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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going Plant-Based

by Natalia Urdiales August 13, 2020

Things To Know Before Going Plant-Based

Becoming Vegan

Being plant-based or vegan is a life-changing decision we make, not only for us but also for the planet and all of the species being on Earth with us.

I love my new lifestyle. Implementing a plant-based diet is probably one of the best choices I made in my entire life. I've never felt so good before, physically and mentally. Moreover, it has made my life so much easier! I can say that I saved time, money and a couple more years to live.

But being plant-based/vegan sometimes comes with challenges. Actually, it is pretty much like everything you undertake in life, occasionally it gets hard and sometimes it goes smoothly! 

As a beginner, there are some truths no one told me about and that I wish I knew before implementing this diet because they would have made my life easier or just speed my transition process. 

If I could go back in time, these are the 10 things I wish I was aware of before going plant-based. I hope this will help the newcomers here that are looking to start a new life full of veggies!

  1. You Will Go to the Bathroom A LOT
  2. People Will Make Fun of You
  3. You Can Live Without Trader Joe's Products
  4. Food Supplements Are Underrated
  5. Plant-Based Is Easier on Your Wallet
  6. You're Gonna Have a Blast While Cooking
  7. Discover a Whole New World of Foods
  8. Being Vegan Doesn't Mean Being Fit
  9. Everything Isn't Healthy for You
  10. Get Informed

You Will Go to the Bathroom A LOT

You Will Go to the Toilets A LOT 

I know that it doesn't sound glamorous and no influencers on Instagram told you about that, but we have to set the record straight: eating plant-based foods will make you defecate much more often!

Your dishes will consist of more vegetables than usual. Therefore, your diet will be higher in fibers. 

But what are fibers?

They are residues of plants, which have no calorie content. Fibers reach the colon undamaged because they have not been digested in the small intestine

Their job is to increase the feces volume and reduce the digestive process time. Thus, it's helping to fight against constipation. They also make your stools softer, making them easier to evacuate.

Fibers also increase the feeling of satiety and full you up more than other foods. 

Here are some foods that have the highest fibers intake, to include in your diet as soon as possible:

  • Whole cereals, such as brown rice, whole pasta, and oats.
  • Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, and tomatoes.
  • Fruits, like bananas and kiwis.
  • Dried fruits: apricots or raisins (careful to the flatulence !!!)
  • Leguminous plants, such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas. To optimize their digestion, don't forget to soak them for 2 hours before cooking.
  • Seeds, like flax and sesame seeds. Check out about their health benefits here.

If you had constipation issues in the past like me, you will bless this new diet full of fibers! It's a real life-changer! So stop taking laxative pills and embrace this new lifestyle! You should also check our Digestive Smoothie High in Protein & Fibers!

 

People Will Make Fun of You

 People Will Make Fun of You

It's common knowledge: when you don't fit in society, people tend to judge the choices that are different from theirs.

So when you go "out-of-the-box", be prepared: your friends and family will always make jokes about your new lifestyle. How many times was I laughed at during a barbecue gathering with friends, or heard jokes at Christmas Eve with my family?

Suddenly, all your relatives start worrying about your protein intake and lack of nutrients. They are probably not aware that plant-based protein sources exist!! Regarding deficiency, just tell them that, with your balanced diet, you have no issues!

But, you will hear jokes about you being a rabbit because you eat grass, you will be judged because people think it's a sacrifice not to eat meat and dairy, you will be considered as a boho or extremist. Just don't bother, at least you are living in concordance with your ethics, which is what counts, right?

So get used to the laughs! Understand that they probably aren't trying to be rude, but it is just a sign of ignorance and unenlightenment.
Stay calm, and explain to them why you decided to change your habits. You will probably have to give them a list of reasons why you went plant-based or vegan. And if they are still not receptive, never mind! Veganism is a very intimate and personal journey, if your close relations don't have the stimulus, you cannot force them to.

They are simply not ready but might be later! 

It's maybe time to get rid of toxic people in your life! Just eliminate the "friends" that don't accept you as you are. Trust me, you will feel better!

 

You Can Live Without Trader Joe's Products

You Can Live Without Trader Joe's Products 

When you become plant-based, a whole new world of grocery stores opens up to you: Whole Foods Market, Thrive Market, or the famous Trader Joe's. We are all obsessed with the Vegan Ranch and Cashew Fiesta Dip that taste just like bomb with some tortillas chips.

But, as amazing these stores are, the (delicious) products they offer are sometimes very expensive. And for the amount of time they stay in our fridge, it's not worthy to spend 4 dollars on a dip that will last 10 minutes in your hands!

My point is: you don't have to buy these crazy plant-based marketing products to have a balanced and healthy diet that pleased you.
At the end of the day, what matters is to have the right amount of nutrients like protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates or fibers, your body requires to be in good health.

If you don't know about the intakes you need, check with a nutritionist about it so he can enlighten you about these amounts. It usually depends on your weight, age, sex, height. Each body is unique, what a good amount of protein is for you could be too much for someone else. So don't follow anyone else lifestyle you could have seen on social media, and design your tailor-made diet!

