So, you’ve finally made the commitment: you’re going vegan. First off, congratulations! Second, you’re in great company, as there are approximately 75 million vegans in the world—and growing.
But in the early days of your new vegan diet, you may start to wonder how all those successful, long-term vegans do it. How do you change all of your past food habits, especially when you’ve been stuck in the omnivore mindset for your entire life?
If you’re a vegan newbie, we’ve got you covered. Making a huge dietary shift isn’t always easy, but these essential tips will help you adopt your newfound veganism with grace.
1. Take It Slow
There’s no shame in starting to go vegan in increments. Consider switching to vegan foods you love instead of eliminating all non-vegan food from your diet. This can also help your body avoid the shock of getting zero animal products all of a sudden!
2. Toss Your Non-Vegan Food
When you’re ready to commit in earnest, it’s time to get rid of your animal-based foods. After all, it’s much harder to remember your commitment to veganism when you have plenty of non-vegan options still living in your fridge and pantry. This is especially true when you’re hungry!
Make sure to give your old favorites to friends and family before you set out on your new plant-based diet.
3. Plan Your Meals
If you weren’t into the growing trend of Meal Prep Sunday before, now is the time to get started! Meal prep makes it easier to get more delicious vegan foods in your mouth when you’re hungry, instead of letting you fall into the temptation of old food habits. Do some research online to find easy recipes to try, and make a batch of them once a week.
4. Consider Your Overall Health
If you’re planning a long-term plant-based diet, you’ll need to keep a few health considerations in mind. Because there are certain nutrients you can’t get from plants, vegans may end up with nutritional deficiencies. These nutrients include things like D3, heme iron, and B12.
You’ll need to talk to a doctor and do some research to decide which supplements you may need and how to fit them into your lifestyle. This may mean considering the difference between B12 shots vs pills, for example.
5. Find a Support Group
You’re likely to hear comments about your new lifestyle change, including people who doubt your commitment or want to put you off. In the face of this negativity, there’s one thing that works: a like-minded community!
Whether you turn to a friend who’s gone vegan or a support group online, having allies can help. Not only can the emotional support and understanding be gratifying, but vegan veterans may have information and advice to help you keep going in tough times.
Use These Tips for Going Vegan
Going vegan is a process, and it takes time to make—and stick with—the monumental dietary change. Don’t be afraid to go easy on yourself if you need, but make sure you’re committed to getting past the massive learning curve. You’d be surprised at how proud you’ll feel on the other side!
Want more of the critical health tips you need to know? Check out our other guides for more insights!