I was asked by someone recently if there are any risks in going immediately to a vegan diet. That is, if you decide overnight that you want to go vegan are there any concerns to be worried about? I guess the real concern is if there are any vegan diet problems or vegan diet health risks.
In fact to tell you the truth, when I decided to listen to my conscience and become a vegan over 20 years ago I did it pretty much overnight, so I know from first hand experience that it can be done and you will never look back.
So the quick answer to the question being asked i.e. are there risks to a vegan diet and specifically to becoming vegan fast the answer is NO!
However, it is smart to plan your approach to becoming vegan because it is a big change in your dietary lifestyle and you need to be aware of some of the changes that you will encounter when becoming vegan.
First of all, there are no known vegan health risks unless you have been vegan for many years and refuse to take any vitamin B12 supplementation which is stooopid 😉 As for some of the cons of a vegan diet, I suppose that losing a few or more pounds if you are carrying any extra can be seen as a terrible thing to have to put up with 😛
Though truth be told there are many benefits of a vegan diet that we should talk about, because as you are detoxing from cheese and dairy withdrawal, these will help keep you on the vegan path. Dairy proteins can act like opioids on the brain. Because of that, many folks have a hard time giving up dairy and cheese especially. But the craving is more psychological than physical.
Besides, cheese is really nothing more than poison. Fermented, rotting, spoiled milk 🙂
So as much as there are no risks to veganism and rest assured that you won’t suffer vegan health problems because there are none, I’d still like to give you some of my best tips to becoming a healthy, wealthy and wise vegan immediately.
Keep home cooked comfort food close by
What I mean by this is that you should change your diet to a vegan one, at least in the beginning, by just changing up some of your standard home cooked meals that you have grown up enjoying. This is easy to do nowadays.
So let’s say that you loved your mom’s spaghetti bolognaise, well you can still have your bolognaise and eat it too. Here’s a quick and easy vegan bolognaise recipe that I use often:
1 jar of your fav tomato or mushroom or garlic vegan pasta sauce
A fistful of spaghetti cooked in boiling water for 11 minutes
Extra onion and/or garlic as required
1 pack of Yves meatless ground round (available at most grocery stores)
Generous spilling of red wine into said pot that has pasta sauce simmering in it 😉
Fry up any extra onion and/or garlic you want to add to the pasta sauce in a pot. Add the pasta sauce and add red wine liberally (or not!). Add the Yves ground round and let simmer while the pasta cooks. Pile high on top of cooked spaghetti and enjoy yummy vegan spaghetti bolognaise.
The key here is to enjoy your food and not make it insanely difficult. You can find great vegan lasagne recipes too and all sorts of other veganized home cooked meals that you used to eat as an omnivore.
Stay plant strong and healthy
Just because you have decided to become vegan does not mean you’ve automatically tapped into the well of supreme health and longevity. No, you still need to eat well and choose healthy foods.
Most vegans have chosen the vegan healthy lifestyle for ethics and I’m one of them. However, this does not excuse us from maintaining good health. Veganism is still on the edge and is only slowly finding its mainstream legs. Because of this, folks are happy to point out vegans in poor health or as I call them the junk food vegans.
French fries, donuts and coke are all vegan products but none of them are healthy.
If you want a quick and dirty way to ensure that you are getting healthy vegan foods, use the vegan food pyramid which consists of beans, vegetables, grains and fruits. Think of eating all these foods at least every day in their mostly whole and unprocessed foods.
Some friends may question if a vegan diet is healthy. It is, but you don’t get a free pass for saving animals from a miserable lives and deaths. You still need to make wise choices.
Don’t believe the vegan nutrition fiction
Lastly, you’ll hear all sorts of excuses or questions from generally well meaning people as to why the vegan diet is deficient in this, that and the other thing. It’s all bollocks. There is nothing you can’t get on a vegan diet that you get from an omnivorous or meat based diet. The only exception is vitamin B12.
However, vitamin B12 is not made by animals but rather it is made by bacteria in animals’ stomachs. Because we live in a highly industrialized and germ phobic society, our fruits and vegetables no longer provide the necessary vitamin B12 that would be on them in a more organic and naturally grown environment.
Because of this, I recommend that all vegans supplement with a weekly vitamin B12 dose. I like liquid or sublingual forms of vitamin B12 as seen here. I also recomend that vegans get their serum (blood) B12 levels checked every 5 or so years.
Some folks and this is not just vegans, are unable to absorb vitamin B12 so they need vitamin B12 injections. This is rare, but we want to be shining, healthy examples of veganism, after all, the animals need our support and courage and we need to be healthy in order to be examples of the many benefits of veganism to others.
In closing, I applaud you for wanting to go vegan immediately. There are no risks or dangers to immediately becoming vegan and in fact you’ll soon be experiencing the many vegan health benefits that this new lifestyle will afford you. And you will wonder why you ever though that the flesh and muscles and organs of living, breathing sentient creatures could be considered food.
If I can help you in any way, please reach out to me. You can contact me using the contact form on this website. You’ll find a link at the bottom of this page.
To your health,
Thank you for this fantastic post!!! I began the “vegan” lifestyle just in April of 2011 overnight. The first 3 months were great…then came summer, and I fell off part of the time. I think my problem was cutting out ALL animal products as well as sugar at the same time, really caught up with me. I am now back to a vegan lifestyle!! YAY. Although I do cheat and have not so healthy choices sometimes. I know what I need to do, I changed my lifestyle due to health reasons. My mom has heart disease as well as carotid artery disease and my father in law has diabetes…I want to give my kids a chance. It has been difficult with my kids, because they are teenagers, I want them to make their choices and not feel forced into anything.
Anyhow, thank you again!! Great Article
Thanks for your kind words Jill,
It can be hard if you cut out every bad food like you did cutting out sugar too.
I think it is important to enjoy food too. Veganism shouldn’t be a hardship and a life of deprivation. Glad you got back on the wagon. As for your kids, I kept engaging my son in conversations about why I was vegan (ethically for me) and he then decided to become vegan himself when he was 8. He’s now 15 and never looked back.
Stay strong, plant strong!