"It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes. "(source) Before making any major lifestyle changes you should always consult with your primary care doctor. And if you're trying to do this consider getting a plant based doctor.
Veganism is a philosophy, not a diet. But diet absolutely has the biggest impact and therefore quintessential to getting started. Adopting a vegan lifestyle can be the healthiest for you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It is important to learn the healthiest ways to be vegan so you will be successful at it and help others be as well.
It's easy to quit eating animals and their secretions. Simply eat a variety within these 10 categories of real whole foods: beans, greens, grains, fruits, veggies, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Then learn from there how to improve your knowledge of nutrition. But have no fear, simple is often best.
If you're new to eating these foods it may take some time getting use to them. You may even discover a sensitivity or an allergy to a certain food. Some of these things can change over time. But, don't give up because there's thousands of edible whole plant food options. And no matter how bad your situation is there's a plant based doctor that can help you.
Have fun trying new recipes but keep it simple and healthy whole food as possible. Learn as much as you can to create healthy routine staples to enjoy every week. And find fun ways to learn about how amazing these healthy foods are. I love NutritionFacts.
Please share your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom. Let us know if you think we should include or exclude some things and why, share how easy it was for you or what obstacles you encountered and how you overcame those, anything helpful for others, etc.
How to Go Vegan in 5 Simple Steps
Start with the Daily Dozen
The daily dozen app by NutritionFacts.org is the best tool I have found for healthy eating and easiest to implement. It's really all anyone needs. The daily dozen app is backed by the most comprehensive nutritional science. This incredible and invaluable tool is completely free and available for both IOS & Android! Install it now to see how easy it is to get started on perhaps the healthiest diet ever for the best lifestyle:
Below are screen shots of the Daily Dozen App on an android. The first two are of the main screen where you check off the foods you've eaten for the day.
The next two show how you can select a category, in this case beans, and learn more about it. You'll see serving size examples and different types. Next to the types you can select "video" to see a NutritionFacts.org video about that particular food. It's so awesome!
My first 5 years of being vegan I only knew what not to eat, not what to eat. Then in late 2016 I discovered the "Daily Dozen" app by NutritionFacts.org and finally knew what to eat! I did this mostly while transitioning from mostly fast food/junk food veganism to healthy whole food veganism. After a couple weeks I created enough new healthy habits with the Daily Dozen app to not need it anymore. Nonetheless, I still enjoy using it from time to time to make sure I'm staying on track. And it's perfect to share with anyone interested in becoming vegan or just eating healthier.
Other Great Ways to Go Vegan
A lot of people also find free programs like these great as well; the "21 Day Vegan Kickstart" program by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and "Challenge 22" with online guidance by mentors and registered dietitians. Kaiser Permanente also offers a fantastic booklet you can reference.
For more tips, inspiration, recipes, and advice consider subscribing to these YouTube channels:
Nutrition Facts, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Plant Chompers, Mic the Vegan, Avante Garde Vegan, Happy Healthy Vegan, Plant Based News, Plant Based Science London, Guilt Free TV, Hench Herbivore, Jane UnChained, Forks Over Knives, Vegan Outreach, Vegan Action, PETA.
Why Go Vegan?
It just so happens to be, what's best for us is also best for the animals and planet.
"Only one way of eating has ever been proven to reverse heart disease in the majority of patients: a diet centered around whole plant foods. If that’s all a whole-food, plant-based diet could do—reverse our number-one killer—shouldn’t that be the default diet until proven otherwise? The fact it may also be effective in preventing, treating, and arresting other leading killers seems to make the case for plant-based eating simply overwhelming." (s)
Health is one of (if not the leading) reasons that people go vegan.(s) About just as many people go vegan for ethics. Veganism is also the fastest growing lifestyle changes in the world!(s) While generally speaking people may typically go vegan for health, ethics, and/or the environment; most people eventually embrace all of these reasons equivocally and wholeheartedly.
Make it Healthy
Whatever your reason may be for going vegan, I hope you will consider learning as much as you can about all of these things; especially the health. Optimum health enables you to sustain this lifestyle in the most powerful way. In turn you will gain unfettered access to new levels of empathy, compassion, and integrity; and actualize your utmost potential.
By shedding away this profound dissonance you now foster a non-violent world more than ever through these simple life changes. Think about endless trillions of sentient animals, earthlings, beings continuously tortured and slaughtered. Starting with you now, this cruelty is no longer necessary and in fact harmful to the very people consuming and therefore supporting it.
The Daily Dozen app mentioned above is a great way to adopt a healthy, whole food vegan diet. There's probably no need to go any further than that. But, if you have time and desire to to analyze your nutrient intake you may like Cronometer.
Cronometer will at least get you thinking about micronutrients and macronutrients more.
Before you start using cronometer set it up to your specific nutritional requirements. Cronometer does a good job at this however you may want to double check things. Here's some links that you may find useful:
Warning, Before Going Vegan!
If you're on medications you should see a doctor before changing your diet. Medications may need to systematically be reduced or even discontinued. This is because a whole food vegan diet may treat the underlying cause of your disease and render the medications useless.