 

Food Supplements Are Underrated

Food Supplements Are Underrated 

Regarding what I said above, what is important is to have the right amount of nutrients your body personally requires to work correctly. 

First and foremost, you will HAVE to take B12 vitamin supplements, as it cannot be found in plant-based food, but only in nutritional yeast. Just browse online for the brand that most fits you, as it exists in pills and liquid drops.

But, let's face it. In our daily life, we sometimes don't have the liberty to eat at home or to have time to cook healthy dishes (even if plant-based cuisine is easy and quick). 

Eventually, you will miss a protein intakeProtein is a macronutrient that is essential for muscles and that provides energy to the body. The structure of the protein is a chain of amino acids, which are organic compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen or oxygen. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are the building blocks of muscle mass. 

Proteins have numerous functions in your body: they create muscle, facilitate weight loss, provide energy, etc. It is usually found in animal products like meat and fish, but is also contained in plant-based sources, such as leguminous, veggies and more!!! 

The National Academy of Medicine recommends that an adult should get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day, or just over 7 grams for every 20 pounds of body weight.

  • For a woman, about 46 grams of protein each day.
  • For a man, about 56 grams of protein each day.
  • For pregnant women or that is breastfeeding, about 71 grams each day

For people who practice intense physical activities such as weightlifting or CrossFit, it requires an extra protein supplement. As a matter of fact, sportspeople are soliciting their muscles intensely. Thus, the recovery is longer and the need for amino acid chains (you know, the building blocks of muscles) is essential for rebuilding what has been damaged during the training.

But if you are not that much of an athlete, there are also other very good arguments why we should consume protein supplement: 

  • Vary Your Sources of Protein: Consuming protein powder allows you to vary your different sources of proteins, instead of having the exact same food over and over.
  • More Convenient: According to Shelf Nutritional Data, 100g of tempeh contains 18.5g of protein, while 100 g of a plant-based protein shaker like Falcon contains 73.3g of protein. Therefore, it is way more interesting to have 100g of protein powder than 100g of tempeh, that you usually have to buy to the grocery store, cook, and eat warm. Sounds tedious right? Protein powder is very practical as it's possible to have it anywhere at any time! You just need a glass and some liquid (water, milk, etc) to dilute it. Easy!
  • Cheaper: speaking again about its practical characteristics, you just have to compare the prices in order to understand that protein powders are much cheaper than regular food. Furthermore, a pack of protein powder will last longer than a pack of tofu. In the longer term, protein powder is cheaper.

This is when the protein shaker comes into play. It can be used as a supplement to compensate for the potential lack of protein in your diet.

Check our Falcon plant-based protein powder that has a complete chain of amino acids, probiotics, and two delicious organic flavors: Chocolate and Vanilla!! 

 

Plant-Based Is Easier on Your Wallet

Plant-Based Is Easier on Your Wallet

Do you want to know a secret? Vegan options are usually cheaper in any regular Italian, Indian or Asian restaurants. Let me explain it to you. 

Check it next time you are going to any popular restaurant, look for the plant-based options on the menu. In my experience, I have always found that dishes with vegetables are cheaper. Here are some examples:

  • At the Italian restaurant, get the veggies pasta (without parm cheese). It will always be cheaper than seafood or carbonara pasta. Same mechanism with the pizza. Order the vegetable pizza without the mozzarella, it will be delicious and cheaper than the one with sausage on top!
  • Indian restaurants have a lot of cheap and vegan options too! Why not trying vegetable curry that will be less expensive than chicken curry!
  • In any Asian restaurant, try the stir fry or veggie wok. So delicious and definitely cheaper than shrimp pad thai! Just be sure that no fish sauce is used, and that the pasta is egg-free!

Being plant-based doesn't mean that you have to cut yourself from the rest of the world. Going out with your "omnivore" friends should still be an option. Just check beforehand that the place you want to go offers vegan-friendly dishes, which is almost all the time in 2019!!

At the end of my night, I had a great moment with my friends and when looking at the bill, I even spend less money than them! What a joy!

 

You're Gonna Have a Blast While Cooking

You're Gonna Have a Blast While Cooking 

Before going for a plant-based diet, I wasn't keen on cooking at all. I was even failing at preparing the easiest dishes like plain pasta, fried eggs or crepes (I still cannot succeed on this one).

When I left the family nest for my studies, I started to get interested in what I was actually putting in my plate. 
For financial and ethical reasons, I began experimenting the plant-based cuisine.

Let me tell you that I completely discovered a real passion! Cooking has never been so fun and easy! Being plant-based means that you have to play with seasonings a bit more than with an omnivore diet, prepare yourself delicious sauces to go along with your main dishes, and discover like new vegetables you used to hate!

Another amazing point is that cooking a dish is so quick. Preparing and baking vegetables takes only 10 to 15 minutes maximum on the stove! I used to hate making myself a piece of chicken as raw meat is so repulsive and takes much more time to cook.

The food I made myself tastes a thousand times better than anything I buy and I am enjoying every bite of it! 

