People go vegan for a variety of reasons, for ethical reasons, for health reasons, for the experience. The basis of being vegan is to consume and use foods and items which are 100% plant-based and to avoid all activities that support animal abuse and exploitation.
However, switching to a healthy vegan diet is not simply a matter of removing animal foods, you need to widen the variety of fruits, and vegetables, in your daily diet. Here are a few tips to help you transition into your new lifestyle.
• Become friends with fellow vegans or join a Facebook group to stay motivated, learn recipes, discover new local restaurants, and get inspiration when you need it.
• Start a food journal and analyze what foods you want to start removing from your diet and the pace at which you plan to transition to veganism. Start by removing meat, then slowly remove milk and egg products from your meals.
• Animal Product alternatives are easy to find in your local grocery stores: almond milk, fruits, vegetables, grains, and some meat substitutes can be found in the frozen section.
• Learn what foods are okay to eat and become aware of the number of CARBS you’re eating. Carbs are plentiful in HCLF (high carb, low-fat) diets, and include fruit, veggies, legumes, nuts and some soy products. Often, when people transition to veganism, they consume more carbs than they used to, causing weight gain and elevated blood sugar levels.
• Learn your supplements: Becoming vegan means certain vitamins will be inaccessible via food. So supplements such as vitamin D, B12, iron, and omegas must be taken in addition to creating a balanced diet.
• Stay educated! The more you know about the benefits, and how you are helping save the planet, the more likely you will be willing to engage in it and push through the difficult times.
• Read labels… There are many vegan snacks that you can buy, however, non-vegan (but vegetarian) products will try to sneak into foods that you thought were animal-free!
• Find out Your why. There are different vegan diets depending what and how they eat. Here are a few examples of the top reasons for transitioning to veganism:
- Raw Vegan: their purpose is to live a healthy lifestyle, however not only do they avoid animal products, they also do not consume foods that are cooked above a temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) in order to preserve the nutrients in their food. Raw vegans also try to avoid all processed and refined foods.
- Plant-Based Vegan: the purpose of this lifestyle is to benefit their health. Only consume foods from the ground, tries to avoid all processed or greasy foods. Their focus here is to promote healthy living.
- Ethical Vegan: ethical vegans do not partake in consuming animal products nor wearing any products that harmed any animals in order to be produced. Cosmetics, fur, and circuses are all some of the things that vegans try to avoid. They do not support the exploitation of animals whatsoever.
- Junk Food Vegan: junk food vegans also care for animals and eat whatever they wish, as long as no animals were harmed. Not the healthiest route, but the purpose here is purely ethical while avoiding any drastic lifestyle changes.
As a new vegan, the important thing is to give your best effort. Over time you will become more comfortable with your lifestyle and gradually learn to eliminate the less obvious ingredients as well.