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How to Stay Well-Balanced on a Vegan Diet

A woman about to take a bite from a healthy bowl of food that is showcasing a vegan diet.

Adopting a vegan diet can be a transformative experience for the mind, body, and spirit. By gaining a greater awareness about what you put into your body, you cultivate a deeper connection to your physical and spiritual self. 

Maintaining a well-balanced diet can be challenging for those who have chosen a vegan lifestyle. But with a bit of planning and education, it’s possible to have a healthy and satisfying plant-based diet.

Vegan vs. Vegetarian Diet

A well-planned vegan and vegetarian diet can provide all the necessary nutrients for good health and offer several health benefits. Both diet plans are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. In addition, a plant-based diet can lower body mass index (BMI) and the risk of certain types of cancer. 

It’s important to note that vegetarian and vegan diets can be unhealthy if not adequately planned, as they can lack certain essential nutrients. If you are considering transitioning to a plant-based diet, consult a healthcare professional to ensure all your nutritional needs are met.

Vegan Diet 

A vegan diet excludes all animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. A vegan diet consists of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Additionally, a vegan diet can have a smaller environmental footprint, primarily when foods are sourced locally.

Vegetarian Diet

A Vegetarian diet excludes meat and poultry but may include fish and some animal products such as eggs, dairy, and honey. Depending on which vegetarian lifestyle you choose, there are certain restrictions and eliminations to adopt: 

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian: includes both eggs and dairy
  • Lacto-vegetarian: includes dairy but excludes eggs
  • Ovo-vegetarian: includes eggs but excludes dairy
  • Pescatarian: includes fish but excludes other animal meat

Vegan Diet Plan: What To Consider

With proper education, you can achieve a well-balanced vegan diet plan. Take your time, listen to your body, and seek guidance from an expert nutritionist if needed. Here are some tips for incorporating variety and balance in your plant-based lifestyle:

  • Focus on Whole Foods: To get the most out of a vegan diet, focus on whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Avoid processed vegan foods high in sugar, salt, oils, and unhealthy fats.
  • Get Enough Protein: Protein is an essential nutrient that is important for building and repairing tissues. Good vegan protein sources include legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
  • Include Essential Fatty Acids: Essential fatty acids are necessary for good health and are found in foods such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
  • Get Enough Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that is only found in animal products. It is vital to include fortified foods or take a vitamin B12 supplement to meet your daily needs.
  • Get Enough Calcium: Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth. Good vegan sources of calcium include fortified plant milk, tofu, and dark leafy greens.
  • Include a Variety of Colors: Include a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet to ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs. Each color represents a different group of nutrients, so the more colors you include, the more nutrients you will get.

Benefits of a Vegan Diet

From improved gut health to greater mental clarity, a plant-based lifestyle will provide a more harmonious connection with nature. By reducing your intake of animal products, you will have a greater sense of connection to all living beings and the planet. With this in mind, let’s explore more benefits of choosing a vegan lifestyle:

  • Weight Management: Plant-based foods are typically lower in calories and higher in fiber than animal-based foods. This makes them an excellent option for weight management.
  • Improved Heart Health: With higher fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, a vegan diet can help lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and improve heart health.
  • Improved Brain Function: Intaking higher levels of antioxidants, phytochemicals, essential fatty acids, and can improve brain function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
  • Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases: A vegan diet has been shown to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and osteoporosis.
  • Increased Energy and Vitality: Plant-based foods are naturally high in nutrients and low in toxins. This leads to an overall boost in energy and vitality.

Connect To Nature With a Plant-Based Diet

A vegan diet is not just about what you eat. But, it’s also a mindful choice that has the potential to bring greater balance and harmony to your life. Whether you are drawn to the environmental, ethical, or health benefits, embracing a vegan lifestyle is a transformative experience for the mind, body, and spirit.

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