A Beginner's Guide to Becoming Vegan
We’ve got some tips on how you can make your journey towards veganism a little easier
Keywords: vegan, veganism, vegetarian, vegan guide, how to be vegan
There are plenty of benefits when it comes to veganism, from its positive environmental impact to its many health benefits. But becoming vegan isn’t something that most people can achieve overnight—and that’s okay! For some, cutting out animal products can happen immediately, whereas for others, giving up meat can be a little more difficult.
Though everyone’s journey to becoming vegan is different, some help can go a long way. So, to help those who don’t know where to start, we’ve put together a little guide that may help make the journey easier.
First, understand what vegan means to you. Veganism isn’t necessarily the same as plant-based, which isn’t the same as vegetarianism, and these things are different from pescetarianism as well. Having a strong understanding of what veganism means—what ingredients are allowed, what it means to use cruelty-free products, what substitutions you can make—will make becoming a vegan much easier.
More importantly, identifying a why—your reason for wanting to adopt a vegan lifestyle in the first place—will act as your compass during your journey. Know this why, whether it’s for your love of animals, or your concern for the environment, and it will help you stay on track.
Start with easier meals. Dinner, vegan or not, can be a daunting meal to cook! We recommend starting off with snacks and breakfast to get your foot in the door. Breakfast is one of the easier meals to veganize, with many vegan substitutions for eggs, milk, and butter widely available in grocery stores.
Go slow. Hard to avoid the pun, but going cold turkey can lead to the demise of many prospective vegans. Ease into it and start replacing ingredients during some meals over time, and before you know it, you’ll be comfortable eating and preparing fully vegan meals.
Play with your food. With so many substitutions and alternatives available now, do your best to explore what you can do with these new ingredients in your arsenal. Tempeh, for example, has dozens of applications, and nutritional yeast will add that unctuousness to any dish.
Protein is something that many people worry about when they transition into veganism. As we’ve explored previously, there’s been an exaggerated emphasis on this category of food—which isn’t to say that protein isn’t important; its importance is simply overstated. Identify what your vegan proteins are (beans, nuts, quinoa, and many other plant-based foods are great sources of protein), and explore different ways to prepare these ingredients.
It’s all about balance. Here’s the thing: everyone loves carbs. Pasta, bread, and rice are all delicious comfort foods. Unfortunately, these simple carbs don’t do a good job of sustaining you. Simple carbs may seem fulfilling on the surface, but complex carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, and lentils will keep you full for longer.
Be sure to get your fats in, too! We’ve talked about protein and we’ve talked about complex carbs, but healthy plant-based fats are highly important for a healthy diet as well. Finding balance across fats, protein, and complex carbs will ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs.
Plan ahead. The hunger pangs—we’ve been there, and when it happens, the instinct is to grab the closest edible thing and inhale it voraciously. When you reach that point, it can be easy to justify eating something that isn’t vegan-friendly, which is why planning ahead is so important.
By keeping vegan snacks on hand—like nuts, hummus and veggies, or roasted chickpeas—will ensure that you’ll have something to eat before you reach the dreaded hangry phase.
Keep at it—but don’t be too hard on yourself! One of the most important things to remember is that the journey towards becoming vegan is different for everyone. For some, it could take a bit longer, and that’s okay. Sometimes you’ll slip up but just learn from the mistake and move forward. Try your best to keep up the momentum, and you’ll get to where you want to be someday!
Do you have any tips for those who are transitioning into a vegan lifestyle? Let us know in the comments!
10/25/2020 02:46:41 pm
The "Plan ahead" is so important. When I first started eating vegan meals, I found myself wanting to eat smaller amounts spread out over time and yes I would get hungry in between. I have found carrots with one of the vegan dips that Planted sells to be perfect for filling the gap!
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