Thinking of going vegan? These tips can ease you into veganism and help you make a good lifestyle change!

Humans are naturally omnivores. If you have been an omnivore all your life, it might seem impossible to just stop one day. Switching from a diet of eating everything to not eating meat, fish, dairy, etc., to only eating plant-based items can be a drastic change. It can be difficult, but if you make a gradual change, you can stick to your diet successfully.

Going vegan is not just about dietary change. Many people don’t know that veganism is a philosophy. It is a set of beliefs that people follow, mainly for ethical reasons. Others go vegan just to eat clean.

If you want to make a dietary and lifestyle change, you must first understand what it means to fully go vegan.

What Is Veganism?

When we farm animals for food, even something such as a dairy farm, we are using animals against their consent to serve human purposes. Being vegan means that you live a lifestyle that prohibits any kind of exploitation of animals. So, you will need to avoid food, clothing, or any other product derived from animals.

Many people go vegan for their ethical beliefs or to protect the environment. Did you know that planned cattle farming and other such animal-based farms do a lot of damage to the environment? By going vegan, many people take a stance against such practices. They hope that someday it will discourage producers from making animal-based products.

Some people simply go vegan for health concerns, as they believe that plant-based diets are healthier than mixed diets. They avoid eating protein like meat, eggs, fish, dairy, etc, and choose alternatives like soy or nut-based proteins.

Whatever your reason might be, if you are persistent and determined to make the change, you can. The following helpful tips can make it easier for you to switch to a healthy vegan diet and help you stick to it.

Start Slow

  • Don’t quit being an omnivore cold turkey, take your time with it. Slowly reduce the amount of animal protein you eat. For example, you can start with not eating red meat. The gradual decrease can help your body get eased into this lifestyle, without you having to face severe withdrawal.
  • Even while you are still not fully vegan, start adding vegan products to your diet. For example, if you love eating fried chicken, try its vegan alternative. You can try it at a restaurant, look for it in the vegan section of a convenience store, or look for it online.
  • As veganism is still a niche diet, you will not find decent vegan food in every restaurant. So, try to cook your vegan food. Look for blogs that post vegan recipes and try them out. Looking for vegan recipes? Explore picky eater recipes for some delicious vegan items to add to your meal plan!
  • Cut out food you don’t like first. They are easy to avoid, and you won’t miss them. You can gradually decrease one item at a time. Consider becoming vegetarian first. Increasing vegetables in your diet will help you get used to the taste.
  • Don’t quit veganism if you are not good at cooking vegan food. Just order online and enjoy your healthy meal prep without making any extra efforts.

Figure Out Why You Want To Go Vegan

Ask yourself, why do you want to go vegan? Is it because you find eating meat and other such items ethically wrong? Are you disgusted by the cruelty, unfair farming, and killing of animals that goes into creating animal-derived products?

If it is about belief, use that disgust to fuel your determination to stick to veganism. If your love for animals and desire for justice is stronger than your pull towards animal-based food, you will easily be able to fight off withdrawal symptoms or any urge to eat them.

Remember that you will need to avoid items like toiletries, beauty products, etc., that have hidden animal-based ingredients. Learn to read every label carefully.

If you are simply changing to veganism as a dietary preference, consider other options if you are facing difficulties. Many diets help you avoid red meat, pork, etc. while keeping some healthy food items like fish and eggs. Other diets you can try include vegetarian, pescetarian, ovo-lacto-vegetarian, etc.

Don’t Focus On What You Can’t Have

When you ask people about whether they can ever go vegan, the first thing they will say is that they can’t live without cheese, milk, bacon, and other such items. This is because when people think of veganism, they choose to focus on what they cannot eat.

When you are focusing on what you can’t have, it becomes difficult to be happy with things you can have. For example, nuts, chocolate, fruits, coffee, etc are all delicious plant-based food. You can enjoy these items and still be vegan, long as you choose the plant-based option for processed food like chocolate, milk, and even cheese!

Focusing on lack will only bring longing. If you focus on tasty vegan food that you can have, you won’t miss the items you can’t have.

