Transitioning to Veganism
So you’ve decided that you’d like to become vegan, but where do you start? Transitioning to a veganism may seem daunting but often the idea of a big lifestyle change is a lot scarier than actually doing it. Focus on making one change at a time and the progression to veganism will feel quite natural. It’s important to go at your own pace and to decide on a method that works best for you. Here are some ideas and guidelines to structure your transition to veganism! (read the full post on ilovevegan.com)
Learn as much as you can
Before you even begin the transition the first step is to start familiarizing yourself with veganism. This will really help you feel prepared and knowledgeable as you begin changing your lifestyle.
- Learn the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. Educate yourself about the practices & costs behind the production of animal products. Find your personal reasons for being vegan, there’s loads of them.
- Learn how to optimally nourish your body on a plant-based diet.
- Start reading ingredients lists – Learn how to tell if a product is vegan.
- Be on the lookout for vegan products at your local grocery store, research vegan friendly restaurants and grocery stores in your area.
- Read, watch, learn. Seek out vegan documentaries, books, magazines, websites, blogs, forums, and people. They can offer valuable insights, support, and will help you to feel more confident in your transition.
Add to your diet before you subtract from it
- Begin incorporating more whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and tofu into your diet. Familiarize yourself with their preparation, storage, and uses.
- Start collecting and experimenting with vegan recipes that appeal to you. Find a few different quick and easy vegan meals that you enjoy and get comfortable preparing them.
- Switch milk for a non-dairy alternative such as almond or soy. This is an easy switch for most people but there’s a lot of options, so experiment to find which brand & variety you like best.
Find and remember your motivation to change
There is a huge difference between adopting a vegan lifestyle and “going on a diet”. It’s easy to be tempted into straying from diet plans or “cheating”, but it’s not the same with veganism. When you know exactly why you want to be vegan it’s a lot harder to stray from the lifestyle. This is why it is so important to learn the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and the effects animal products have on our health, environment, and humanity.
Keep a positive attitude
Think of all the new and delicious foods you’re going to try rather than thinking about the foods you’re giving up. You may find yourself surprised at how many options there really are! At least a few of your favourite foods are probably vegan to begin with (or easy to veganize) and there’s loads of international dishes that are suitable for vegans. Get excited about the changes you’re making!
Begin Planning Your Transition
There are plenty of ways to go vegan so this is where you need to seriously think about what is going to work best for you. Here’s some common options:
Vegetarianism followed by veganism
Slow transition from omnivore to vegan
Go all out vegan
(Not sure what’s best for you? Visit the full post for more info on each option.)
All-or-nothing thinking & food barriers to veganism
If you have the desire to become vegan but find yourself struggling with the idea of cravings or giving up a particular food, don’t worry, that’s completely normal! Most vegans stop eating animal products for ethical reasons, not because they don’t enjoy the taste of them.
Far too often people shrug off the idea of veganism for fear of missing a particular food, or they try veganism but end up giving it up entirely for similar reasons. This is often the result of jumping into veganism too quickly with too little preparation. That’s why it is so important to take the transition at a pace that works for you.
If for whatever reason you feel as though you just cannot commit to a 100% vegan diet because of a barrier food, that’s okay! Don’t let that stop you from minimizing your intake of animal based products to whatever extent you can. Give up all of the animal ingredients and foods that you won’t miss, and allow yourself the occasional exception whether it’s a food, holiday meal, or favourite restaurant. I advocate following a fully vegan diet and I encourage you to strive towards that as a goal, but it’s just silly to abandon veganism in it’s entirety because you love bacon or cheese too much. If allowing a little flexibility is what will help you sustain a mostly vegan lifestyle then that’s what you should do!
An Important Reminder
Every little bit counts. Whether you go vegetarian, vegan, or simply cut down your consumption of animal products, you’re taking a step in the right direction. Don’t let yourself get caught up in trying to label yourself based on your diet.
Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed. Take your time, expect some mistakes, learn from them, and move on! Good luck!