overnight. Start slow, swap out one meal at a time, and let your taste buds do the talking.

  • Explore New Foods: Embrace the abundance of plant-based foods available and experiment with new ingredients and recipes. Get creative in the kitchen and discover the endless possibilities of plant-based cooking.

  • Educate Yourself: Take the time to educate yourself about the nutritional aspects of a vegan or plant-based diet to ensure you're meeting your body's needs. Consult with a registered dietitian or physician to ensure a well-balanced diet.

  • Find Support: Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who can offer support and encouragement on your journey. Join online communities, attend events, and connect with local vegan and plant-based groups to stay motivated.

  • Support Vegan and Plant-Based Businesses: There is an incredible community of vegan and plant-based businesses out there, and it would be a wise choice to do some research and support them and their products as you make this lifestyle change. Maja is a company that takes pride in the nutritional value, uniqueness, and variety of its vegan and plant-based products. We focus on healthy ingredients as we prepare baking mixes and overnight oats that are equally delicious, healthy, and sustainable for the day. Our Recipe Box features tons of recipes that are sure to make your taste buds happy!

Check out this Food Navigator article where Maja was recognized for its plant-based mixes and overnight oats!

Bottom Line: Go Green - Feel Great!

Switching to a vegan or plant-based diet is not only a positive step towards improving your health but also a powerful way to make a difference for animals and the planet. By embracing a diet centered around plant-based foods, you can nourish your body, protect the environment, and contribute to a more compassionate world.

 

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