‘Veganism,’ as they say, is a practice of abstaining from using animal products, especially in your diet. One who refuses to use animal products is called a ‘Vegan.’
A lifestyle that was sort after by fighting-for-animal-rights-hippies back in the day is now becoming a way of life for most people. It’s a win-win as going vegan benefits the planet and does wonder for your body & skin.
Going Vegan is a significant life transition, one that is healthy & rewarding. Like most things in life, this too requires you to prepare. You know how they say someone ill-prepared is set up for failure. Here’s a list of 11 things to make this change smoother for you.
11 Things To Know Before You Turn Vegan
1. Do Your Research
Turning Vegan has different effects on different bodies. For starters, try to figure out what kind of diet works for your body? Is a high-fat diet good for you, or does your body get fuelled by a protein or carbs-rich diet? It is essential to know this, so you don’t skip out on the required nutrients and vitamins when making this shift. Be prepared for the questions your friends & family might throw your way.
2. Know Your Reasons
To be able to continue on a journey, it is super important to know why you started. Know why you wish to go vegan. Is it to do your bit for the planet? Is it because you’d like to eat better to lose weight? Whatever your reasons might be, know them and make your shift accordingly. Once you know ‘why,’ it gets much easier to stay committed.
3. Start Small
Be easy on yourself. Making a lifestyle change requires time & patience. It can be overwhelming in the beginning, so start small & go at your own pace. Start by removing meat or dairy from your diet and take it from there. You could even do it by changing one meal in the day to a vegan meal. It’s okay not to want to switch to an entirely plant-based diet in one go. Take your time and make your own rules.
4. Experiment & Experience New Things
What I’ve enjoyed most about this journey so far is how it opened up a whole new variety of food options for me. Things I’d never heard of or tasted before. For instance, if you’re switching to Plant-Based Milk, there are many kinds in the markets. So try them all, buy a newer pack each time, and see what suits your palate the most. Over some time, maybe even begin making your milk (it’s easy, cost-effective & so much more fulfilling). The same goes for most substitutes out there. Don’t be afraid to experiment and experience new things.
5. Don’t Be Afraid Of Relapses
You may or may not have momentary relapses of just giving into a meat craving. When you do, don’t fret. We all make mistakes & things like this teach you how to be more compassionate with yourself. If you fall back in, get up and start again and most of all, enjoy this journey.
6. Find Your Tribe
You know it’s true how everything becomes more fun when you have a teammate. Knowing that you are not alone on this journey makes it a whole lot easier. So, find yourself a community of fellow Vegans, whether online or offline. This helps you learn more about ‘Veganism’ and acts as a moral support system.
7. Don’t Worry About Fitting In
Suppose you are the only one in your family or group of friends making this transition; things might look hard. Having family & friends dinners suddenly seems tricky because they don’t know what to cook for you. Don’t worry; take it one step at a time. If you’re meeting up with people who aren’t vegan, offer to bring a vegan dish yourself. Introduce everyone to the goodness of being a vegan.
8. Read Food Labels
Get into the habit of reading food labels at the back of everything packaged you buy from stores. So many products have hidden animal products in them. Whey, for instance, comes from milk & gelatine comes from meat. So, be smart and always check labels.
9. You Might Need B12 Supplements
Animal meat is rich in B12 vitamins, which are essential for our bodies. To make sure that cutting out on meat doesn’t affect you, you must have foods that contain B12. Some of the best sources for vegans are Nutritional Yeast, Nori, Shitake Mushrooms, Soy Milk & Coconut Milk. If you still feel like you might not be meeting the need – resort to taking B12 supplements.
10. Find Vegan Restaurants Nearby
And for those days when you don’t feel like cooking and want to give yourself a little break, there’s always ‘take-away.’ For those moments when you are too tired to cook & too hungry to think, have a list of Vegan places nearby so you can order in.
11. Have Enough Protein
Most of us have been getting our protein requirements from animal produce. Removing meat from your diet means that you will have to work a bit smarter to meet the protein intake. Some of the best ways to do that are adding Soy, Beans, Quinoa & Lentils to your diet. Other than that, there are many nuts and seeds packed with proteins, so snack up on those!
Keep finding ways to up your protein game, and as I said before, don’t be afraid to experiment. There are a ton of Vegan Recipes out there that are delicious & super healthy.
Once you make this grand shift and turn vegan, you will for sure want to share your learnings with others. Veganism is a journey that stares you right at your face every single day. Each choice reflects something about you. Remember why you made this choice and go all the way! The joy you experience when you find your motivation and stick along is absolutely worth it!