Going Vegan Dos and Don'ts

There are lots of good reasons to go vegan, but make sure you do it the healthy way with these dos and don'ts.

"Going vegan," or cutting out all animal products (including meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs) from the diet, has become an increasingly popular choice over the past several decades for both health and ethical reasons. If done right, a vegan diet can be nutritious, delicious and healthy – it can significantly lower cholesterol, reduce diabetes and obesity risk, and even reduce the risk of death from a heart attack by about 25%.

But people going vegan need to avoid common pitfalls that can lead to unhealthy food choices and nutrient deficiencies. Make sure you go vegan the safe way with these important dos and don'ts.


Do…


Get a boost of vitamin B12

Animal products are usually our main dietary source of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that our bodies need to keep our nerve and blood cells healthy. Vegans are at increased risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause anemia and neurological problems including uneven gait, numbness or tingling in the extremities, mood problems, dementia and decreased concentration. To maintain healthy vitamin B12 levels, vegans should take a 25 microgram vitamin-B12 supplement once a day. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement. 

Start off slowly

Going vegan suddenly can be a big adjustment for your body. Try starting your transition by being a part-time vegan – eat vegan until 6 PM and then finish your day off with moderate servings of fish, eggs and dairy. Continue this pattern for about a month before you cut out all animal products.

Don't…

Rely on packaged vegan foods.

Many pre-packaged vegan foods are loaded with artificial ingredients and sodium, and many are high in calories. If you check out the packaging, you may be surprised to find that many veggie burgers have more calories than a beef patty and might also have extra chemicals to make up for taste and color. Limit packaged vegan foods to no more than once a week.

Forget about the protein.

Animal-based foods tend to be high in protein, so you should be sure to replace them with high-protein vegan alternatives. Beans, soymilk, quinoa, tofu, peanut butter and oatmeal are all good sources of protein. Check out these surprising sources of protein for some more ideas (but note that not all of them are vegan-friendly). 

Just eat raw food.

Some vegans gravitate toward eating raw foods. In many cases, cooked vegetables, beans and grains may be easier for our bodies to digest and can provide us with more nutrients. Don't limit yourself to only raw or only cooked foods – mix it up for a healthy balance. 

Exactly How to De-Escalate Aggression From a Stranger

Follow security Expert Bill Staton's important advice to keep yourself safe.

Have you ever had a tense interaction with a stranger in public? Perhaps your shopping carts accidentally knocked into each other or there was a misunderstanding in communication and the other person gets angry. You may wonder how you can de-escalate the aggression and exit the situation safely. So security expert Bill Stanton has your go-to advice for staying alert and protecting yourself in the face of verbal aggression and physical attacks.

THE INITIAL INTERACTION

Bill Stanton: "It always starts with something small, like someone being too close to you, or even more common, you get bumped by a shopping cart. You want to look at their eyes first -it may reveal emotional changes. But you can't rely on just that. Look at what their trunk is doing; a person's torso will reveal their intent. Body language like raising hands, heightened expression, tense shoulders — these are natural responses to a person who is feeling threatened and will escalate. They may begin to zero in on the space between you and them, and their voice will get louder and louder. You want to read this before it gets further and becomes explosive."

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