1. Find YOUR reason
Changing habits is always difficult, especially the ones that are so foreign to everything that we grew up with. For that reason, it is necessary to find a really good reason to make the switch.
Usually, the reasoning behind the switch to a vegan lifestyle falls under three categories: Health, Ethics and Environment.
2. Do your research
Now that you have found your reason to switch to a vegan diet, it is important to absorb as much information about it as possible. Read, watch documentaries and videos, debate with people, anything that will enable you to understand better the impact your choices have. This way, it will be easy for you to remember why you are doing this.
3. Think about replacing and not removing
It’s easy to go down the spiral of “I can’t eat this”, “I can’t eat that”. However, and referring to our own experience, we eat a wider variety of food now that we are vegan than when we weren’t. So, for anything that you take out, introduce something else. E.g.: Take out those scramble eggs and introduce yourself to the yummy tofu scramble. It tastes as delicious as the original one.
4. Start with easy substitutions
Following on the previous tip, start with easy swaps. E.g. Swap cow’s milk for soy or other vegetable milk; yoghurt for soy yoghurt (the Alpro vanilla one is to die for); minced meat for textured vegetable protein (same as soy mince).
5. Eat more vegetables and legumes
Yes, there is no way around this and it is not just variety. You can start to look at your vegetables differently. For example, up until we made the switch to a plant-based diet we would look at chickpeas as a side only, but now we are able to make delicious meals where it is the main ingredient.
6. Move at your own pace
We all have different paces and whilst some are able to go cold turkey and change overnight, others need a bit more time, and you know what - It is totally OK. What is important is the progress, there is no right way of doing it, so try to figure out what works for you and stick to it.
7. Explore dishes from cultures where animal protein is not so important
It has never been so easy to try cuisines from all around the world and there are some in which you can find plenty of vegetarian/vegan dishes, e.g. Chinese, Indian, Thai, Italian.
8. Plan some meals in advance and get your pantry ready.
Planning is the key to success, therefore, having some recipes in mind and filling your pantry with basics, such as beans, lentils, pasta and rice, will help you keep on track.
9. Keep an eye on macronutrients and vitamins
You should make sure that you are getting enough carbs, protein and healthy fats in ANY diet. In a vegan/plant-based diet, we recommend as well to take a supplement of vitamin B12, 250mcg/day.
10. Invest more in your cooking skills
The switch for a vegan diet can be a good reason for you to start cooking more. There are a lot of benefits in cooking your own food:
You will know exactly what goes in it, so you can control the sugar, the salt or any other additives.
It can be a very mindful activity
It will save you A LOT of money.
11. Follow social accounts dedicated to the vegan cause
Almost all of us have some sort of presence in a social network, so make your feed something from which you can get inspiration,
Examples: @plant.generation; @vegainstrength; @vegainsfood; @scorpionmind; @plant_based_superman; @biancazapatka
It’s ok to have cravings.
There are foods to which we have an emotional connection or that produce an addictive effect on the body - cheese, we are looking at you.
It’s ok to make mistakes
It’s easy to have hick-ups along the way, especially when things aren’t labelled correctly. Focus on the bigger picture and don’t let small things get in the way.
It’s necessary to give time to the body to adapt.
Changes in our body will happen, especially in our taste buds and gut flora, the latter will translate into some weird noises, but it will pass over time, we just need to let the body to readjust to the new food we are intaking.
The benefits of a plant-based diet only happen if we follow a balanced diet, mainly based on whole foods with very few processed foods on the side.
Veganism will be a journey which path isn’t always straight, but what matters is to get back on track every time and focus on the bigger outcome.
Article developed by Plant Generation https://simplesmentevegan.com/