We’re proud to support Veganuary this year with the launch of our brand-new vegan range! The Veganuary movement, which involves following a vegan diet for the month of January, has become such a popular trend in the past few years. However, it’s important to remember that following a vegan diet isn’t an easy transition and does require support and meal planning! Therefore, we’ve dedicated our first blog of the year to providing you with a useful guide on transitioning into a vegan or plant-based diet.
Guide to transitioning into a vegan diet
Remember that you don’t have to label your diet and simply being more plant-focused is a positive thing, you don’t have to rush it.
Start by having 1-2 meat free days per week. Our Fuel wizard meal plan builder automatically includes a vegetarian or vegan meal in each week of your plan to make it easy for you to stick to your meat-free days!
Do your research
Educate yourself about the vegan diet and make sure you’re prepared in terms of how and what to eat, nutrients you need to be aware of and any supplements you may need. The main nutrients that are a bit trickier to obtain from a vegan diet include: Protein, omega 3, iron, vitamin B12, and calcium.
Protein: Contrary to what a lot of people believe, it is possible to get enough protein from a vegan diet. Space your protein intake throughout the day to include a variety of plant-based protein in each meal including lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, quinoa, and tofu.
Omega 3: There are many plant-based sources of omega 3 including chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts and soya-based foods. However, the type of omega 3 found in plant-based foods (called alpha-linoleic acid) isn’t as efficiently absorbed as the type found in fish (EPA and DHA) so for some people following a vegan diet, an omega 3 supplement may be required.
Iron: There are two types of iron that can be obtained from our diet; haem iron which is found in animal-based foods and non-haem iron which comes from plant-based foods. However non-haem iron (the plant-based form) is less easily absorbed than haem iron so therefore it’s recommended to combine iron with a source of vitamin D when following a vegan diet as this increases the iron absorption.
Plant-based sources of iron include:
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Dried fruits such as apricots and figs
- Seeds and nuts such as chia, linseed, pumpkin and hemp
- Beans and pulses such as chickpeas, black-eyed beans and lentils
- Cereals and cereal products including fortified breakfast cereals
The iron absorption of these foods can be further improved by the addition of vitamin C rich foods including:
- Citrus fruits e.g. oranges, lemons and limes
- Berries such as blackcurrants, raspberries and strawberries
- Capsicums including bell peppers and chilli
- Some cruciferous vegetables including broccoli and kale
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is the only nutrient that cannot be obtained from a vegan diet. It’s such an important nutrient as it is needed for the production of red blood cells as well as ensuring your brain and nervous system function properly! Therefore, if you’re considering following a vegan diet in the long term, you should consider taking a vitamin B supplement.
Calcium: Dairy foods are typically the main source of calcium in our diet, but there are plenty of plant-based sources which can help you to meet your calcium needs while on a vegan diet. Non-dairy calcium alternatives include fortified milks and cereals, tofu, chickpeas, and green leafy veg.
If you need some inspiration or support with Veganuary, check out our brand-new vegan range which includes a variety of vegan breakfasts, lunches and dinners ranging from organic tofu to delicious curries made with lentils, chickpeas, and legumes!
Remember, a vegan diet doesn’t work for everyone, and it doesn’t have to mean a black or white decision. Veganuary can be approached in a more flexible way by adding in more plant-based foods into your diet and reducing your consumption of animal-based foods without going fully vegan. And if you do decide to take part, our vegan meal plan provides the nutrition, variety, and convenience needed to help you sustain this type of dietary pattern!