Going vegan is a very extreme life choice. It’s a difficult transition for anyone. Especially if you’re going from a normal diet to vegan it will be challenging. I’ve been vegan now for several months and I transitioned from a vegetarian diet. I had a lot of thoughts and meaning behind my decision but that didn’t make the lifestyle shift any easier. Here are some of my top tips for going vegan.
- Discover Why You’re Doing It
People are going to ask you questions. Going out to eat will take lots more thought and effort. There will be judgement and an interrogation from at least one person. I’m not trying to deter you from taking the leap but if you’re prepared, your choice will likely have more longevity. Prepare your answer for why you’re going vegan. Is it a health choice or an ethical choice, do you have sources for why this is right for you? You don’t have to but it might get people off your back. If you are sure of yourself, people will be more okay with it.
- Look Up Recipes
It’s difficult to feel limited in what you can consume. I’ve filled my house with a myriad of vegan choices. Often, until I’m out in the world I don’t even think about it. I have made the same dishes as when I was a vegetarian only vegan. It’s not as difficult as you think. There are thousands of vegan recipes out there for everything under the sun. I make cookies, pizza, macaroni, pumpkin bread, and a lot more. Name it and I’ve tried to make it. Now, some recipes will be disappointing. This leads me to my next point…
- It Won’t Taste the Same
Vegan food will not taste like regular food. I’ve learned that if your expectations are not to have a perfect duplicate (only vegan). You won’t be disappointed when it’s not. Your tastes will change. Of course, you’ll have that occasional craving for X food or Y drink. If you can quell that with something similar it will get you through some of the more difficult days.
- Forgive Yourself
Inevitably, there will be a time when you eat something that is not vegan. Either you misread the label or it was your only option in a pinch. It will happen and that’s okay. You don’t need to be perfect with it. I find that when I get especially uppity about ingredients, that’s when the cravings get stronger and stronger. The more you restrict, the more you will want it.
- Find Your Favorites
Make a list of your favorite dishes, drinks, etc. Then research how you can make them vegan. I would look at those recipes and identify what about them you like. Is it certain flavors or ingredients. For example, if you find that most of your favorite dishes have heavy amounts of garlic and basil, find vegan recipes with garlic and basil. Often we don’t think about what makes our favorite dish our favorite. We just know we like it. Identifying the flavors that make our taste buds dance can make the transition that much easier.
- Prepare Your Meals
If you’re going to a party or family event that won’t have vegan dishes, prepare your own food. This will take away some temptation factor and also make you feel less left out. It’s difficult to watch others eat things you used to enjoy. If you’re eating some new favorites than it won’t sting as bad.
Switching to a new lifestyle of any kind will take adjustments. It’s a learning period that will sometimes make you want to pull your hair out. I love being vegan. It’s something I had tried before and didn’t take but after putting more thought into it, I decided it was right for me. This came down to ethics and my health. It was better for me to cut out allergens and I being vegan is better for the planet. It was a win on both accounts. Even with a lot of motivation, it takes strength. You have to refuse some great foods and watch others enjoy them. You’ll have people continuously offer you foods you can’t eat, because for some reason that’s very funny. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves but acknowledge they’re only human. If you tell them that upsets you and they continue on, take an overview of their behavior. Look for patterns and evaluate if they’re really a good friend. It’s okay to tell them to shove it and walk away. Either way works. Be proud of yourself for making a great choice for you, that’s what this all comes down to. Make the right choice for you.