Starter Tips to Going Vegan
Or at least a little more plant-ish
You're probably here cause you're wanting to eat more plants and less animal products.
You probably want to get healthier, help save the planet, and lower your footprint in terms of cruelty and also environmental resources.
Are you freaking out!?
Are you so proud of yourself and excited and nervous?
I bet you're all of those things!
There are books and documentaries and websites and guides and plans GALORE about how to go vegan--I'm sure you've seen! But who has the time or mental capacity to sort through ALL of that? I didn't when I was new!
So if you need some boiled down, clear-cut direction and CONCRETE STEPS to funnel all this newbie-wannabe-Vegan energy toward, here is exactly where I suggest you start!
1. Nail Down Your Why
Going vegan isn't a walk in the park, because it's a CHANGE. And ALL change is hard (but not nearly as hard as staying the same.) You're going to need some deeply rooted REASONS for making this change if you want it to stick! You're going to need a reason that goes right to your SOUL and makes you wake up excited for another day of veganism every single day.
So start with your WHY. How do you want to feel? Do you want to get off meds? Is this crucial to your happiness and health, because right now you feel like you're living against your morals? Do you need to turn around your health? Do you refuse to live another day contributing to animal cruelty? Journal it out, make multiple drafts, think on it, pray about it, just spend some time on your why.
DON'T NEGLECT THIS STEP!
2. Binge on Netflix
Or Amazon Prime, Hulu, or on many websites, like HERE, which host streamable documentaries on veganism.
I know documentaries alone aren't enough to make veganism stick, but I do think educating yourself by watching the classics like "Forks Over Knives" and "Cowspiracy" can help tremendously. I am a "Netflix vegan" for sure, but if you'd rather read, you can also pick up these key books which were also instrumental in educating me, empowering me, and also ticking me off and making me want to go vegan like, yesterday.
How to Not Die, by Michael GregerSuperlife, by Darin Olien
Proteinaholic, by Garth DavisClean Protein, by Kathy Freston
3. Start Focusing on What You CAN Eat (and what you most want to eat!)
Dude, Oreos are vegan! So are Olive Garden bread sticks, french fries, PB&Js, salads, spaghetti with red sauce, avocado toast, oatmeal, veggie burritos or tacos, fruit, veggies, grains, beans, pastas, etc etc. And once you realize that, it's a wholeee different game vs. focusing on what you're subtracting.
Use these to help - some of my favorite blogs to find DROOLWORTHY vegan recipes for everything under the sun!
The Minimalist Baker
It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken
Oh She Glows
Once you've read through those and gotten yourself all nice and overwhelmed with meals you MUST HAVE, Here is a PDF file I made to help you jot down the foods you're going to want to pick up at the store. The goal is to be equipped with at least two recipes for breakfast/lunch/dinner that you're stoked to make and try!
4. Get a Plan with Specifics, Made for You
This is such an important step in my opinion, for anyone who is passionate about their healthy eating habits, vegan or not. And that is, getting a PLAN, by a professional. That can look like meeting with a registered dietitian, preferably a vegan one, getting a guideline/structure that teaches you how to eat vegan like what I offer, or hiring a vegan coach--me or another one!
What I urge you NOT to do, at all costs, is head to Instagram or Pinterest or FB groups and start basing what and how you eat off of random pieces of advice. Using a plan made for someone else, without taking into consideration factors like YOUR age, your weight, your goals, your activity level, and medical history, is like taking someone else's prescription for eyeglasses, and then being surprised when those glasses are blurry.
I see a lot of people struggling like crazy to figure out how many carbs to eat, how much protein, etc, etc, and other basics that could be cleared up by getting a plan, made for YOU, made BY vegans (or at least someone who really understands vegan nutrition!)
** If it's absolutely not in the cards for you right now to get a plan, that's ok! Just start focusing on using the recipe sites and grocery list above, and aim to get a wide variety of colors: fruits, veggies, grains (whole wheat pasta, bread, rice, quinoa, potatoes, millet, etc), plus beans, mock meats and faux cheese, healthy fats like avocados and oil, and occasional fun foods like vegan ice creams and candy! DON'T RESTRICT YOURSELF while you're transitioning! Undereating and then quitting veganism cause you're mysteriously starving is a common slip-up. It's not veganism's fault--you're just not getting enough calories!
5. Focus on Progress, Not Perfection
I see people make this mistake so much both with veganism goals and health goals as a whole--just don't fall into this trap! Be gentle on yourself as you transition. Allow yourself to start small! Maybe you start with just nixing dairy. Or meat. Maybe you do Meatless Mondays, and then that turns into M/W/F. Maybe it never does! Maybe you're always only plant-ish! That's SO MUCH BETTER for everyone (yourself, animals, the planet) than nothing at all!
We're here for a LIFETIME of good health and making a difference. So freaking what if you "fall off track" for one day? So what if you "fall off the bandwagon" for a whole month? There is no track...there is no mythical bandwagon--those are invented, and they only make us feel crappy about ourselves. This is a path that you're walking. Sometimes it'll be straight and level, sometimes hilly, sometimes riddled with loopy detours and backtracking and sometimes you'll have rocks in the middle of the path. Just keep walking!
No one wants to feel like they're the only vegan they know--I get that!
Luckily, the world is changing so dang quickly and so many people are vegan nowadays! Get on Facebook and see if your local town has a group! If not, I made one myself open to anyone--vegan or not! It's called "Practically Vegan," because not only do we have practical, tangible tips--weekly live videos instructing you on EVERYTHING from what to do about cheese to what to do about your judgy Aunt who doesn't get why you're not eating the Thanksgiving turkey, to more daily things like how eat vegan in small town USA or how to explain that you're vegan to your waiter.
JOIN US HERE! Only kind, welcoming, non-judgmental vibes in this group!
Other great resources I LOVE, to digitally surround yourself with vegan vibes:
The Vegan Bros
Fit Vegan Chef
Veg NewsThe Vegan Gym Podcast
If you need ANYTHING at all I'm just a message away. I would love to work with you one-on-one or just continue to cheer you on as a friend! If you wish there was a coaching program that isn't yet invented, tell me, and I'll see if I can make it! If you wish there was a book on xyz, ask me, I bet there is! If you need a recipe for something you're sure could never be veganized (cheesecake? Quiche? Matzoh ball soup?) I bet you I've done it--just reach out!
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