Focus On Your Nutritional Needs

When you are an omnivore, you have a variety of items that add nutrition to your diet. We generally don’t give a thought to where the nutrients are coming from. When you go vegan, you must focus on nutrition; otherwise, you will miss out on some vital nutrients your body needs.

Malnutrition can be a dangerous thing, so you must figure out your nutritional need profile before you can fully become vegan. You can work together with your physician to help your DRI or dietary reference intakes. Or, you can use an online calculator to figure out your own nutritional needs.

Once you learn what your body requires, you need to look for vegan food that can help fulfill those needs. Intake of some nutrients like vitamin D, iron, etc., needs to be monitored closely if you want to follow veganism. Your nutritional requirements should be the basis of your meal plans so that you can stay fit and healthy. You must try vegan meal delivery, it would really help a lot.

Don’t Get Dependent On Processed Items

If you notice the supermarket aisle for vegan items, you will notice that they seem to be ever-growing. Every day, more and more vegan items are being added to the vegan sections. Most of these items are plant-based proteins. 

As important as it is to have enough protein while you are vegan, try not to eat too much processed food. Things like vegan meat, cheese, fish, etc., are not always healthy just because they are plant-based. These products can be heavily processed and filled with chemicals, preservatives, and unhealthy fats.

You need to keep a healthy balance between processed items and healthy fresh items like vegetables, fruits, etc. Some people also try to make their plant-based meat, fish, and other items at home.

Making healthier alternatives at home is an excellent alternative to store-bought, processed food. Try to eat as many home-cooked meals so that you can reduce your dependency on processed food.

Discover Various Plant-Based Proteins

A common misconception about meat-free diets is that they do not include enough choices for protein. This could not be further from the truth. Numerous plant-based proteins are not only healthier but also more nutritious than animal-based proteins.

This wrong conception stems from the fact that we are not used to many plant-based proteins in our daily diet. Because we are a bit used to many options doesn’t mean that they are not available.

People all over the world eat a variety of plant-based proteins. For example, a major chunk of India is filled with people who avoid meat in their diets, and hence, their main protein sources are often plant-based options like legumes and beans.

Your required protein can come from beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, etc. The options for plant-based proteins are endless; all you have to do is discover new items and try them!

Take Iron Deficiency Seriously

One of the crucial minerals that we need for our body to function harmoniously is iron. One common misconception is that some of the richest sources of iron are animal-based. You will be surprised that leafy greens like spinach have a very high iron content. Other items like legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains also have a lot of protein.

Try to pair your plant-based iron sources with vitamin C. Vitamin C increases the bioavailability of the plant-based iron, which makes it easier for our body to absorb more of it. For example, you can have peanut butter on strawberries or make a salad with baby spinach, tomatoes, and add a squeeze of fresh lime juice to season it.

Add a B-12 Supplement to Your Diet

Vitamin B12 is a crucial nutrient that maintains the healthy functioning of your blood, brain, and nerve cells. A deficiency of this vitamin can be potentially dangerous as it can cause cognitive problems, loss of memory, anemia, and a handful of other complications.

You can become fatigued and weak continually due to a blood condition called megaloblastic anemia. Much research has hinted that a lack of B-12 can be a reason behind the rapid deterioration of brain cells, increasing the likelihood of developing neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.

Sadly, vitamin B12 is only available in animal-based food. If you want to go vegan, you must supplement your diet with this vital nutrient. You only need about 2.4mg of the nutrient. You can eat B-12 enriched cereal or add a supplement pill to your diet.

Final Thoughts

Going vegan can be difficult, but if you are determined, you can stick to the diet. Ease into veganism and ensure that you are taking enough nutritious food to supplement any lack due to the change of lifestyle.

Try not to depend on processed items and eat more fresh items like vegetables and fruits. You can try the variety of plant-based protein sources available out there to supplement the lack of protein in your diet.

If you can ensure you are eating enough macronutrients based on your nutritional requirements, you will be able to maintain your vegan diet.