I was raised as a vegetarian and when I reached the age of 16 I decided to become a fully fledged vegan, a lifestyle which I enjoy very much. During college my buddy Mahesh Navani wanted to become a vegan too and so I helped him out during his transition phase. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for someone to go vegan from being raised as a meat eater and so I have to say that I really respect Mahesh Navani for being so bold and making such a change in his life. I know that there are many people out there who struggle with this transition and so I wanted to talk a little about how Mahesh was able to make this change.
Mahesh isn’t the type of person to do things by halves and he is an all or nothing kind of guy. And so when it came to turning began this is what he did, he literally went from eating meat to avoiding all animal products in a single day. Admittedly even in the weeks running up to this, he wasn’t hardly eating any meat at all. After just a week of avoiding animal products Mahesh Navani got pretty sick and he felt like he wasn’t functioning well through the day. I told him to go back to his old diet and try again in a few weeks. This is something which a lot of vegans do because they haven’t prepared well enough for the change.
Mahesh went back to his diet for around 3 weeks before trying again and most importantly he wrote down what he was eating during his vegan week, to try and identify what he was missing out on. As it turned out he wasn’t eating enough protein and he wasn’t finding sources of B12 to support his new diet. B12 is a vitamin which we get from meat and it comes from the grass that the animals have eaten prior to being slaughtered. The B12 issue is easy to overcome as you can buy a supplement which gives you all that you need, in just a single tablet per day.
The reason as to why Mahesh was feeling so lousy during that week was because he wasn’t getting enough protein into his body, something which he previously relied on meat and eggs for. There are loads of sources of protein out there in the plant-based world, you just need to make sure that you are preparing well for it. Tofu, tempeh, lentils, chick peas and beans are all excellent sources of protein and once Mahesh began to eat these types of foods, he found the diet to be much better and he felt better each day.
The biggest takeaway from this is that when you try to go vegan the best course of action is a slow transition, start off with going vegetarian and begin to incorporate plant-based protein sources into your diet. In doing this you will find it far easier when you eventually go vegan.
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