Wednesday, April 19

How To Go Vegan In 8 Simple Steps

Not sure where to start when embarking on a vegan lifestyle? Read on to learn the basics.

What Is A Vegan - How To Go Vegan In 8 Simple Steps
One of the most common questions that I get asked as a vegan is, "Where do I start?" It can be overwhelming when you're trying to ditch the S.A.D. (standard American diet) way of eating and switch to a plant-based way of eating or a full vegan lifestyle. Here are 8 simple steps to get you started:


Figure out why you want to be vegan.


Is it because you love animals? If so watch 'Earthlings' and read 'Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement' by Peter Singer. Is it because you want to lessen your environmental impact? Watch 'Cowspiracy' and read 'Diet for a Small Planet (20th Anniversary Edition)' by Frances Moore Lappe. For your health? Watch 'Forks Over Knives' and read 'Skinny Bitch' by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin and 'The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health' by Thomas Campbell and T. Colin Campbell. Remember your reason when things feel difficult.

Replace your old food and products with vegan alternatives as you use them up.


When transitioning to a vegan lifestyle you do not have to throw away all your old food, clothes, hygiene products, etc. right away (although you certainly can if you have the means to replace everything in one go). For most people it makes more sense to replace things as they get used. This can also help ease you into the transition process.


Read labels, always. 


You may be surprised by some things which are not vegan (certain hash browns can contain milk products, for example) and by many things which are vegan (Oreos!). Be sure to always read the label to know for sure. With apps such as 'IsItVegan' you can scan the barcode and easily find out if the item is in fact vegan. Be aware that if a package says "May contain milk/eggs" this does not necessarily mean it's not vegan. It is an allergen warning and means that the product was made in a facility which produces products containing milk and/or eggs.


Embrace veggie meats, or don't.


Veggie meats can be a great way to easily transition to a vegan diet while still eating familiar foods. There is an alternative for everything now-a-days from veggie burgers galore, vegan shrimp, scallops, turk'y (breaded, deli, roast), chick'n (nuggets, patties, strips), the list goes on. There are also tons of different kinds of nut milks (my favorite is cashew), "nice creams", dairy-free yogurts, and vegan cheeses. Experiment and find what you like best. But don't feel like you HAVE to eat these items to be a vegan. You can eat a very healthy and cheaper diet by focusing around grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.


Experiment and find new recipes you love!


There are loads of amazing vegan cook books out there. 'Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck' is my favorite for a vegan cookbook that appeals to non-vegan taste buds (they now have several other cookbooks as well which I am dying to get and test out the recipes of!). 'The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks' Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets' will cover all your breakfast and dessert baking needs. For a whole-food plant based approach "Forks Over Knives - The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year" is a staple. Get FREE vegan cook books with Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial! Pinterest is a godsend for vegan recipes (try looking up any kind of food and add the word vegan to it, there's sure to be a recipe for it!). Get creative and experiment with all the new foods you get to enjoy.

Take a supplement.


When first beginning a completely new diet you might have holes in your nutrition. Although you can get all the nutrition you need from a plant-based diet, taking a supplement will ensure that you're getting all the vitamin B12 and other vitamins you need during the learning curve. Here's an affordable one to cover all your bases: Deva Vegan Multivitamin

Embrace the vegan community.


There are tons of Facebook groups dedicated to vegan topics, forums, and other social media. You can learn so much by becoming friends with other vegans and it'll also help keep you motivated when you feel like your friends and family don't understand. Contrary to what some may believe vegans are generally a very friendly bunch and are quick to embrace new vegans to the fold.

Don't beat yourself up over mistakes.


Being a vegan in a non-vegan world can be tricky, mistakes will happen. Remember those hash browns with milk I mentioned? Yeah, I accidentally bought those. In fact on the day I wrote this blog post I ordered Starbucks' special Unicorn Frappuccino with almond milk and no whip thinking it would be vegan. Nope, the blue drizzle had dairy in it and I didn't find out until after I drank it. It's a bummer but no one is perfect. Just make sure to learn from your mistakes and do better next time.

How To Go Vegan In 8 Simple Steps

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