Healthy Eating Tips for Vegans (and Non Vegans Alike!)

We have quite a treat for readers today! We're sharing healthy eating advice from the smart, sassy annnnnd beautiful blogger, Krista Williams (her blog: "The Hundred" is all about living life to the fullest)!

We love Krista's commitment to leading a healthy, active lifestyle, and now that she's been vegan for almost a year, she's got some awesome tips & tricks to help each of you reap the benefits of a clean, nutrient-rich diet (even if you're not ready to go fully vegan!).

...Take it away Krista! :))

***

By Krista Williams

1.jpg

Doesn’t it seem like everyone these days is a vegan? There are restaurant and menu options popping up everywhere, and I mean even the Queen, Beyoncé has made the switch. (She shared insight into her vegan lifestyle via an Instagram post, pointing to her shift towards a plant based diet!). I definitely think this is also a tribute to how her body stays so crazy fit.   

Even if you are not a vegan, there are so many aspects of veganism that are beneficial for any diet. Plus, you don’t need to completely shun all animal products to see some of the real benefits. As we know, being vegan is a lifestyle choice, and for most who have bravely chosen that path, there are a myriad of reasons why. Ranging from animal rights (which most people assume is the reason) to environmental and social issues.

I, personally, have been vegan for 8 months and a happy vegetarian for 8 years. Being vegan seems to fit well with my personal values and aligns with topics I am truly passionate about. It’s the one thing I can do to make an impact on topics that matter to me. It’s also benefited my health and overall well-being in ways that are hard to ignore.


There are so many benefits to following a plant based diet! One that is full of colorful fruits, vegetables and food that isn’t compromised through processing, GMO’s or chemical additives. For most, that’s truly where the benefits to veganism lie, in the shift away from foods that your body may not naturally agree with, to more natural food with color, life, and additional micro-nutrients.

A few benefits of a vegan diet include:

-        Disease prevention (studies have shown its correlation to the prevention of heart diseases, arthritis, diabetes…to name a few)

-        Lower BMI’s (weight loss goes with this too!)

-        Higher energy levels (something we all want)

-        Improved digestion (through increased fiber intake)

-        Clearer skin

-        Longer life (this is also correlated to disease prevention, etc.)

-        Less migraines for sufferers

-        Reduction in allergies

-        Reduce the risk of food borne illness

But, if you’re not ready to go full vegan there are various ways to incorporate healthy foods into your diet & receive many of the same benefits:

-        Increasing your intake of leafy greens. By adding green leafy vegetables, or things like green juices to you diet, you can cover multiple servings of vegetables and fill your body with lots of micronutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

-        Increasing the amount of protein you get from plants, beans and nuts. This would be in lieu of protein from animal products such as meat, dairy and eggs. Things like beans have super high levels of B-12, iron, fiber, and complex carbohydrates to keep you full for hours. Nuts have good fats which are also essential for cellular function.

-        Increase color in your diet. This means adding lots of colorful fruits and vegetables and moving away from processed foods like white pastas, rice, crackers, breads. The vitamins and mineral content in colorful fruits and vegetables are beneficial for your body and provide clean energy for your body to use right away.

-        Reduce animal proteins. This doesn’t have to be overnight, but even reducing in small ways your animal protein consumption you can see benefits related to those listed above in a vegan diet. Try tofu, seitan or other substitutes instead.

-        Reduce diary consumption. 75% of Americans are lactose intolerant, and often dairy leads to digestion issues and discomfort. As we get older, we naturally lose the ability to break down lactose and our body reacts negatively. If you replace it with things like almond or soy milk you can still get the creamy taste and calcium.

Healthy shopping and cooking tips to consider:

1.     Check the labels of all packaged products that you use in cooking such as bouillon powder, stock cubes, sauces and spreads. Ingredients to look out for include whey, casein and lactose (which are all derived from milk). 

2.     Be aware that non-vegan wines and beer may have been processed with animal products. I know it's crazy, but lots of wines have things like fish bladders and egg in them to make them more palatable! (Freakin’ weird I know!).

3.     Remember most breads and pastries contain butter and some contain milk. It’s a huge bummer about sweets – you need to make sure they are vegan and sweetened with things like dates, coconut milk, etc.

4.     Use silken or soft tofu as an alternative to dairy in desserts and be sure to use fortified dairy alternatives for the added vitamins.

5.     Try almond milk in lieu of regular milk. It’s got more calcium, and protein with less calories than regular milk.

6.     If you need a good protein powder, I really love Raw Meal and Sun Warrior Vegan protein, they’re such a good substitute with fiber, greens, protein and probiotics. They have 20 grams of protein per scoop, zero sugar and taste freaking amazing.

7.     Nut butters are a really good way to get fats, vitamins B and E and they’re so good (and addictive!)

8.     Pay attention to ingredients like the ones below which are an animal byproduct:

•   Gelatin

•   Cream

•   Casein

•   Lactose

•   Whey

•   Glycerin

Of course there are various ways to improve your health and diet through a focus on plants over processed foods and animal products. Just by being more conscious of what we eat, and the decisions we make related to food, we can immediately improve our health and wellness.

Throughout my transition, I’ve seen a positive impact on my energy, skin, digestion and overall health!. I'm not trying to write a vegan manifesto :) -- but I hope that you'll consider the above points, incorporate more nutrients into your diet, and begin to let that Beyoncé bod shine through! 

xx  

BONUS: CLICK HERE to get Krista's recipe for these incredibly delish pumpkin oatmeal vegan bars!!

 

***

// About Krista //

Hi there! My name is Krista Williams and I’m a twenty-something currently living in Venice, California. I grew up in a small town in Ohio but after that, I spent a good chunk of my post-grad life living in both Chicago and New York City. Chicago is really what I call my home :)

The Hundred Blog is a place where you’ll find posts about travel via my everlasting wanderlust, inspired ramblings on life, my two cents on fashion, health and beauty products, and music that I currently have on repeat.

I’m really into growth and personal development, a few passionate causes, and a lover of all things that evoke a feeling or action. In my quest for mind/body/soul mastery, I've become bit of a fitness freak, too. If I'm not on a plane, or with friends, most times you can probably find me on a bike at SoulCycle or on my yoga mat.

Hundred Blog, or saying 'Hundred' means to the fullest. It's 100% of the way, and it's a staple in my vocabulary and the a metaphor for how I live my life  - it's nothing less than 100%, all of the time.

You can connect with me via The Hundred Blog, my Instagram, or my emailing me at HundredblogLA@gmail.com - I'd love to hear from you!