Thinking of Going Vegan? Read This First!
Have you been thinking about giving the vegan lifestyle a try? Maybe you’ve been wanting to for quite some time, but you’ve always felt a little overwhelmed with the thought of completely changing your eating habits.
Don’t worry and don’t stress - we have you covered! Today we’re sharing our top five tips for going vegan for beginners.
Tips for Starting a Vegan Lifestyle
Make changes at your own pace.
First off, kudos to you! Whether you’re going vegan for health benefits, personal beliefs, or just to learn and try something new, it’s an exciting decision! But don’t be fooled into thinking your diet has to do a complete 180 overnight. If you’re someone who consumes animal products frequently, it might be difficult, physically and mentally, to eliminate everything all at once. Your body might have to adjust to different nutrient sources, and you might feel restricted and overwhelmed quickly. If veganism is a lifestyle, you’re looking to try long-term, slow and steady wins the face. Try cutting out different animal products or choosing alternatives over a week or two as you start your journey.
Figure out what you already like!
Make a list of fruits, vegetables, and plant-based dishes and snacks that you already love (there’s probably more out there than you think!)
Apples, peanut butter, carrots and hummus, grilled veggies, chips and salsa, guacamole, stir fry, salsa, zucchini noodles, pasta...yum! The list goes on and on. Don’t think about veganism as a restrictive diet. Implementing a vegan lifestyle is about incorporating more fresh produce into your diet, and it’s a chance to be creative. Vegan recipes, even for your favorite foods, can be found across the internet as well as social media.
Prioritize whole foods.
When you’re walking down the freezer aisle, you’ll notice some delicious-looking vegan goodies: vegan chocolate chip cookies? Waffles? Ice cream? Impossible burgers? Options galore! But be careful; when making the switch to veganism, it’s tempting to replace your old favorite foods with premade vegan alternatives. Although these dishes and treats are great to have handy on busy days, make sure they’re your occasional treat rather than the bulk of your diet. Processed foods, vegan or not, often contain ingredients that ideally we should minimize our consumption of, especially sodium.
Take your supplements.
Studies have shown that a plant-based or vegan diet provides many health benefits, but supplements will be essential. Try to optimize your diet with b12, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron supplements. Please consult with a licensed physician regarding your vegan journey so they can provide professional expertise and insights specific to you and your body.
Unfortunately, lifestyle changes might come with unwarranted or negative opinions from those around you. When starting your vegan journey, remember why you’re trying this (and there is no wrong answer!) Whether you’re doing it for health, the environment, animals, or temporarily just to learn, there are plenty of people out there who are in the same boat as you. Do vegan your way, and if you need support, the internet is filled with vegan bloggers and online social media groups to guide you along the way. Maybe stop by a local vegan eatery and make some new friends while swapping recipe ideas!