Changing your diet is a big challenge for many of us. Whatever your reason for going vegan is those tips will all apply. Whether it is because you want to protect animals, be better to the environment, become healthier or all of it together and more, going vegan can really change your life.
However, before you take that major step and call yourself a vegan, there are some things that you definitely need to consider. You can start off by keeping in mind that you may not be able to make a complete shift from day one – and that is ok!
Before you decide to make that shift it is important that you (not others) know why you are doing it. It is a lot easier to stick to a goal when one knows why the goal is so important to them. I suggest taking a piece of paper and writing down your reasons, so when you feel yourself slipping, you can look at that paper and remember why you made that choice.
Popular reasons to go vegan
These are some of the most popular reasons why people usually go vegan – and they are very important to consider before you begin your journey.
- Stopping climate change and helping the environment.
- Lose weight.
- Have better looking skin and improve digestion.
- Save up on money – despite popular knowledge being vegan can be a lot cheaper than the alternative.
- Help world hunger – Being vegan could save up to 724,925 gallons of water per person!
- Be compassionate towards animals and protect them.
- Treat health conditions – a vegan diet has often been proven to help treat many “chronic” conditions and goes even as far as being able to reverse some of them!
- Just be overall healthier – mind and body.
Although I am a bit of a believer that being vegan for your health may not work it is still worth exploring if the rest doesn’t appeal to you.
What is your reason for going vegan? When I began my journey it was all about being healthier and feeling better, but since then it has also become a lot for me about showing compassion and being kind to animals. Now that you have gotten your reasons straight you can check out a few essential tips to consider before going vegan.
1. Start Slowly
Nobody is asking you to rush into veganism overnight. While it may be easier for some to just switch instantly in order to avoid slip-backs, for others the best solution is to start small. You can begin by stopping meat in your household and eventually replacing all milk with oat, rice, almond or whichever plant milk you like best.
You can eventually try replacing cheese with vegan options or eliminating it altogether. I’ve noticed that removing cheese from a diet is one of the hardest things to do for those trying to go vegan. Remember that a lot of alternatives to cheese exist and you can always try making your own at home too! For example, you can easily make your own vegan parmesan.
2. Is there something you love that is already vegan?
You probably don’t even notice but I bet that during your lifetime you have often eaten meals or snacks that were accidentally vegan. Before you start your new diet, you can try making a list with all the already vegan things you already love. Are you a big fan of tomatoes? Do you often cook vegetable rice at home? No doubt, you have some recipes of your own that happen to be accidentally vegan.
3. Research, research!
In the beginning, you may feel overwhelmed when you find out just how much to learn there is. However, you don’t have to know everything from the moment you start. You can gradually built up on your knowledge and in no time you will see just how easy being vegan is.
Start with researching simple recipes such as easy vegan falafels and later you can move on to more difficult meals. It also depends a lot on how good of a cook you were beforehand. If you have no experience cooking regular food then cooking vegan food will be just as difficult.
4. I encourage cooking!
Unless you have a really big budget, you need to prepare yourself to learn how to cook if you did not know until now. You can nowadays buy a lot of vegan take out and a lot of frozen options, but in the long run it will cost you an arm and a leg (especially if you focus on take-out!). As with regular food, learning to cook will allow you to save up a lot of money and learn a new skill at the same time.
There is a huge satisfaction that comes from being able to impress your loved ones with a fancy vegan meal.
5. Don’t let others drag you down!
Your body, your diet, your choice! Don’t let others tell you what is right and wrong to eat if you have made up your mind. When I started eating vegan a lot of my friends were making fun of me and saying that milk is “essential”. However, we know very well from all the living vegans around the world that you can survive and even thrive without milk.
If you believe your decision is the right one, then don’t allow others to affect it. If people are asking you why you are going vegan, you do not really have to give them an answer. We don’t sit around asking people why they are eating meat and drinking milk now, are we? What others think should not matter to you and at the end of the day, those who love you will support your decision.
6. THE ANIMALS, again
I believe that the only real way to become vegan is to understand how eating animal products hurts animals. It is seeing the industry for what is it and unlocking your compassion. It is about understanding that other beings suffer too and are worth doing this for.
It is about understanding that other beings are more important than what is on your plate for dinner, it is about putting GOOD before your taste buds.
If you want to know more about why the animals should matter more then you can begin with my post on Why we should stop eating fish and take it from there. There is tons of amazing resources online that light the truth on what it means to eat animal products.
Go out and explore!