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The key to a healthy, well-planned vegan diet is to make sure it’s mostly whole, plant-based foods, has an adequate amount of protein from foods like beans, lentils, tofu and tempeh, and includes B12, which can be found in fortified plant-based milks, nutritional yeast, and some breakfast cereals.
Also, people should read labels and avoid vegan treats like chips, cookies, and cakes that are high in calories and not any more nutritious than their regular counterparts. “Just because something is vegan doesn’t make it automatically healthy,” Sheth says.
Like any new plan, going vegan is a lifestyle change, so it’s important to make sure it’s sustainable. “It can be a very healthy way of eating if it’s done right,” Sheth says.
Now that the weight isn’t holding her back, Besson has tons of energy and stamina to run 5K races and keep up with her kids at amusement parks. “My whole life has just changed,” she says. “It’s more liberating [and] I don’t feel stuck anymore.”