Over the past couple of years, I’d been leaning toward to a vegan diet and about six months ago I took the plunge and didn’t look back. I feel great! What’s changed between now and then? Check out the list below. Here are six steps that have helped me make the final transition, and can hopefully help you either transition to a vegan diet, or take steps to reduce the amount of animal products in your diet.
Follow Vegan Blogs
There are hundreds of vegan blogs available on the internet. Like them on Facebook, or better yet, subscribe to them via email to receive renewed motivation for your vegan diet. Many send out regular posts with vegan recipes to try, introducing other vegans and with hints and tips for a vegan lifestyle. By engaging with these pages by commenting , you will also find a sense of community, support and belonging. Here are just some of the blogs I love and follow.
Keep it Simple
Some of the best recipes are the easiest. It is easy to get overwhelmed by all the fancy ingredients and substitutes for once vegan meals, but if you keep it simple to start with, your transition will be easier. Think apples with almond butter for breakfast, or traditional favourites you never realised were vegan until now such as a pasta with a tomato based sauce, or a stir fry. Once you find a few go-to items for each meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks), stick to them for a while so you feel comfortable.
Believe in Your Choices
If you have unwavering belief that your decision to be a vegan is the healthiest, kindest or greenest choice, believe it and stick with it. You can also actively seek out other resources that will affirm your beliefs or convince you of new ways that a vegan diet is best. There are many documentaries and books available. Borrow some from the library, purchase them, or view them online – many are free too! Once you truly believe there is no better way, every day choices become easy.
Sure, every vegan wishes that everyone else in the world was vegan and it is easy to begin preaching to people yourself too. Most of the time, preaching involves telling people how bad animal products are. But shocking people and focusing on negative things in my experience rarely wins people over. Likewise, constantly defending your lifestyle choice can be tiring. Try to get people to worry about themselves, and focus on yourself. What wins people over is positivity, happiness and being an example of glowing health.
It isn’t until you decide to go vegan that you realise that animal based products – especially eggs, dairy and butter, are in in everything! At least it seems that way, until you realise it is just the standard Western diet that contains so many animal products. Asian cuisine like Japanese, Chinese and Thai food are often vegan, and so is Indian food (just watch the ghee). This doesn’t just apply to eating out either. Visit your local oriental store for heaps of vegan recipe ideas and ingredients.
Progress not Perfection
Every now and again, I discover that something I’ve eaten wasn’t vegan, or sometimes people fall off the bandwagon and eat cheese or milk chocolate. If this happens, dust yourself off, and get back on the vegan train. Feeling guilty (or criticising others who aren’t 100% vegan, 100% of the time) does no good for the cause. We live in an imperfect world, so you should be proud of progress, and not demand perfection of yourself.
I remember once hearing that Ellen and Portia had an all vegan feast at their wedding and thinking that sounded so bizarre and weird (even though I’ve practically been a vegetarian for the last 10 years) and that I couldn’t possibly imagine what they would have eaten. Of course, now that I’ve embraced this lifestyle it feels normal, and is a piece of cake. But, it can be daunting, and it is definitely not mainstream so if you’re not sure where to start, or feeling a bit overwhelmed, hopefully these tips will help you in your transition.
Tell me, if you’re a seasoned vegan, what are your tips?