Congratulations, you have decided to go vegan! That’s a cause for celebration. But before we do, there are some things you need to think about first. You can take some steps to make sure you make this transition feel like a breeze.
Here are my top tips and things I learned along the way that actually helped me stick to my vegan diet.
Do your research
This was, to me, the key step, where I concentrated most of my efforts. I watched documentaries, read articles, books, blogs and followed as much online and friends advice I could find. Anything from why is a vegan diet better for you, how I could substitute ingredients and vitamins, to lifestyle changes.
I planned my switch ahead so I would stop eating meat one week, fish the other, and so on. For 6 months, I slowly added plant-based food to my diet and I can honestly say I’m still learning! It will take time and effort but it will be worth it.
Don’t rush it
I know, once you start doing your research and talking to your vegan friends you feel like to need to become vegan right away! But one of the best advice I got from a vegan friend was to take it slow. When I started, I only ate meat twice a week. Once I was feeling comfortable, I only ate once a week, until I stopped for good!
For some people, the last thing they leave is cheese or eggs. Whatever it is, only stop eating when you feel comfortable, when your cravings start to go away. You don’t need to rush your decision and make sure you are comfortable and introducing your vitamins substitutes slowly.
Don’t pressure yourself
Being aware of your choices and their consequences can feel like a lot of pressure when you first start. You may find yourself wanting to change everything in one go. Changes to your nutrition and lifestyle will need some time to take effect. By taking your time and planning your steps, the switch will be easier.
You don’t need to torture yourself because you spent so many years eating meat or because your coat has real bird feathers. It’s good to be aware and make conscious choices ahead. Just don’t focus too much on the past and think about the beautiful choices you’ll make from now on!
People are going to judge but don’t give in
It’s part of human nature. Your friends and family will judge. They’ll question and pressure you to explain a million reason why you became vegan. Don’t let me started on the question that gives me more dread than most: where do you get your protein if you don’t eat meat? (Instant eye roll)
But you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the people you thought would judge but actually admire your courage and dedication. Comments and pressure eventually goes away once people get used to the idea. Jokes might be harder to stop but just take them with humour and a smile in your face 🙂
Think about where to get your protein
Have I told you how I hate people lecturing me about my protein? Ok, let’s move on then. No, you don’t need to worry too much about this. Yes, you need to eat a certain amount per day. This comes with some planning but with time you’ll get used to it.
According to Healthline.com, you should have 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight. So if you weight 60 kg, you should eat around 30g of protein per day. It may sound scary but once you introduce these foods in your life, you’ll get used to it.
There are many foods here you can get your protein from: green leafy vegetables, soy products, beans, and many others.
Substitute your favourite meals with fruit and vegetables
As a Portuguese, I can honestly say the worst moments are around Christmas time. All my family eats fish and meat, key ingredients of the traditional foods my grandmother (who is the best cook I know, by the way) cooks. It was one of my favourite things about going home.
The food I ate growing up are naturally part of who I am and there’s no need to stop eating them: by replacing animal products with plant-based ones. Be sure there’s a vegan version on them; and if there isn’t, it’s a good time for you to make yours!
Think about your shopping beforehand
This is important: always think of what you’re going to cook throughout the week before going shopping. Consider what you eat every day and make a shopping list. This will make shopping easier,will make you save time and money.
Do you have any advice for new vegans? Let me know your thoughts!