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Going Vegan…

All diets kept aside, veganism is the one popular diet that is great for everyone, no matter what.


There is a lot of talk about Veganism and its benefits from a health as well as environmental perspective.

Is it healthy? Definitely! But only if done right.

There is enough evidence to convince us all that can be Vegans extremely strong. The Gladiators were mostly plant-based, some of the most successful athletes are Vegan and anyone who adapts to a Vegan way of living in the right way has shown improvement in strength and fitness. This is enough evidence for us to know that Veganism is definitely worth considering.


Although so many of us read about these virtues and plan on going vegan some day. However, the thought of giving up some of our most beloved foods, trying to replace them with vegan substitutes and the possibility of health issues makes this transition overwhelming. That point where one sits down to list all the items that are now no more “allowed”, is the point where a lot of us just give up.


This article addresses all the above challenges and gives you a clear cut path for going vegan in a healthy way.


Remember one thing, you are doing this for yourself. So you can go as slow and gradual as you wish to. There is no time limit.

Here’s you must start:


Know why you are doing this, have your reasons very clear. It helps to keep an image that represents your reason in a sharp and direct manner. I, for example, started my vegan journey when I learnt about all the cruelty against cows and buffaloes. Every time I got tempted, I image a calf being separated from her mother. This helps you stay on track.


Instead of focusing on all the good stuff that you can’t eat anymore, list down all the foods that this change will introduce to your diet. Make a detailed list of all the foods that you should eat. Start with your everyday essentials and then move onto more experimental, exotic things. For example, a lot of meat-loving clients added the vegetarian foods they anyway love over non-vegetarian. This gives you some mental peace and a nice big list of ingredients to work with. For the more exotic and new things, do some research, follow other vegans on Instagram and read some recipe books and get a nice big list for yourself.




Use the following food groups:

    1. Proteins-rich foods
    2. Carbohydrate-rich foods
    3. Healthy fats
    4. Antioxidants
    5. Vitamins & Minerals
    6. Calcium-Rich
    7. Iron-Rich
    8. Fermented Foods (for B12 and digestion)

Once you have segregated your foods, you will know where you lack. Each group must have a minimum of 5 options. Anything less than that means you need to get back to Google and do a little more research.



A nutrition plan or a meal plan is in essence just a smart, effective way of ensuring there is something coming in from each of the above groups through the day. You know you need higher quantities of things like proteins, calcium, iron, so get in 2-3 sources daily. For the other stuff, you can get 1 or 2 sources but don’t repeat them too often in the week. You can use the plan below as a guide to design yours.

Remember, if you have any health issues (PCOS, Diabetes, Obesity, Chronic Fatigue, Digestive Issues, etc.) then you must get a plan designed for you. You do not want your existing issues to get even worse. The idea of a Vegan life is to be healthier and more responsible. You can check out my Signature One-On-One Nutrition Programs and get started with something customised.



Wake up – Eat soaked nuts, oilseeds, dried figs

Breakfast – A bowl of cooked sprouts with some veggies (only if you wake up super early in the morning)

Lunch – 1 bowl of dal, 2 types of vegetables, ragi or bajra roti

Evening – Fruit + Nuts

Dinner – Amaranth roti, 1 cup of Sabzi (french beans, peas, fresh toor, sem/papdi, etc), High protein chutney (there are lots of nut/seed based chutneys in Tamil and Malayali food – coconut, flaxseed, sesame seed) and maybe some more Dal or Tofu

STEP 5: plan your supplements
    1. Vegan Proteins – rice, pea, hemp are all great
    2. Vegan Omega 3 – >DHA 400 mg, Algae Oil (not flaxseed)
    3. Iron (mainly for meat eaters) – Chelated Iron 40 mg or check out the superfoods section below

These supplements will only be necessary if your lifestyle demands are a certain body type or if you are an athlete/ fitness professional/ dancer.

I, personally, am not a big fan of depending on supplements. However, in some conditions, it is necessary to take them. Please be very conservative with your intake. In the current environment, taking supplements has become so common that we tend to forget that it still does contain artificial and harmful additives like preservatives and colour. I suggest, taking these in the first few months when you are getting used to a vegan life. Over time, try and eliminate one supplement at a time.

