It was four years ago that my journey to becoming a vegan began. It all started with me reading Food Inc. and immediately after I decided to become a vegan. I went home trashed all of my meats, poultry, and dairy items. Sadly, I didn’t know the proper steps to take to make my transition a lasting one (only lasted a week). Since then I became a “practicing vegan” and just a few months ago made the transition to being a full vegan. In this post I will share what “little” steps to take to have a successful and FUN transition to the vegan lifestyle. Remember there is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs!
First Step: Finding a strong “Why”
Find a strong reason why you want to transition to the vegan lifestyle. The hard core truth is you’ll deal with a lot of criticism not only from strangers but from people you love which can be the hardest to take. If you have a deep believe that this journey is one you want to embark on no critic or nay-sayer will stray you away. So do you want better health? Do you want to feel more connected to nature and Life around you? Do you want to save animals? Do you want to fight against climate change? If you said yes to any of these questions these are good enough reasons to go vegan, but only you know what will give you the biggest sense of meaning and motivation to remain a vegan for life.
Second Step: Know what a Vegan lifestyle consists of.
Simply put a vegan lifestyle excludes anything that comes from animals. While this means there is lots of options open for you such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts…anything else thats boxed and not clearly labeled Vegan you must then read the ingredient list (which can get a little confusing). The list found here can help you screen the ingredients to be certain that the product is fully vegan. Doing so yourself will train you to get better acquainted with ingredients, but if thats not an extra step you’d like to make a quick google “Is —— vegan?” will also help. Lastly, it is important for me to mention that B-12 is one vitamin that occurs naturally through animal foods, which helps with keeping the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, so deficiencies can lead to tiredness, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss (the bad kind), nerve problems, and depression. Since you can become deficient in B-12 while being vegan you can find B-12 in capsule form, injections, or liquid form at your local Vitamin Shoppe, Target, CVS, drugstores, or online. Moving on to step three..
Third Step: Begin replacing your favorite non-vegan foods.
What do you mainly love to eat? Is it candy? Steak? A morning protein smoothie? Whatever it may be, begin by replacing that animal-based product to a plant based one. For example, I used to love drinking 1% milk so I switched to drinking vanilla unsweetened almond milk. Cheese can be a huge factor in a lot of recipes so I began experimenting with non-dairy cheese, and to my surprise I found Trader Joe’s almond cheese to be delicious! There are lots of brands and vegan options so you just have to look for one you enjoy. Replacing your favorite animal-based products is the quickest way to a vegan lifestyle!
Fourth Step: Find easy and fun recipes to try.
You can find a ton of vegan recipes online, through Instagram, or vegan cookbooks. Also, just by recreating your favorite recipes with plant based products you’ll find that going vegan isn’t as big a hassle as people make it out to be!
Fifth Step: Look for Vegan events to attend!
Attending vegan events will make you realize that you are not alone in your journey. It will also help you mingle with other vegans and hopefully make new foodie friends! At the beginning of my vegan journey my roommate would make fun of my eating ways, while this was discouraging at the the time he thankfully came around (after watching What The Health) and now we go visit vegan restaurants, and events together. I didn’t know just how huge of a difference it would make to have that support system and I would hate for anyone else to feel like they are alone. Look online and see if there are support groups in your area, vegan events happening, or check out meetup.com for local vegan meet ups. If there aren’t any near your area don’t be afraid to make your own! After all, being Vegan means you’re a Leader!
Final Step: Know that you are making a difference!
For whatever reason, if you are feeling discouraged in your journey know that you are making a difference! Did you know that by switching to being free of meat, dairy, and eggs you are saving more carbon emissions than driving a Prius? How much more? 50% more! Did you know that by being vegan just one day you’ve helped save 1100 gallons of water, 40lbs of grain, 30 sq ft of forest, 20 lbs of Co2 and 1 animal live? See the massive difference you’ve made through your vegan journey with this Vegan Calculator.
If Ariana Grande, Ellen DeGeneres, Miley Cyrus, Casey Affleck, Russell Simmons, Carrie Underwood (among many others) can do it, so can we!
You may have noticed that instead of using the word diet I’ve replaced it with lifestyle, and that is exactly what this change will be…a lifestyle change. So don’t get discouraged if you fall off the path at times, you have a whole lifetime to make the full transition to being vegan. However, once you are fully vegan you will feel healthier and more energized than ever! You’ll be questioning why you didn’t make the change earlier!
Please comment below any thoughts , questions, concerns, or simply share!