It's a good idea to have a physical examination done before going vegan and every year or so after. This will help you see your progress. And it may help you prevent an issue or a deficiency, no matter what diet you're on. It's also great for inspiring others with your own empirical evidence. Some insurance companies give you big discounts for doing well also.
Check your B12 (holotranscobalamin may be the best test for that) and D. You may also want to check your DHA/EPA and iodine levels.
Whenever possible it seems best to get all your nutrients from whole plant foods. There are a couple that may be necessary to maintain good health due to our modern lifestyles and unique dispositions.
D the Sunshine Vitamin & B12
Learn about Vitamin D & B12. These are two common issues for most people regardless of diet. Some may argue checking your B12 and D isn't necessary. Because if you're low you need to supplement, but you should already be supplementing B12, SO SUPPLEMENT B12!
Again, these are good ideas no matter what diet you're on. Especially B12 for example since we tend to absorb less as we age. B12 is extremely cheap. And so is 20 minutes of sunshine (give or take based on your location and complexion)!
It's helpful to know that some seaweeds/algae may inhibit B12 absorption. So, consume those on days you don't supplement; they're still great for iodine, fatty acids, and tons more! If you're eating a proper variety of plant based whole foods you should be fine other than that. Get variety within each of these categories; beans, greens, grains, veggies, fruits, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices.
Easy for Most, Hard for Some
The following video shares challenges some may have (albeit rarely) with transitioning into a whole food vegan diet. This is great information even if you don't have any of these problems because it can help you help someone else!
People often say to me that they wish they would have gone vegan sooner. They often express loss of unwanted weight, experience improved mood and energy, increased athletic and sexual performance, and there's endless stories of reversing chronic, life threatening illnesses; like heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Occasionally someone may have some transitional discomfort as their body adjusts to this healthier lifestyle. Maybe for example their microbiome is not adapted and sensitive to greens, grains, or beans. They may benefit from slowly introducing these healthy foods into their diet over the course of a week or two.
There's Plenty of Options
Because going vegan usually involves introducing new foods to your diet you may discover that you have a sensitivity or allergy that you didn't know about before. It's important not to overgeneralize and quit eating plant based whole foods all because of one type of food when there's over 20,000 edible plants to chose from.
Some people may be sensitive to nightshades, gluten, nuts, soy, etc... If you're one of the rare few that is, figure out if you need time transitioning into a food or need to remove a food instead of giving up on veganism all together. If you believe you may have a food sensitivity or allergy start a food diary and see a plant based doctor to isolate the culprit. If you need help finding a plant based doctor check out Plant-based Docs at PlantBasedDocs.com.
Dirty Dozen Clean Fifteen
The environmental working group runs a periodically new report on the dirtiest foods we should consider buying organic and the cleanest foods to not worry about. Try to check it every year or so for new updates. Buy organic when you can. “Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential no matter how they’re grown, but for the items with the heaviest pesticide loads, we urge shoppers to buy organic” Sonya Lunder, EWG senior analyst, news release
2021 EWG Food News Dirty Dozen Clean Fifteen Report: ewg.org/foodnews
- Kale, Collard & Mustard Greens
- Bell & Hot Peppers
- Sweet Corn*
- Sweet Peas (Frozen)
- Honeydew Melon
NOTE: A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.
Should I Go Vegan or Vegetarian?
First off, the healthiest diet, at least the only diet proven to prevent and even reverse heart disease is a whole food vegan diet. Also, vegans are more likely to stay vegan than vegetarians, that is "vegans are also less apt to start
opting for meat"(s). Second, liquid meat is murder. Dairy is not only toxic to consume (e.g. IGF-1) but it is also perhaps one of if not the most cruel industries. For more information watch some of these videos:
Check out some of these highly recommended reads. To learn more select the image on the right to view and/or purchase the item on Amazon.
Dr. Yami Cazorla-Lancaster DO MPH MS FAAP is a board-certified pediatrician and mom. A Parent’s Guide to Intuitive Eating will set your family up for success when it comes to making decisions in the kitchen, grocery store, and restaurant. The actionable advice in will transform healthy eating from a chore into a happy habit!
How Not to Die Cookbook
Michael Greger, M.D., FACLM is the physician behind the trusted & wildly popular website Nutritionfacts.org. Dr Greger is also author of the New York Times bestselling book How Not to Die and the more recent How Not to Diet (be on the lookout for How Not to Age!). The How Not to Die Cookbook is a beautifully-designed, comprehensive cookbook with more than 120 recipes for delicious, life-saving, plant-based meals, snacks, & beverages.
Check out our video of Dr. Greger's story as he is inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Check out some of these highly rated documentaries. To learn more select the image on the right to watch and/or purchase the on Amazon or other source.
Best Speech Ever
This is the video that turned my family and I vegan. And perhaps the video that comes up most from people I have interviewed. It's easily accessible on YouTube and very powerful. Gary Yourofsky is a legendary activist.
Plant Based Experts
Learn more from these amazing doctors and researchers listed on VeganLinked.