Transitioning to a vegan diet is not easy and there is a lot to consider when doing the switch. Whether you were a vegetarian before, eating everything, a pescatarian or something entirely different, there is definitely going to be a lot for you to learn and explore. It will be very important for you to be strong during this transition and to remember why you are doing this at all times. In this post, I will discuss only the diet part of veganism, but keep in mind that if you want to adopt a vegan mindset, you will have to think about more than just the food you eat.
The following tips may be helpful before you start a plant-based diet. Of course, there is no one way to prepare for a vegan (plant-based) diet, there aren’t enough vegan tips to help you, and there will never be enough easy vegan recipes. However, the most important thing is to give it a try and do your best. Being vegan does not have to limit you in any way!
Research on what plant-based food to eat
The vegan food pyramid is quite different from what you may be used to. There is an emphasis on different foods and your body may need more of certain vitamins than before. You can check out the vegan plate by Becoming Vegan where you can learn all about what you need to focus on during your transition. Vegetables, fruits and legumes are suddenly going to play a lot higher role in your diet than before. With the recommended 5 servings of vegetables it might seem a lot at first but once you start cooking and figuring out new recipes, you will see that on most days you will end up easily consuming more than five a day.
Research your local stores (vegan and not)
There is the common misconception that vegan food is hard to find and that vegans have to always go to special health stores to find what they need. That isn’t necessarily true. It depends a lot on your location but in most big cities, even your regular supermarket will have vegan alternatives at a regular price. I live in Copenhagen and even the smallest store nowadays has plant milk. However, if you want to save up, it is definitely worth exploring the small local stores, farmers markets nearby and find the best options for your grocery shopping.
Make your decision and know your reasons
Unfortunately, many people nowadays will question your decision and that will make you question yourself too. That is why it is super important that you don’t give into people’s bitter comments and conclusions about you based on your diet or lifestyle.
You need to keep your reason in mind and grab tight onto it. In the beginning, you might want to avoid getting into arguments about your decision and feeling the need to explain yourself. The truth is that you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone and that is important to always keep in mind.
Remember why you are doing this – for the animals. In the beginning, you will want to try to make at least one vegan friend (online counts!) to have some support. Try joining twitter or some facebook groups to find support. I recommend searching if there is a vegan Facebook group for your city and joining as soon as you make your decision to go vegan.
Shop well, shop a lot (if you can)
For the first few months you are going to want to keep your fridge full. Of course, it’s not necessary but I find that it is particularly helpful when it comes to cravings. In the beginning, you will need to have access to different flavors and fatty foods that will satisfy your cravings. If you get a craving for chocolate, it is really useful for you to have access to vegan chocolate at home and avoid slipping back into old habits.
A lot of people may tell you to eat healthy but I think that when you are transitioning to a vegan lifestyle it is very important that you don’t feel like you are missing too much. Enjoy the vegan ice creams, vegan pizzas, and anything else you may crave, you can worry about diet a bit later.
Make it fun!
One of the most important things to do when preparing yourself for a vegan diet is to collect a range of vegan recipes and meal ideas that are similar to what you currently eat.
If you eat a lot of bread, stock up on bread, if you are a big meat eater – grab a lot of vegan meat alternatives. If ice cream is your thing – grab a lot of it in a vegan form. It will be important to make sure that you don’t feel like you are missing things because you don’t have to. As a vegan, you can consume a full diet with all the food you love, without harming any animals in the process.
And that’s why it is definitely worth a try!
Read more Tips for Beginner Vegans here.