I’ve gone vegan recently, but have started losing hair and gained a bit of weight too. Please help.

There is no problem in going vegan if you do it right. There are many factors to consider before you make this decision – one of the most important being your gut health.

If you experience symptoms like excessive bloating, then going vegan might put you in a tough spot. One of the major problems with going vegan is the digestibility and the efficiency of protein quality. Contrary to popular beliefs, the more processed the protein, the better the digestibility. So a processed soy protein will have better digestibility compared to chickpeas and moong bean. But of course consuming soy protein has additional problems of upsetting the oestrogen balance — a reason it is not the cleanest protein to consume.

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Also, if you have gut issues, relying completely on beans and legumes will further aggravate the condition. In the long run, your protein levels will get compromised, and one of the first signs is hair fall. Vegan foods that contain protein are also high in carbohydrates, which is why a lot of people who are carb sensitive will gain some weight when they go vegan.

The best way to go vegan is to go high on good fats like avocados, some nuts, coconut oil, ghee (considered vegan because of negligible lactose and casein) and coconut chunks. You can also add a clean vegan protein shake that does not make you feel bloated. To avoid hair fall and weight gain, consume at least 10-20 per cent more protein to compensate for digestion issues.

Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop.

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