How to Go Vegan in 5 Easy Steps
You want to go vegan but don’t know how? Aren’t sure where to start? Think that you can’t afford it? Are worried about being tempted by non-vegan foods? Aren’t sure that you can stick with it??
Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. I’m going to break down Vegan transitioning into easy, manageable steps. One of the first remarks I get when I tell people that I am vegan is “Oh, I could never be vegan”. My first thought to that is yes everyone CAN be vegan, just not everyone WANTS to be vegan. Can and want are two very different things. If you think you can’t go vegan because you are on a tight budget or are addicted to meat/dairy products, I am here to tell you that you can cut your grocery bill and finally get rid of the animal products without a second thought.
- Educate Yourself/ Watch Vegan Documentaries
It is so important to be educated on veganism so that you find your “why”. You need to be certain on why you want to adopt of vegan lifestyle, and remind yourself of it often during your journey. Some people initially come to this lifestyle for health reasons (like myself), but stay the path due to the stronger connection they develop with the animals and environment. I learned so much about all of the benefits of a vegan diet by watching documentaries like Cowspiracy, Vegucated, Forks over Knives, and youtube talks/ videos like 101 Reasons to go Vegan and “The Best Speech You will ever Hear”. These films are must watches if you want to make the greater ethical/environmental/health connection to veganism.
Another part of educating yourself includes learning how to eat in a way that keeps you full, satisfied, and meets your nutritional needs. There are a lot of great websites/ books out there that talk about food to eat on a vegan diet. I of course advocate a Whole Foods, Plant based vegan diet for optimal health, energy, and vitality. You need to learn which foods contain plant protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12 so you can make sure you are getting a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. I have written a few posts on vegan nutrition/protein/calcium that you can find on my blog as well.
I also recommend reading plant-based nutrition books and following vegan/plant based influencers/doctors/nutritionists on social media to get an idea of what to eat. Some of my favorite books are “Starch Solution”. “Engine 2 Diet”, “How not to Diet”, and “The China Study”. These books talk about the food that we are meant to eat, and how humans evolved to do so. There are lots of other great books out there as well, but those titles are especially inspiring, motivating, and backed by science (bc who can really argue with science??).
2. Clean out your Fridge/Pantry
Yep. I said it. Don’t wait to finish off all of your animal product foods before going vegan. Toss all the junk away. You don’t need it! And by toss away, I mean donate the food to a food bank/shelter, etc. Right now there are so many food drives going on so it should be easy to find one to donate to! In order to be successful when you are first transitioning to a vegan diet, you need to remove the temptation of animal products. It will be more difficult to resist animal products after coming home from a long day of work/school etc. when you are starving and craving the foods that you grew up eating. Initially you may have these cravings, so it is best to keep those foods out of the house. After you have been vegan for a little while you won’t crave those foods anymore and they will probably start to smell/appear a bit off putting to you. Instead of thinking about what you are “losing”, focus on building a healthy fridge and pantry! Your fridge should look like the produce section of a grocery store!
3. Always Bring your Own Food
And I mean always! You can’t depend on other people to have vegan food for you and you don’t want to put yourself in a position of being absolutely starving with no vegan options. Bring vegan dishes to share at barbeques, family get together, holidays, pot lucks, etc. Also be sure to be prepared at work/school/ while out and about by packing enough food to keep you satiated. Pack snacks in your purse/backpack, keep food in you car, and always bring a reusable water bottle with you to stay hydrated! One of my favorite mottos for healthy living is “Fail to prepare- prepare to fail” because it is so simple and really highlights the importance of making health a priority in your life. If is super easy to grab a few pieces of fruit on your way out the door rather than pick something unhealthy up when you are out (plus it will save you money!).
4. Learn to stay Positive & Ignore the Haters
Veganism is not about deprivation. Stop thinking about all of the foods that you think you are “giving up” or “can’t have”. You could have them if you wanted to, but you are choosing not to. You aren’t giving anything up, but are choosing to nourish your body in a way that is good for your health & the environment without harming other beings. You don’t need animal products in your diet and will probably feel a whole lot better without them.
Another point to keep in mind in order to stay positive on this journey is to not let other people’s opinions of you/ veganism get to you. Yes people will make jokes, unfair judgements, or may even be downright rude. At the end of the day who cares what they think? You are doing this for YOU- not them. Most people that are kind, caring humans will accept your lifestyle and may even think its pretty dang badass. People that judge you as being some crazy vegan just don’t know enough about the lifestyle or what it is about. People will always judge things that aren’t mainstream/ normal. Who wants to be normal anyway?? (not me- ha!)
5. Go at Your Own Pace
If you don’t think you are one of those people that can go vegan overnight, then do it slowly. Going vegan overnight works for a lot of people (like myself), but transitioning slowly and eliminating animal product food groups one by one also works for a lot of people as well. You have to know your personality type and decide which method is best for you. If you choose to transition more slowly, the order that I recommend is to first get rid of all red meat/ processed meats, then eliminate all dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, eggs, etc), then white meats/poultry and fish. You can of course use a different method of transitioning, but that is a method that I personally think would lend itself to great success. It is also a method that gets rid of the most harmful foods to your health first. You will start to feel much better after getting rid of the processed meats and dairy since those both promote lots of inflammation and health issues. Remember, this is not a diet, not a short term fix, and not a fad- it is a lifestyle.
Tell me- have you ever thought about going vegan?
What is holding you back??
How do you reduce your impact on the environment?
Have you watched any of the films I mentioned/ read any of the books??
Let me know what you think below!