STEP 6: ADD the following superfoods
    1. Ragi Sattva
    2. Amaranth flour
    3. Amaranth leaves
    4. Sesame seeds, black and white
    5. Garden cress seeds
    6. Tofu
    7. Chickpea flour / Besan
    8. Drumsticks



Just change one meal every 15 days. Start with switching to a vegan breakfast.group per week. So if your daily breakfast is eggs and toast or poha with milkshake or cornflakes with milk, just switch to a vegan option.

After 15 days, change your dinner. Remove the meat with a vegan protein option. If legumes and tofu don’t cut it, then get mock meats. There are plenty of healthy, clean mock meat brands available in the market today. Once you have adjusted to the no meat dinners, then eliminate the curd or the Ghee or the dash of cream in your sabzis.

If a particular group seems harder, then break it further. For example, leaving meat can be difficult for most people. In that case, break this into one meat at a time. First, leave just red meat. Do this for a fortnight, maybe even longer. Once you have adjusted then switch to lean meats. Finally, eliminate the seafood.

Certain foods are especially challenging in Indian cuisine. Curd and ghee are such a fundamental part of our everyday cooking that it can get almost impossible to make certain dishes. You can give yourself the flexibility to reduce the intake of these foods to meals where they are absolutely essential. A reduction is still good!

Finally, once you have covered all the meals, start refining your meals. Increase your protein, calcium, iron and zinc. Reduce your cereals. Balance every meal. Use accompaniments like podi masala, green chutney to improve nutrient density.


If you are a vegetarian, take about 3 months to shift completely. Non-vegetarians should take 5-6 months. This slow speed helps your body adapt to this new way of eating plus gives you enough time to get used to eating vegan without too many cravings.



For a lot of us, eating out / ordering in is where things go out of hand. This is because every menu is designed to tempt you. It is only natural for you to order that Pizza you have always loved.

So here’s what you do:

In the initial weeks, you can eat non-vegan foods here and there. This is till you are adding vegan food options at home (the above step). Once there are no other food groups to swap at home and all the refinement is done, shift your attention to what you eat when you are out.

Most cuisines will have ample vegan options by default – Asian, Lebanese, Mexican and Indian food have Vegan options without them even trying. So try and stick to these options or go to restaurants that have vegan options on their menu. If you are going to someone’s house or a restaurant that serves only non-vegan option, then start with a salad and then eat a small portion of whatever is coming on the table.

Everyone has certain cuisines or dishes that they absolutely love! For me, that’s Pizza. So when I go to an Italian restaurant, I just eat Pizza, without thinking of vegan options. You are doing this for yourself and reduce your burden on this planet. You don’t need to be perfect, just better.




By now, you should have been pretty comfortable with this new life. You might have lost some weight, felt a difference in your energy levels, better focus in your workplace, improved digestion, better skin, maybe reduced acne. There are a lot of benefits that you will start feeling with time.

However, in order to stick to this new life for good, you must be a little practical. If you come from a hardcore Punjabi meat-loving family, then going Vegan can be tough on you (and your family). Be a little flexible. Eat a little bit here and there up to once a month, if you feel that is what will keep you satiated enough. I, for example, have grown up on Ghee and cannot imagine living life without it (mainly because of its health benefits). So, although I have skipped all other forms of Dairy, Ghee continues to be a part of every meal I consume. However, my next step is to find a Gaushala that I am confident does not torture the cows and buy Ghee from them.

vegan diet by nutritionist khushboo jain tibrewala, andheri west, mumbai


Final words

Your reason for going vegan will decide how you do it.

If you are going vegan from an environmental perspective, then, by all means, go completely plant-based. However, if your health or athletic performance is your reason, then I suggest going “GHEE-GAN” – which is a strict vegan who eats Ghee (LOL :p).

If a good life is what you seek, then instead of falling into one structured, stereotyped diet, be smart about it. Make a plan that works for you.

Make a plan that can become your new way of living!

You can always reach out to me and get started on your own personalised vegan journey with me. Book an exploratory call to understand how this can be done.

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