So you’re thinking about going vegan...
There are so many benefits to becoming a plant foodie--lower risk of heart disease, potential weight loss, a sustainable living among others--that there’s no wonder why many people are dropping animal products from their diets and turning to the greens.
But when you decide to turn cold turkey… It can be a challenge.
Animal products--meat, eggs, cheese--have always been considered the staples of the American diet. How can you turn so suddenly?
Here are some tips for an easier transition.
Start Simple With Salads
If you’ve heard the sneers from vegan critics, you’ve probably also heard the stereotype that all vegans eat are salads. Luckily the community itself has gone so far to prove that wrong, finding new and interesting ways to cook vegetables into piping hot comfort meals.
...But they also caught us: we do love a good salad.
Hear us out. Salads are one of the best ways to introduce yourself to a plant-based lifestyle because it’s already familiar. An easy way to get your veggies in? A crisp, crunchy salad in the summer? Count everyone in--no matter the diet.
Unless you’re someone who’s only had those sad, pre-packaged salads of limp lettuce and a tomato or two in an attempt to lose weight. In which case, we’re so sorry you had to have that experience.
But we promise - you can make a good, loaded salad (without meat!) taste divine.
Roast some chickpeas to add a crunch! Add avocado because… Avocado! Try your hand at a homemade vinaigrette!
If you think we’re trying to get you stoked on salads of all things, you’re reading this right. The point is: we want you to get excited about a bowl full of vegetables, and prove that you can have a loaded meal without the standard meat as the “main dish.”
Moreover: we’re proving that veggies don’t have to be boring.
Protein: It’s Possible
“But what about protein,” you’ll hear critics shout from the rooftops, “what about omega-3’s and iron!”
Yes, those are so important to a well balanced diet. And if you’re prone to anemia, or suffer protein deficiency--that’s a conversation you should have with your doctor.
But… We’ll also argue right back because there are definitely plants that offer all three of those.
Kale has more iron per calorie than beef. Chia seeds and brussel sprouts are champions of omega-3 fatty acids, with an ounce of chia alone giving you 307-447% of your daily value. Lentils offer a whopping 18 grams of protein per cup.
Need we say more?
There are plenty of plant based foods to support a balanced diet. Just be sure to do your research.
Remember to try and consume some form of protein with every meal and--again--talk to your doctor about what vitamins you can boost in your diet to maintain a healthier you if necessary.
Find Your Community
Maybe you have a friend or family member that’s trying to go vegan too, or someone in your circle that already is.
These are some great resources to bounce ideas off (what’s the best vegan chocolate bar you’ve found?), and we recommend keeping them!
But what if you’re really the first in your community to try this whole vegan thing out?
It can be scary doing anything alone.
Luckily… You’re not. You have the internet.
That may sound cheesy, but it’s incredible how many supportive communities you’ll find online. Whether it’s finding advice in a group like Becoming Vegan Worldwide, binging Youtube videos for tricks, or just simply searching “vegan recipes” on Pinterest for inspiring food blogs--you’ll find a plethora of information catering to both beginners and experts.
Finding a community to support you is vital, and even… Well. Inspiring.
You may have just be starting this journey, but trust us: you’re not the only one who has, and came out of it feeling better than ever.
Look At Plants In A New Light
When you’re browsing recipes, you might come across quite a few substitution ideas. Think: jackfruit “pulled pork” sandwiches, or watermelon “ahi tuna” poke.
Finding ways to cook plants that taste like your favorite meaty meals? Yes, please!
While the vegan community has certainly evolved its cooking in an incredible way… Let’s slow down and and consider a couple of things here:
- These recipes may get you hyped for a meal that tastes just like Grandma’s meatballs, until you take a bite and realize… They don’t. Because they’re not made of ground pork, they’re made of lentils. Your disappointment is palpable to everyone in your home.
- It’s not a meatball. And we have to learn that that is perfectly fine.
In no way are we saying that these substitution recipes aren’t delicious, or that they’re not okay. Veganism just requires looking at food in an entirely new way. To see a grilled cauliflower “steak” as the main course without looking at it as a steak substitute.
Our entire mindframe has to shift from thinking that we have to replace meat and animal products… Into accepting plants as they are in their pure, delicious forms.
Until vegan steak can taste exactly like the real thing, without using any harmful or environment-polluting ingredients… We gotta advocate for plants being the stars.
Go At Your Own Speed
How many times have you tried a new diet, only to slip up and--rather than accept the mistake and move on, you feel discouraged and quit?
Some people will switch to veganism overnight, and that’s terrific.
Some may take a little more time, and that’s okay too.
Yes, we want to be environmentally friendly and challenge you to make better choices for yourself and the planet sooner rather than later. But this is also a lifestyle change that’s gonna feel tough because it’s new!
We recommend you go at your own pace--and make it positive.
Instead of thinking about all of the foods you suddenly can’t have, think about all of the new exciting vegan products you get to try!
Slowly but surely, you’ll load your cabinets and refrigerator up with vegan alternatives until--what do you know!--you’ve had a full vegan day.
And then a week.
And then a month.