Photo by Fuzzy Rescue
Whether due to popular trends or because of its health and environmental benefits, more and more people are choosing to go vegan. In fact, a survey published by Cornell University found that about 10% of American adults aged 18 and above are going meat-free, illustrating how the vegan population is thriving and growing.
People from different backgrounds with various health concerns can all benefit from going vegan. Some people with specific conditions, such as diabetes, can actually reduce certain risks since vegan foods meet their dietary requirements and restrictions. Nevertheless, making the transition to going fully vegan can be challenging at first. So with that in mind, here are several tips people with diabetes may find useful if they want to go vegan:
Consult A Registered Dietitian Nurse
Results published in the Frontiers journal have found that a balanced diet full of fiber and high-grade protein does, indeed, help manage and treat diabetes. However, before making any changes to one’s diet, it is important to rule out any unwanted complications that may arise. This is especially important for those with existing comorbidities. Diet changes may also change the medications needed for someone with diabetes.
Consulting professionals like registered dietitian nurses (RDN) will help you gain detailed information and tips on how to eat or address daily challenges. Fortunately, consulting an RDN is easier than you think. Telehealth provider Wheel adds that modern telehealth software solutions mean that remote RDNs can further enhance the patient experience. Talking to your RDN therefore becomes much easier – not to mention it is also easier to schedule appointments and engage with your RDN online. This way, you can bring up any apprehensions or questions about transitioning into a vegan diet in relation to your diabetes.
Choose Variety And Complexity
One of the best ways to manage your diet as you go vegan is to diversify your sources of protein (plant-based, of course). Try to go beyond tofu and tempeh and explore legumes, whole grains, nuts, and leafy greens, all of which are rich in protein to help you meet your nutritional goals.
Along with your protein intake, you should also include complex carbs in your diet. Eating complex carbs allows you to manage your diabetes because they deliver ample vitamins, nutrients, and fiber to keep you feeling full and satisfied. Opt for whole grains like brown or red rice, oats, and whole wheat pasta to add to your meals. You can also try one of our recipes from Amazebowls for a sweet treat during breakfast or for a snack. Be sure to get several servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day to round out your diet.
Avoid Highly Processed Snacks
Even vegan options can be highly processed. While snacks are great to munch on in between meals, it’s best to stick to whole foods whenever you can. Try celery or bananas with nut butter or pita and hummus. These snacks will curb your hunger and keep your energy levels up until your next meal.
With that said, sometimes it’s just more convenient to pick up something that’s ready to eat. Many healthy packaged snack options are still out there. To avoid highly processed ones, practice reading nutrition labels. Choose the snacks that have the least amount of added sugar, added fat, and sodium per serving before purchasing them.
Vegan Diet For Diabetes: What Are The Risks?
Type 1 diabetes
Those who have type 1 diabetes may need to be extra vigilant when planning their diet.
For type 1 diabetes, it’s important to monitor your blood glucose levels and balance the right amount of carbohydrates with insulin. When eating food, the key is to pay close attention to know what will happen before deciding on whether something might be good enough tasting despite its potential bad effects.
It May Not Be Suitable For Everyone
In fact, a vegan diet may be the best option for preventing and managing diabetes. In comparison, this approach isn’t right fit everyone. Plant-based diets are more likely to need additional planning, preparation, and surveillance than conventional ones.
It is important to know that vegan diets may not be suitable for diabetes management in children, adolescents, and elderly people. The same goes for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
All vegans should be aware of their choices for their diets, whether or not it is a diabetic’s diet.
There’s no denying that vegan diets are some of the healthiest around. But just because they’re healthy doesn’t mean every single one will be good for you- an unhealthy imbalance in your body can still easily exist caused by bad eating habits or neglecting necessary nutrients like protein and calcium.
Some people who follow a vegan diet may have difficulty getting enough calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin D, E, or vitamin B12 as well since plant-based foods don’t provide these nutrients naturally like animals. But there are options available that can help alleviate the problem.
The quantity and quality of plant-based protein may not always be compared with animal-based foods, so vegans need to plan their diets more carefully.
There are a number of ways to ensure that you’re getting all the necessary amino acids. One way is by including complete plant-based proteins in your diet, like legumes and soy products. If those aren’t working for whatever reason, try mixing it up with other incomplete sources or invest wisely into vegan protein powder, which will help bridge any gaps left uncovered.
So now, let’s start your vegan diet plan:
- Identify the three most harmful vegan foods to avoid.
- Justify your choices by providing specific examples of the harm these foods can cause.
- The three most harmful vegan foods to avoid are processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugary drinks.
Processed foods are often high in unhealthy fats, sodium, and sugar, which can lead to weight gain, heart disease, and other health problems. Refined carbohydrates are stripped of many of their nutrients during processing and can cause blood sugar spikes and cravings. Sugary drinks are a major source of empty calories and can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions.
It is definitely possible for people with diabetes to go vegan. By consulting the right professional, choosing the right macronutrients, and avoiding overly processed foods, you can live a healthy lifestyle — without the guilt.