If you are looking for cooking inspiration, be sure to browse our Birdman blog, where we regularly post sweet and savory delicious and fast recipes!

 

Discover a Whole New World of Foods

Discover a Whole New World of Foods

I wish I knew about this before going plant-based! 

But being vegan opens your mind up, especially regarding cuisines of the world.

When looking for some restaurants offering plant-based food, I discover about foods I've never heard of before. Have you ever tasted the ones listed below? Wow, it's such a delish! Here are my recommended dishes to try from these cuisines:

  • Middle Eastern Food: Falafel, Hummus, Baba Gjanouj, Dolmas, Tabouleh.
  • Nepalese Food: Veggies Momo, Dhal Bat, Thali, Papad Salad.
  • Indian food: Alu Gobi, Dal, Chana Masala, Veggies Biryani.
  • Ethiopian food: Beyainatu, Fuul beans stew, Shiro Wat, Injera.

As mentioned above, you can totally "veganize" every cuisine of the world, like Italian dishes. Discover new recipes and get creative! I also recommend you to try plant-based Mexican tacos cuisine! What you just need is corn tortillas, add whatever veggies topping you like and you are good to go. Here are some recommendations: mushrooms, eggplants or sweet potatoes. What about trying our vegan taquitos recipe?

 

Being Vegan Doesn't Mean Being Fit

Being Vegan Doesn't Mean Being Fit

I am going to dispel the myth, but eating plant-based food won't make you fit.

Let me tell you a story: as far as I remember, I always hated eggs with all my heart, in all its forms. So I always deprived myself of desserts, as most of the sweet recipes contain this evil ingredient.

But I implemented my plant-based diet, I discover that it was completely possible to bake a cake without eggs, and I was amazed! So I treated myself, probably too much. 

This is when I realized that healthy food wasn't necessarily making me fit. Of course, all of these vegan dessert recipes where containing healthy, non-organic and non-refined ingredients, but it doesn't mean that it is fat-free. Obviously, organic peanut butter is full of healthy fats, but it won't be good for your health if you eat the whole jar in one go.

What makes you fit is a balanced diet and exercise, and indeed, veganism is encouraging it. But let's be clear, vegan junk food does exist and an excess of it won't help to lose weight if it's your objective.

Did you know that a lot of junk food was actually vegan-friendly? Let me name some for you: Oreos, Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, Ritz Crakers, Lay's Chips, etc.

It's really recommended to treat yourself with plant-based junk food from time to time, but don't abuse from it! If you are looking for a delicious, high in protein and healthy recipe, check out the Almonds & Cherry Jam protein bars from The Vegan Booty!

 

Everything Isn't Healthy for You

Everything Isn't Healthy for You 

Do you know the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"? Well, it does not work for me.

I have a hard time digesting raw fruits, especially apples, plums, grapefruits, and apricots.

So just because a food, such as an apple, is healthy and full of nutrients, it doesn't mean that it will be good for you! For instance, a person that is allergic to soy won't feel good at all after eating tofu!

My point is: you have to listen carefully to your body and the sensations you feel whenever you eat a dish. This is what we call Mindful Eating.

This diet is based on the Buddhist concept of Mindfulness, which is an active meditation that helps you identify your feelings, physical sensations, and actions. This allows us to reach a state of total awareness and understanding towards ourselves and our experiences but also acknowledge our cravings for food and the physical and mental consequences of it.

Mindful Eating is a powerful tool to regain control of your nutrition. Applied to food, this form of meditation can help to cure illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, and various eating disorders. Mindful Eating implies: 

  • To eat slowly and without distraction like television or phone,
  • To listen to the physical indications of the body when it's hungry and to eat until you are full, 
  • To distinguish, among the triggers that lead to food consumption, between those that respond to real hunger and those that respond to a reason other than hunger (boredom, depression, menstruation, etc.)
  • To appreciate the food eaten,
  • Eat more slowly and do not rush during meals,
  • Chew food before swallowing it.

Ask yourself why you eat? Is it because you are really hungry? Is this food healthy for you? Be aware of your body and what it feels!

If you are interested in nutrition and looking for tips to improve your health through food, be sure to browse our Blog here!

 

Get Informed

Get Informed

There are so many things I wish I knew before switching to a plant-based diet. 

But, the best tip I could ever give to people that want to make this step is to make inquiries about plant-based cuisine and the vegan lifestyle. The more knowledge gathered, the better your decisions will be!

We are so lucky to live in an era where information is all around us, thanks to the internet and social media. So take this opportunity to learn from it!

Here are my favorite sources of inspiration to get informed, but I encourage you to find your preferred ones! Follow us on Twitter where we regularly relay posts regarding plant-based cuisine and veganism

YouTube & Blogs

Books:

Podcast:

Documentaries:

I hope this blogpost's recommendation will help you in your journey to the plant-based lifestyle! Have an amazing experience with veganism and enjoy every step of it!

Be sure to drink your plant-based Falcon protein to stay healthy and have the protein intake you daily need. 

Take flight!

 

Get Falcon Protein




Natalia Urdiales
Natalia Urdiales

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