Plant Power: Exercising Vegans
Everybody knows that a big part of staying healthy is exercising regularly, but if you’re doing that it’s very important to make sure you’re providing your body with everything it needs to cope. Maintaining good nutritional health can be a challenge at the best of times, and if you’re looking to do it while vegan, it can be even more difficult. It’s essential to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs from your diet. Here are a few tips to help you eat a healthy vegan diet while keeping up with your exercise routine.
Variety Is Key
As with anything, it’s really important to keep your diet broad and to mix and match as many different foods in as possible. This will prevent you from suffering deficiencies and also ensure that you aren’t getting too much of anything and not enough of something else. You should aim to include lots of different fruist and vegetables over the course of the week and take every opportunity to broaden your diet. Try to add one new food to your meals each week – or every other week – until you’re satisfied you have a really broad range.
“Eat food as close to its natural state as you can. This has advantages from a prep perspective – eating a carrot raw as opposed to cooking it saves you time and also means that your food has more nutrients because it isn’t losing anything to the cooking process. Raw vegetables are great in salads, which can also be prepared in advance,” suggests Thomas Smith, a health writer at 1 Day 2 Write and Write My X. Think about including carrots, cucumbers, celery, and peppers, with plenty of greenery and a homemade dressing. Eating locally can also ensure fruit and vegetables haven’t lost vitamins during transit and storage, so this is ideal when possible – and is a bit greener for the planet, too.
Track Your Nutrients
If you’re just transitioning to veganism, or even if you’ve been vegan for a while, it can be really helpful to study your diet and see if there’s anything you’re missing out on. Vitamin B12 is one which the vegan diet is often lacking in, so you should check whether you’re getting enough. Consider making a food map with the nutrients each of your meals contains, and plan your weekly menu. This will ensure you get a great mix, and that you don’t end up consistently missing out on something. If you struggle to get enough calcium, for example, you can adjust your plan to include some nuts or some more dark greens, and make sure you restore balance to your diet.
It’s important to check supplements carefully as many aren’t vegan, but they are worth considering if you’re struggling to keep your diet on track. Using the tip above, you can assess your nutritional intake, and identify any deficiencies before they become problematic. “If including foods which will help correct the deficiency is going to be difficult, supplements may prove your answer – and having the map will ensure you don’t end up having to buy costly supplements for every area, instead focusing on the few which may be problematic,” says Kevin Perks, a lifestyle blogger at BritStudent and NextCoursework.
Keep A Food Journal
This links in with tip number 3, but is more long-term, and will let you keep an eye on your nutrition levels over months and years. Although this takes some time and dedication, it will let you quickly identify if a food group is falling off your list, and if you’re going to end up with deficiencies in consequence. Use your journal if you start feeling under the weather or your energy levels are low, looking at what may have changed and why you may be struggling.
It’s a challenge to eat a balanced vegan diet while exercising regularly, but it is rewarding and very worth the effort. Bear in mind that if you’re attending athletic events, you should bring your own food and not rely on any snacks provided, as the vegan diet is still relatively uncommon, and the organizers may not cater for you. Be prepared, and keep yourself energized. As long as you pay attention to the major food groups and ensure you are aware of what your body needs to stay healthy, you can enjoy a fantastic exercise routine while taking care of animals and the planet.
Working as a Marketing Writer and Editor at PhdKingdom and AcademicBrits, Ellen Lawton works hard to help companies create effective marketing strategies. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and expertise and writes for blogs and online magazines like OriginWritings, educational service.
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