7 Tips For Going Vegan
By: Katharina Nader
1. Educate yourself
The first important step to becoming a vegan is education. There are a lot of great documentaries (“Cowspiracy”, “Earthlings”, “Forks Over Knives”) and books (“The China Study”, “Forks Over Knives”) out there, not to mention the endless information that floats in the world wide web. Once you make the connection that the food on your plate is an actual animal, you don’t even want to go back to the way you used to eat because you know that it is linked to suffering and exploitation. Watching these documentaries really changed my life and made me realize that I would never want to cause any harm to an animal, and I certainly don’t want to pay anyone else to do it for me.
2. Do it for the right reasons
This point is a very important one. If you go vegan for the wrong reasons, like weight loss, then you won’t be able to sustain this lifestyle. Veganism is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle, and this is the reason why some people go back to eating animal products. If you only do it for weight loss reasons, then there is no real motivation behind it. Once people reach their goal, they go back to the way they used to eat, which will probably lead to weight gain all over again. But if you educate yourself and decide to go vegan because you’re convinced that it is healthier and better for the animals and the environment, then you will be able to stick to it.
3. Don’t rush yourself
There’s no right or wrong in how fast you transition. Some people go vegan cold turkey, but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. However, there’s nothing wrong with transitioning slowly. One way to do this would be eliminating one animal food a day or week while slowly adapting your cooking style to a vegan friendly one. Another way to transition would be to start out with one vegan meal a day, and then slowly raise it to two, and finally three vegan meals a day. There are great cookbooks out there, some even include a meal plan (“Forks Over Knives”). Moreover, there is a vegan substitute for everything, even your all time favorite snack in the afternoon. Do your research and find the right vegan substitute, it’s easier than you think to stay away from animal products.
4. Don’t be too strict to yourself
Don’t be hard on yourself if you slip up after a while, just remember that nobody’s perfect. Maybe you crave something so bad that you can’t resist, maybe you didn’t want to be rude at a family reunion and refuse your grandma’s pie, or maybe you accidentally ate something that was not vegan. Things like this happen, especially in the beginning, and it’s not the end of the world. The most important thing is that you keep motivated and that you get back on track the next day and continue your journey. The first few days or weeks of your vegan journey might be tough, but it gets easier once you get the hang of it. At one point you won’t even think about eating animal products anymore because eating vegan will become the new normal.
5. Don’t eat too little
Plant-based foods are lower in calories than animal products. This means you have to eat more in order to fully satiate your body. However, you have to listen to your body. If you still feel hungry, then you probably didn’t have enough food. It takes some time to get used to bigger portions, but this doesn’t mean that you’re going to gain weight. A plant-based can be very nutritious and healthy, as long as it’s based on whole food ingredients.
6. Don’t worry about getting enough protein
Meeting the recommendations for protein on a vegan diet is not hard at all. Almost all vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds contain some protein, some even as much as animal products. Besides, there are studies which show that animal protein is dangerous inasmuch as it can cause cancer. For that reason, plant foods are the safer bet and the animals will thank you as well.
7. Don’t get discouraged
Some people find it hard to go vegan because their family or friends might not approve of their decision. However, the decision to become a vegan is not about them, it’s about you. It can take some time for your family and friends to get used to the thought of you not consuming animal products anymore, but trust me they will get there. The only advice I can give you is to not confront them about eating meat, since this can make them get defensive, which will drive them further away. Instead, just live as a good example and show them all the positive changes you experience through veganism. This will prove to them that a vegan diet is amazing. And who knows, maybe they want to try it out for themselves.
So, what are you waiting for?! Give veganism a chance and try it out for a while, even if it’s just 30 days or a week. You might be surprised about what a plant-based diet can do.
Originally published at www.vegancity.co.