Have you decided to go vegan? Whether your reason is animal kindness, better health, or both, it’s a life-changing choice. It also requires several steps as you gradually adapt to the vegan lifestyle.
Before diving into unknown waters, investigate as much as you can about veganism, to make it familiar to you. Your research can help you feel more confident and prepared as you begin to change the way you eat and live. As with any significant change, your learning curve will take time and patience.
What does being vegan mean to you? According to an article published by the American Diet AssociationAt least 2.5 percent of Americans identify with veganism. The percentage is almost double in Canada, according to the report.
Commit to eating vegan
The Internet is a treasure trove of documentaries, forums, and websites that can offer valuable information. Also, you can connect with seasoned vegans which can give you useful tips and advice from real life.
An article published by Nutrients states that a vegan diet can be beneficial to your health. It may have some promising benefits of reducing the risks of certain diseases like cancer, high blood pressure and type II diabetes, according to the article. However, the authors admit that more research is needed.
Your research can be your guide to reading food labels. You might be surprised to find that many unsuspecting foods have ingredients derived from animals. Plus, you’ll discover exciting new vegan-friendly foods at your local grocery store and some restaurants in the area.
Tips and Tricks to Help You Transition to a Vegan Lifestyle
Avoid making the mistake of giving up meat and other non-vegan foods. The good news is that many of your favorite foods may already be vegan. These foods are sometimes called “accidental” vegans. If you are currently a vegetarian, you are probably familiar with many tasty protein and vegetable alternatives and already use them in your diet.
• Introduction of new foods
Healthy foods like tofu, legumes, seeds, nuts, and whole grains can be staples in your pantry. If not, these delicious foods are an ideal way to get more vegan foods into your diet. Think of it as an addition to your food list at the beginning rather than a sudden deletion.
• Be creative
Search vegan websites and cookbooks for delicious recipes you can try. Most are quick, easy, and will often appeal to children too. Experiment with vegan recipes so you can easily add them to your menu plans.
• Make the switch to dairy
Soon, you’ll feel confident enough to make other elemental moves toward a vegan lifestyle. One of the simplest changes many newbie vegans make is swapping dairy for vegan alternatives. There are countless substitution options for some of your favorite dairy products.
First, margarine has been an acceptable substitute for butter for decades. Soy and other “dairy” products of plant origin have also been flooded the vegan market. Do some taste tests to find out which one works best for you.
• Stay motivated
As you learn more about going vegan, you will see that it is much more than abstaining from meat or dieting. When you’re dieting, giving in to cravings is common. However, veganism is a dedicated lifestyle based on your convictions and principles, so cheating is not that easy.
The heart of the vegan lifestyle is what made you want to change in the first place. Consider how your health, the environment, and other living things are affected by consuming animal products. Once this understanding has become part of your thinking and inner being, it is a commitment that is not quickly forgotten.
Let these foundational accomplishments be your motivation. When you see an improvement in your overall health, your commitment increases. Knowing that you are not participating in the suffering and death of living beings makes your decision worthwhile. Being kind to the environment and seeing the results only strengthens your resolve.
• Accentuate the positive
The way you view your food choices can be a positive or negative influence. Rather than pining for foods that you will gradually skip, focus on the tasty options that you will add to your menu. You probably enjoy a lot of foods that are already vegan-friendly.
Try to be enthusiastic about discovering new dishes and turning old favorites vegan. Many cuisines of the world have naturally vegan dishes that you may never have tried. Think of your vegan lifestyle as an exciting adventure in global food and innovative recipe changes.
5 settings to go vegan
Are you ready to transition from your current situation to a vegan way of life? You can be even more successful if you do it gradually. Here are five adjustments to make, depending on where you start.
1. Go from vegetarian to vegan
Some people assume that vegetarians and vegans are the same. While neither lifestyle eats meat, there is a marked difference. Vegans not only abstain from meat, they also don’t drink animal products, such as milk, eggs, or honey.
Most vegans will also not wear clothing made from animals, such as leather or silk, or use products with animal ingredients. If you are already a vegetarian, you already have controlled consumption without meat. Now, you can start to stop consuming animal products like eggs, dairy, and honey.
Learn how to replace them with plant-based protein and dairy alternatives. It’s easier if you skip one food group at a time. Once you try “milk” made from pureed almonds, rice, or oatmeal, you probably won’t miss cow’s milk at all.
You can also mix flax seed powder with a little water to make a great substitute for eggs in many baked goods.
2. Starting from an omnivore
This is perhaps one of the most challenging transitions to a vegan lifestyle. As an omnivore, it has spent much of its life consuming meat and using other animal products. Your determination will get you used to the vegan lifestyle you have chosen.
First, eliminate the animal products that are the easiest. These can include processed meats and fresh meats that you ate occasionally. Start adding more whole grains and vegetables to your diet.
Avoid replacing meat with a lot of eggs and carbohydrates because an overload can be detrimental to health. Read food labels carefully when shopping. Some standard products have traces of animal ingredients that you would never suspect.
As you eliminate them, you can start avoiding major meat products like beef, pork, seafood, etc.
3. Go totally vegan
As you transition from a vegetarian or omnivorous lifestyle to a vegan lifestyle, be compassionate and patient with yourself. Nobody changes their diet and lifestyle at the same rate. The more familiar and comfortable you are with consuming a plant-based diet, the most natural veganism will be for you.
At first, you may depend on commercial vegan foods. The impressive array of vegan meat substitutes and non-dairy options can help you make your way into the lifestyle. However, they are usually quite expensive and heavily processed, which are two things to avoid.
Eventually you will find ways to use veggies, legumes, nuts, and fruits to satisfy your meat craving. Plus, you’ll learn how to make your veggie burgers and other treats that will keep you on track.
4. Deal with your cravings
It is normal to have favorite foods and to crave them frequently. For some, they may be sweet, while others may crave starchy foods. When you gradually remove them, you will miss them less.
Perhaps you avoided the vegan lifestyle because you were worried that you might not be able to give up certain foods. During your transition process, save your trigger foods for last. Over time, incorporate other options so your cravings are less intense.
Have you ever heard the old saying that once you see something made, you won’t be able to eat it again? If you have a hard time giving up meat products, find out how animals are slaughtered and how the products are made. It can be enough to satiate your cravings forever.
5. Cultivate a vegan-friendly style and home
Veganism goes beyond the food you eat. It takes a while to remove animal products from your home and wardrobe. Fortunately, there are gentler alternatives to leather, wool, and silk. Many cosmetics and other household items have animal products listed under other names.
If you’re not sure whether any of the products you use at home or work are vegan-friendly, you can always look for them online. Fortunately, the demand for friendlier products has led manufacturers to develop more options. There are more fashion and home stores catering to vegan crowds than in the past.
Even if you reduce your consumption of animal products, you are moving in the right direction. Expect to make mistakes and learn from them rather than get discouraged. Creating a kinder lifestyle take one day at a time, and you can feel good about your progress.