I’ve been vegan for about two and a half years now and I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I often get asked by others how they can become vegan, which is understandable as it can be a pretty radical lifestyle change for many. Along the way I’ve picked up a bunch of top tips and tricks for succeeding at a vegan lifestyle. I’ve complied my top tips down below!
- Educate Yourself!
I cannot stress this point enough! There’s tons and tons of information out there about veganism, reasons to go vegan, what types of food to be incorporating into your diet, etc. Before going vegan I spent a while researching vegan diets and lifestyles, watching documentaries, reading articles, blogs, books and research studies. It’s important that you fully understand the reasons to go vegan and the benefits that come from it. It’s also important to understand any downsides that may arise in order for you to be able to avoid making those mistakes (e.g not eating enough variety of foods).
Some of the top watches/reads I can recommend:
- Forks over Knives
- The Best Speech Ever
- The China Study
- the 80/10/10 diet
- Skinny Bitch
2. The ‘right’ reasons
In the past year or so veganism has really blown up and some consider going vegan to be a ‘trend’. However, being vegan does not just refer to following a certain diet in order to loose weight or eat healthier, which is a current misconception. Following a vegan lifestyle means attempting to live your life in a manner which causes no harm to other living creatures. This includes not consuming animal products and also avoiding any products which have been made from or tested on animals (e.g leather, wool, animal tested makeup and products, etc).
If you are planning on going vegan in an attempt to ‘drop some weight’ or follow the current ‘trend’, the likelihood is that you’ll fall of the wagon pretty soon. Why? Well thinking of veganism as a ‘diet’ is just like cutting out a bunch of food groups from your diet, which is ultimately similar to restricting yourself. In order to be successful you must make the ethical connection between the food you’re consuming and what has to take place in order for it to end up on your plate!
3. Be prepared
It’s not always easy to find vegan options when you’re out and about so make sure you’re always prepared. Throwing some fruit, cereal bars, hummus and crackers, etc in your bag before heading out of the house can be a life saver in some hangryyy moments. Some of my favourite snacks to bring with me are PB and apple wedges, Eat Natural bars and smoothies.
4. Pre-check menus
Also, not all places are going to serve vegan-friendly food. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve turned up at a restaurant to find that they barely have vegetarian options, let alone vegan ones. Save yourself some serious disappointment by looking up the menu of the place beforehand to make sure that you’ll be able to guarantee at least one vegan-friendly dish. Be prepared to ask to exclude or replace certain ingredients on menu items to make them fully vegan (what’s up with putting cheese on EVERYTHING???). Or, in an emergency situation you may find yourself pulling together a few side dishes on the menu to make up a substantial meal (queue plates of rice, chips and roasted veggies). Worst case scenario, you could always eat before heading out!
5. Be open minded
Being open minded when transitioning to a vegan diet is a pretty important and I mean this in a number of ways. Firstly, being open minded about food and trying new things. You never liked mushrooms? Give that sucker another chance! Secondly, being open minded towards others opinions. Understand that not everyone will agree with your lifestyle changes and try not be offended. Wanting to tell others about the horrors of the meat industry and health benefits of plant-based food is natural for those who discover the information. But try not to be pushy or aggressive with your new-found knowledge, this will make others reject the information you’re trying to feed them. Instead, try leading by example!
6. Frozen fruits are your bffs
Freeze your fruit people!! Buy fruit in bulk when they’re in season and once ripe, cut them up and portion them out into freezer bags. Keep them in the freezer ready to pull out whenever you’re in need of fruit. Freeze berries when they’re in season during summer and pull them out when you’re craving a berry crumble during winter. Freeze bananas in bulk and use them to whip up banana ice cream. Use frozen fruits in smoothies or slushies. Whatever your preference, frozen fruits are a great thing to have on hand.
7. Eating enough
Plant based foods such as fruits and veggies are far higher in water-content and less calorie dense than animal products which tend to be far higher in fat and calories. Therefore, you tend to have to eat bigger portions of plant based food to ensure you’re eating enough calories to sustain yourself. Many times people who shift from an omnivore diet to a vegan diet complain that they feel hungry too often. Take this as a sign of needing to eat more!
8. Eat the right stuff
Whilst shifting to a vegan diet it’s important to ensure that you’re eating enough variety of foods to make sure you’re taking in all the essential vitamins and minerals needed. Removing animal products from your diet means you’ll need to incorporate new plant sources of calcium, protein, iron, magnesium, etc, which are all commonly found in animal products. Instead, include more whole plant foods such as fruits, grains, nut/seeds, leafy greens, beans and grains, which are all rich in lean plant proteins and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals!
9. Do not count calories! (count goodness)
Following on from previous points, if you’re eating a plant based diet of good quality whole foods, there is absolutely no reason to be counting calories! Focus solely on the nutritious value of the food which you are putting into your body and I promise you that you will see and feel the difference in no time! By cutting out fat and cholesterol heavy animal foods, it should be easy to maintain a lean, healthy weight without the need to restrict or count calories. So, just relax and let your body do its thang!
10. Find alternatives
You’re two weeks into your attempt at a vegan lifestyle and you’re missing that oh-so-juicy cheeseburger you used to eat every week and BAM before you know what hit you you’re scoffing down three Big Macs at your local Mcdonalds. Its normal to crave certain foods if you’ve spent your entire life eating them. The trick is to find alternative, vegan-friendly options to replace them. There are thousands of amazing vegan products out there. From insanely creamy ice cream and ooey-gooey cheese, to mock meats that look and taste so much like the real deal, you won’t be able to tell the difference. Just because you go vegan doesn’t mean you have to cut out burgers, cheese sandwiches and ice-cream sundaes from your life forever! So just get out there and scour the shops for cruelty-free versions of all your favourties and save yourself from another dairy-induced coma when you relapse from attempting to cut cheese out of your life forever.
11. cold turkey
Lastly, there’s no ‘right’ way to transition to a vegan diet. There is no need to go cold turkey and cut out all animal products overnight, in fact many people even discourage this (even though that’s exactly what I did and succeeded in). Some people prefer the idea of slowly weaning themselves off dairy and eggs or increasingly adding a larger number of plant-based meals to their diet. Find whatever works best for you personally and stick to it!
So there you have it, my top tips for going vegan! Remember, there are no ‘rights’ or ‘wrongs’ when going vegan and everyone is going to find a way to transition that suits them best. Ignore the opinions of those who try to resist your attempts to make healthier choices for yourself, the animals and the planet, they will only pull you down. Surround yourself with likeminded people who will offer you support if you need it and bring positive vibes into your life!
Still have questions or need extra support? Email me at email@example.com or message me on instagram!