Plant-based and Vegan diets have gained some serious popularity and respect over the years for their environmentally-friendly footprint and reported health benefits.


While these diets can be more than adequete in nutrition, many plant-based and vegan dieters still make the mistake of falling into unhealthy habits which can cause unintended health consequences!


Whether you're forgoing animal products for environmental or personal reasons, or out of concern for animal welfare, be sure to follow these considerations to meet your nutritional needs.

 

Take a supplement, but don’t go overboard

Supplements can definitely help fill nutritional deficiencies that occur in limited diets. Even varied, balanced vegan diets can be lacking in certain nutrients. In particular, vegans should take a B-12 supplement, as B-12 is found exclusively in animal products (and the water from natural streams).


A B-12 deficiency is regarded as the most dangerous nutritional deficiency affecting vegetarians and vegans as it can cause anemia and nervous system damage.


Adults should consume 2.4 mcg/day in a multivitamin or B-12 supplement, unless otherwise prescribed by a doctor. However, while a multivitamin or B-12 supplement is one thing, don’t go completely overboard. Supplements should have very limited use in this area as you want the rest of your nutrients to come from the food you eat.


Don’t underestimate the Caloric content of green juices

A lot of people begin their journey into a plant-based diet through the world of green juices, smoothies, and “green living” cafes. Introduced to vegan foods in this way, many people realize that a vegan lifestyle can actually be delicious and filling!


While most juices and smoothies are healthy options, there are some that are calorie bombs. In fact, many green juices and smoothies (even no sugar added varieties) contain as many calories and grams of sugar as a large soda.


So, if you want to have a green juice make sure you factor in the calories to your diet plan. In fact, if you're looking to drop weight, a green juice might even work against your favor due to its high calorie content.

 

Beware of carb overload

An overwhelming majority of vegan diets are carb-heavy, and that can offset health issues like Type II Diabetes that occurs with high consumption of simple carbohydrates.


When you’re consuming a vegan or plant-based diet, focus on low-carb, high-protein foods whenever possible and top them with leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables! Foods like tofu and veggie burgers are high-protein, vegan-friendly options that are far healthier than a plate of pasta or other grain-heavy entree.


Avoid heavily processed foods containing simple carbs, artificial flavors and loads of salt - just as you would on any healthy diet!