We all know that veganism is often viewed as a trend or even an exclusive event just for the rich. But the truth is, veganism has been around as long as we have, and a plant-based diet can be available to everyone. That’s not to say that everyone should be on a vegan diet, but if you’re on this journey and want to make a long-term commitment to it, you need help getting started.
With so many different resources online, it’s pretty easy to get lost and misinformation is common making it all the easier to give up veganism entirely. For this reason, we’ve put some starter tips aside to help you transition to a vegan lifestyle stick.
Find your reasons: Some people go vegan because they want to speak out against cruelty to animals, others because they want to get healthier and see this as the right way to go, and others because a plant-based diet has an impact on the climate. Finding that reasoning within you will help you stick to your decision when the temptations arise.
Be aware that this does not mean that you make it your life’s work to tell everyone your reason for being vegan, and that it is in no way better or more desirable to be vegan for a reason. Simply put, your reflections are for you, and you should find the ones that resonate with you the most. This is why many experts suggest that this should be the first step you take before embarking on a vegan path, especially if you are aiming for a vegan life.
Take one step at a time: Many people see veganism as a big step, and then they take that big step and cut out all animal products at once. This is a pretty radical approach, and it’s not very practical. The reason is that it simply takes time to adjust to the lifestyle. Just eating a cold turkey will not provide you with the recipes you need, the nutritional knowledge you need, and general guidelines to help you. A better approach is to start slowly reducing your meat and dairy intake. Try swapping the protein in some of your favorite dishes and getting used to the taste of vegan food without making the big leap.
As you gradually swap out more and more non-vegan foods, you won’t even notice that your diet is changing and it is more likely that it will persist. That being said, doing a little is much better than doing nothing. If you cut your meat intake by half a year over half a year, you’ll do a lot more after you’ve been completely vegan for a month and then returned to your normal omnivorous diet.
Learn some nutrition: No, you don’t have to be a registered nutritionist to enjoy a balanced diet, but you do need to learn some basics. This is not because it is difficult to eat a balanced vegan diet, but because most people simply cut out animal products when switching, without compensating for this with other products. You may want to research some veggie omega-3 supplements that are non-animal based and that will help you compensate for nutrients you may be lacking. Getting plant-based advice from a registered dietitian the beginning of your trip will help you start on the right foot and put one leg up.
Learn the recipes: When you start eating vegan, your first instinct may be to take some of your favorite dishes and just remove animal products from them. This makes you feel hungry and unsatisfied. The step of this would be to replace the meat in the dishes with something like soy or mushrooms. But it all just plays with being vegan. If you get involved, you’ll find a whole new world of foods and dishes that aren’t about meat and protein. They are dishes that are vegan at their core and are so much more satisfying than any “modified” dish.
Check out curries, stews, baked goods, and salads. There is a whole world of amazing food that you don’t even think about if your standard meat is the standard you will be so glad you found it and with the advent of cooking websites and TV shows today the best is resourceful Time with vegan recipes than at any other point in history. Make sure to use this to your advantage.
Connect with the community: If everyone around you is omnivorous, and especially if they have prejudice against vegans, you may find it difficult to maintain the lifestyle around them. The easiest way to do this is to connect with others in the vegan community and create a support system that will keep you where you want to be. Make sure any community you connect with is a shame-free zone, where no one feels as bad as if you are not a “perfect vegan”.
Find a place to ask questions, get support, and learn things that will help you go vegan. If you ever encounter shame or stigma in the community (and don’t get around the bush, there can be a lot of them), you should go and find a more acceptable place.
In the end, you need to remember that your values are more important than your labels. What are your values as a vegan? These are some of the most important questions to ask yourself as you embark on a lifetime vegan journey. Even though it may seem like you can’t grapple with something, it is getting a lot easier to go down a vegan route today as there are plenty of resources, recipes, and supplements out there.
All of the information is out there and the means by which you can achieve your goal of staying on a healthy vegan path for your entire life. This is a really wonderful journey that many people should at least try to stick with it.