Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Switching to a Vegan Diet

There’s a rising number of people who are making the switch to a fully plant based diet. Regardless of their reasons for doing so, many people struggle to find a healthy balance and end up treating it like another fad-diet. This is why you might hear comments like, “I used to be vegan, but…” followed by some kind of statement about it being too restrictive, not getting enough protein or making too many mistakes which led them back to consuming animal products again. These are all common misconceptions when it comes to veganism and are not the experience everyone has to have with it.

The truth is that a fully plant based diet isn’t restrictive unless you make it so. You don’t have to be a health-food vegan or fully raw vegan to be successful with your vegan diet unless you want to. The key is finding a good balance that works for you. As far as not getting enough protein or other nutrients, that can be easily resolved by discovering what foods provide you with the right nutrients. Despite what many people think, a lot of vegetables actually contain higher protein levels per calorie than meat. Lastly, we all make mistakes when it comes to our food choices and other areas of our lives. If we simply gave up and labeled ourselves a “failure” for falling off the wagon, we wouldn’t get to remember the many times we got back on and succeeded. It’s not difficult once you find your own way through your path in veganism, but a little help certainly doesn’t hurt. Read on to learn more about the common errors people make when they decide to switch from an animal-based diet.

Top Mistakes New Vegans Make

1. Eating Too Many Processed Foods

One of the most common mistakes people make when transitioning to a vegan diet is to consume more processed foods than vegetables. This means they are out buying vegan substitutes to fill in the gaps of their previous diet of meat, dairy, eggs, junk food & sweets. They might also fill up on simple carbohydrates like bread or cereal. These foods are great from time to time, but shouldn’t be a core part of your diet to sustain you. Regardless of what diet type you follow, processed items should play a supportive rather than being the “star of the show”.

2. Over or Under Eating

Another issue people have when it comes to making the switch is finding the right moderation. What many people don’t realize is that portions are significantly affected on a vegan diet, so it can be easy not to get enough on your plate if you are used to a small side of vegetables from your previous animal-based diet. On the flip side, it’s also common to overdue it when it comes to complex carbohydrates in your Buddha bowl or sugars in your morning smoothie. It’s still important to track your calorie consumption at the start of your transition to ensure you are getting what you need to sustain yourself and maintain a healthy weight.

3. Failing to Incorporate Essential Nutrients

When people are constantly feeling tired or are feeling bloated from their vegan diets, it’s because they aren’t paying attention to what is going on their plate. As long as the food is vegan, it should be healthy right? Wrong! There are essential nutrients each of us need to survive and live healthy lives. It’s important to balance your macronutrient (protein, fats & carbohydrates) and strive to meet your micronutrient (vitamins & minerals) goals each day. It’s totally possible to do this through a vegan diet if maintain a balanced diet full of nutritious foods.

4. Not Doing Enough Research

Part of following a vegan diet requires a bit of research on your part. If you aren’t looking up what nutrients foods contain, you won’t be able to properly nourish yourself. In turn, if you haven’t discovered common animal-based ingredients that are included in processed foods, you’re likely to make mistakes during grocery trips. Research even applies when you go out to eat. If you don’t look at the menu or reviews ahead of time, you won’t know whether a restaurant offers vegan options or not. Looking up these things will save you a lot of time & effort in the long run. It doesn’t have to be hours of scouring the internet or reading every vegan book you can find right away. It can be done over time as you’re more likely to retain that information under low pressure anyway.

5. Forgetting About Supplements

The last common error new vegans make is not considering the use of supplements. People following animal-based diets need to think about this too, but vegans do have the need to supplement vitamin B-12 as it is primarily produced in animals exposed to or being fed manure and creating the bacteria that produces it. Those on a plant based diet can get B-12 in their diets in varying amounts, but the most consistent way to ensure you’re getting enough is to take a daily supplement. It’s also recommended that you take a daily probiotic to help you maintain proper gut health when making the switch. It’s a drastic change for your body and it will help you keep things stable (and regular!) as you ease into it. You can choose to take this short-term or long-term depending on how your body responds. You won’t need to take excessive supplements beyond this unless you are suffering from a particular deficiency or are pregnant and needing to take prenatal vitamins.

More Advice for New Vegans

Now that you have a few more pointers to help you avoid the common pitfalls, you’re set up for success on your transition into a vegan diet. Of course, it’s likely that you’re going to make a mistake or two over the course of your lifetime as vegan and that’s alright. At the end of the day, you’re making a difference one meal at a time.The best thing you can do learn from your mistakes as you go along. If you’d like more information on where to start with the transition, you can visit How to Go Vegan.

I hope you find this guide to be helpful as you start your vegan journey. Feel free to share it with others you know just starting their transition into veganism if you think it will help them. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below!


As always, thanks for your love & support.

‘Til next time!

Em 🌱

Emmy May, The Plant Based Bae
Emmy May, The Plant Based Bae

Hi! My name is Emmy May and I’m The Plant Based Bae. I was born and raised in the Midwest, and have called Southern California home for the past seven years. In 2018, I decided to switch to a vegan diet which led to me improving my overall quality of life and learning a lot about health & humanitarianism. Since then, I’ve had countless conversations with vigorous vegans and curious omnivores to share what I’ve learned along the way.

Let’s Connect

Follow me on Instagram @its_theplantbasedbae for more updates!

Follow The Plant Based Base via Email

Sign up to receive an email each time a new post is uploaded. Never miss another post again!

More Articles from Vegan 101