“Oh, I could never go vegan!”
“But don’t you miss chocolate?”
“I love cheese way too much to ever be vegan.”
“Bacon is so good though…”
“I don’t think I could ever give up eggs.”
I’m here to tell you that you can go vegan, without missing out on any of those foods you used to love!
After many requests, I have written this post to help those who are interested in/wanting to become a vegan, but don’t know where to start. So let’s start with part one – ‘Food Transitioning.’
There’s no easy way around this. While some can go completely vegan overnight, for most people, this process takes time. But the easiest way to do it, without becoming overwhelmed or too restrictive (so that you end up just quitting) is to gradually eliminate animal products from your life. I highly recommend becoming vegetarian (eliminating meat from your diet) before considering a vegan lifestyle, and then easing your way into it.
Gradually begin to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, plant-based milks, whole grains and lentils into your diet and get rid of the bigger things first, like milk, eggs and cheese. Spend a few months focusing on these animal products and then you’ll find that it’s easier to eliminate some of the more specific ingredients (things like gelatine, honey, casein, whey, lactose, carmine, lard, collagen, specific colours and preservatives etc.). As I said, there’s really no easy way to do this. The first few months you’ll probably spend a lot of time reading the ingredients on the back of packages and asking a million questions every time you go out to eat, but that’s okay! It get’s easier.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of my top tips to make transitioning easier.
- DO YOUR RESEARCH!
This is my biggest tip for you. Before you go vegan, do your research. You can find a tonne of fantastic websites, books, documentaries and social media accounts in my Resources tab that will be extremely beneficial. But do your own research too! Studies show that people who go vegan for ethical/environmental reasons stay vegan for longer (often their entire life) than people who become vegan for health/dietary reasons. Look into the environmental benefits of eating a vegan diet (you will be amazed!), how we can end poverty through eating vegan and of course, the extreme pain, suffering and torture animals go through for human consumption and pleasure. You need to open your eyes to this stuff. I was extremely emotional, angry and passionate when I first began my vegan lifestyle. You probably will be too. Good!
- YOU CAN’T SWAP MEAT FOR VEGAN MEAT PRODUCTS!
There are multiple ways of eating on a vegan diet. Again, you’ll need to research this stuff. But eating vegan is all about trial and error. Look into ways of eating such as 80/10/10, raw till 4, the starch solution and raw vegan. I experimented with a few of these lifestyles before figuring out what worked for me. I simply believe in eating unprocessed, plant based foods. 90% of my diet is made up of fruits and vegetables, with the other 10(ish)% coming from whole grains (brown rice, pasta, wraps etc.) and lentils/legumes. I do love veggie burgers, veggie sausages and a selection of other vegan “meats” but you cannot swap out a piece of chicken breast for a “mock” chicken fillet. (NOTE: Some veggie burgers are unprocessed and totally fine to eat regularly!) Most fake meats are processed and full of chemicals, sugars and preservatives. Swap out your meats for whole grains, a sweet potato or more vegetables! Fake meat products are great for the occasional burger or barbecue, but I would not recommend eating them regularly.
- DON’T FEEL GUILTY!
If you slip up, don’t go hating on yourself. The amount of products to avoid can initially be quite overwhelming, and sometimes you just accidentally eat something with an animal by-product in it without being aware (this has happened to me many times). Just don’t beat yourself up about it. It happens. Think of it this way: You’re doing more for the animals and the planet than the average human is, so one slip up won’t hurt. Since becoming vegan, I’ve noticed that it’s the people who aren’t vegan that criticise me the most. When I first went vegan, I remember ordering a pizza without cheese only to find that when it was delivered, the cheese had not been removed. I didn’t want to waste it, so I ate it. And boy, the uproar from my “non-vegan” friends was insane! My vegan friends on the other hand, couldn’t have cared less. They knew what it was like to transition, and to slip up. It happens! Relax.
- HAVE FUN!
Try out some new recipes, find some cool vegan cafes (Cherry Darlings Bakehouse is my all time favourite), do a big grocery shop and fill your pantry with yummy vegan food, ! If you live in Adelaide, make a trip to Everything Vegan (link here) and stock up on some vegan goodies. They have an incredible range of vegan foods (think chocolate, lollies, pastas, drinks, fake meat products, pantry supplies, skin care etc.) that will get you excited about being vegan!
- JUST DO IT!
Seriously, all you have to do is do it. Make the decision and give it your best shot. It’s that easy!
I hope this has helped spark your interest in veganism. Please privately contact me if you want to know more about becoming vegan, or have any other questions.