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When starting a plant-based diet, you can easily make mistakes, especially if you are a beginner and do not know the basics. If you are planning to start a plant-based diet, it is important to know the basics. If you are searching for information about a plant-based diet, you came to the right place. Here at Pick Plants 4 Life, we are going to discuss a blog post about the mistakes to avoid when on a plant-based diet. If you want to know more information, we encourage you to keep scrolling below.

More individuals have embraced a plant-based lifestyle between the years 2014 and 2019. Restaurants and supermarkets are now offering more food choices that are vegan, making it easier to find vegan foods wherever you are.

Many people with medical issues such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, and others have switched to a plant-based diet. They’ve experienced several advantages, including a decreased risk of heart disease, reduced blood pressure, and lower cholesterol levels. More health-conscious individuals are recognizing that they’ve lost weight, had better blood sugar control, and become more environmentally aware by not consuming animal products.

There are several health problems that can crop up if you follow a plant-based diet, such as decreased Vitamin B12 consumption, putting them at risk of stroke. As a result, they must take supplements containing Vitamin B12 on a regular basis. When it comes to eating a plant-based diet, there are several mistakes that you should avoid. 

The assumption that all vegan foods are healthier

Many people make the mistake of thinking that a plant-based diet is healthier than a meat-based diet. When looking for food alternatives, you must consider the nutritional value of the meals to ensure you find ones that are healthy for your body rather than filler items.

You should also be aware that the human body is not designed to break down some vegan food options. Tofu, for example, has an omega 3 component known as alpha-linolenic acid that is difficult for humans to digest. While jackfruit, a vegan meat substitute when ripe does not have a protein content and is mostly made up of carbohydrates, it is permissible in the vegan community because it is regarded as a decent vegetarian replacement for beef.

For healthy food options, you should check the nutritional levels of your vegan diet. You can pair the food groups so you can eat a balanced diet every day. 

You can prepare your plant-based meals instead, so you can track the nutrition levels and even the sugar intake from the foods you consume daily. You can check for quick, easy recipes that you can make at home. By meal planning, you can avoid the consumption of processed foods that may contain chemicals and artificial flavors that are not good for the body.

Neglecting whole foods

Plant-based diets are typically high in nutrients and vitamins. You can consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and other non-meat options that are packed with nutrients and minerals, making you strong and healthy. Processed vegan foods, as well as meat alternatives that may include chemicals or contain undesirable substances, should be avoided. Instead of focusing on these less-healthy vegan meals, you should concentrate on whole nutritious unprocessed foods.

You may also eat plant-based diets that are high in protein, such as starch-filled veggies and other protein-rich foods. Mushrooms, lentils, cauliflower, broccoli, jackfruit, or potatoes can be substituted for meat. Avoid processed vegan food options while shopping for groceries. Rice, beans, and oats are also available.

Not enough intake of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins that an individual must include in his or her diet daily. It plays different roles in the body, such as the creation of DNA and red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is an animal by-product, so individuals with a plant-based diet can suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency that can result in different medical issues, such as memory problems, stroke, fatigue, etc.

Here are the best vegan-friendly foods rich in Vitamin B12:

Seaweed, blue-green algae such as spirulina, cereals with Vitamin B12, unsweetened soy beverages containing vitamin B12, and yeast extract like Marmite are all good sources of Vitamin B12. Keep in mind that the body is not able to absorb too much Vitamin B12 every day, so it is best to take an additional 125 mcg Vitamin B12 supplement every day.

Not consuming enough calories

When you go for a plant-based diet, you must remember to eat vegan meals that contain enough calories and have healthy fats and proteins. Most vegan products are usually high in protein content which is a great deal when you cut off animal products from your diet.  

Check out the different foods below that can be included in your plant-based diet:

  • Chickpeas or garbanzos – rich in protein
  • Avocado – rich in healthy fats and high in calories
  • Sweet potato – rich in carbohydrates and high in calories
  • Brown rice – rich in carbohydrates, contains protein and is high in calories
  • Virgin coconut oil – rich in healthy fats
  • Green peas – rich in protein
  • Olive oil – rich in healthy fats

Fats in healthy food choices may have high calories but they are healthy since they are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. When consumed in moderate amounts, they can help reduce the LDL or low-density lipoproteins in the body, thus preventing the arteries from getting clogged which can result in heart attack, stroke, or even death.

Not drinking enough water

Individuals who are on a plant-based diet tend to eat foods rich in fiber that require increased water intake to function properly inside the body. Soluble fibers need water to make the digestive process and bowel movement easier. During the initial phase of changing your diet, your digestive system can experience distress, so you must increase your water intake to smooth out the process.

Important note: women who are on a plant-based diet must increase their water intake and must consume around 12 8-ounce glasses of water every day while men should drink around 15 8-ounce glasses of water daily. 

Not enough iron intake

Individuals who are on a plant-based diet tend to develop iron-deficiency anemia because their only source of iron is from fruits and vegetables. Medical practitioners have recommended that individuals who are on a plant-based diet increase their iron intake to up to 1.8 times higher than those who eat meat and animal products, in order to prevent deficiency.

The body needs iron for growth and development. Iron is needed by the body to make hemoglobin, a protein found in the red blood cells that bring oxygen from the lungs to the different parts of the body. It is also needed for creating myoglobin, the protein that brings oxygen to the muscles of the body. The body needs iron to create certain hormones, including estrogen and testosterone.

A lot of vegetables, especially leafy greens, are high in iron content and can be readily absorbed by the body.

Some of the different food options to help increase the iron levels in the body include broccoli, cashew nuts, hemp seeds, lentils, quinoa, raisins, and Swiss chard. You must reduce your tannin intake, which can be found in tea and coffee. They prevent the absorption of iron in the body. You can also take iron supplements, approximately 10 mg per day or 15 mg for women who are in their menstrual period.

Not eating enough fat and protein

The body needs protein and healthy fats to function properly. Protein helps the body build tissues and create hormones and enzymes. When you eat protein-rich foods, your body can feel full, it can also improve your muscle mass, and reduce unnecessary food cravings. In a plant-based diet, you can get enough protein by eating whole grains, legumes, and vegetables.

The body needs fat to absorb the different nutrients from the foods that you eat. You must eat healthy fats from plant-based foods like almonds, avocados, olive oil, and tofu. 

If you have decided to start on a plant-based diet, you will need an expert to guide you. You can consult Pick Plants 4 Life. We will help you with the basics and guide you every step of the way. If you have any concerns or need any plant-based recipes, we’re here for you. Contact us for more details

If you are searching for a consultant for a plant-based diet that offers online consultation services, you must check out Pick Plants 4 Life. Kerri Hampton is our founder and owner. She has been living a plant-based lifestyle for more than 5 years and she has been enjoying a healthy lifestyle and she wants to share it with her clients.

We provide both virtual and phone consultations, too. If you have any questions about our services, please contact us at 512-656-9209 or email us at justpickplants@gmail.com. Please call us right away if you wish to schedule a free preliminary consultation with us. We look forward to hearing from you soon!