A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to follow a vegan diet. The idea of wanting to better my health and the planet stuck with me, but the transition was much more challenging than I had thought.
Many times that I ‘slipped up,’ which made it discouraging to continue. My relationship with food was unhealthy as I recognized that I often felt guilty. As well, growing up in a family that consumed animal products on a daily did not help either. After the strenuous journey of moving toward a vegan diet, I learned plenty. Transitioning into a vegan diet can be intimidating to approach, so here are a few tips that I found helpful:
1. Do Your Research
Before the transition, you should look into veganism and what it entails. Expanding your knowledge on a new subject wouldn’t hurt, as it may put you at ease. In addition, you will get a better understanding of the diet, which makes it a more comfortable encounter. To me, going vegan is almost like preparing for an exam. If you don’t study and have no concept of the subject, you have a higher chance of failing, which never feels good. I recommend The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone and The Skeptical Vegan: My Journey from Notorious Meat Eater to Tofu-Munching Vegan by Eric C.Lindstrom.
2. Take Your Time
One mistake I made was attempting to go vegan overnight. This was a convenient and exhilarating one-of-a-kind experience for some people, but that wasn’t the case for me. I was overwhelmed by what I could and could not consume and had unhealthy food cravings that were hard to ignore. In addition, I was lacking in specific vitamins and nutrients, so I began to lose excitement and motivation.
It is essential to take your time. Everyone transitions at a different pace and attempts at the diet differently. As mentioned, some people can decide to go vegan, follow the diet, and never have to look back. For others, including myself, I had to make small changes along the way that would eventually lead to eating vegan. First, I gave up dairy products as it was the easiest for me and continued to eliminate most animal meats. Finally, I was able to stop fish which was challenging due to my love for sushi. Luckily there are vegan sushi options that we’re able to satisfy me. Overall, it is essential to remember that minor changes can significantly impact.
3. Follow A Diet That Works For You
A unique aspect of the vegan diet is its many versions. The approaches are endless, and depending on your lifestyle and dietary needs, you should follow one that you find the most logical and straightforward. Below are some more common vegan diets:
High Carb Low Fat- primarily eating carbs. It consists of fruits and vegetables, cooked carbs (rice, potatoes, pasta, etc.), beans, and nuts.
Whole Foods- consumes unprocessed (and often organic) foods. It consists of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, and legumes. Usually avoids gluten and soy products as well.
Raw- eats all (or most) natural foods—consisting of raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and nut butter, and dry goods.
Junk Food- focuses on ethical reasonings of veganism rather than health. It consists of vegan alternatives to non-vegan junk foods like plant-based milk ice cream, dairy-free cheese pizza, meatless burgers, etc.
4. Remind Yourself Of Why You Went Vegan
Your motivation and passion towards veganism are apparent at the start of the transition, but that can certainly dwindle. It can be easy to get sidetracked and start-up old habits again, so constant inspiration is essential. I would remind myself why I went vegan by watching documentaries on plant-based diets and their effects whenever I felt hindered. Stay inspired by trying out new vegan recipes, following vegan social media influencers, and finding like-minded people.