There were so many things I had already known before going vegan, but there were also so many things I didn’t expect or know before going vegan. Here are some things I wish I knew before going vegan.
I hope these tips will come in handy making transitioning easier.
I was a vegetarian for 8 months until I decided to go vegan. I went cold turkey on dairy and eggs, this was simple for me, however, taking slow approaches to fully eliminating all animal products may be easier for you.
Add to your diet before you subtract from it
– Begin incorporating more whole grain, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and tofu into your diet. Familiarize yourself with their preparation, storage, and uses.
– Start collecting vegan recipes that appeal to you.
– Experiment with dairy alternatives and find out which ones you like most.
Slow transition from omnivore to vegan
– Remove any animal products that you won’t miss in your diet.
– If you haven’t already, incorporate more whole grains, beans, legumes, tofu, nuts, and seeds to your diet while simultaneously cutting down on the animal products that you’ll miss the least.
– You can gradually cut down on all animal products or remove one food/food group at a time.
– Remove barrier foods after you feel comfortable with all of the other changes in your diet.
– Pay attention to ingredient lists, you may find it easier to begin avoiding the less obvious animal derived ingredients one at a time. You can also choose to overlook them until you’ve removed all obvious animal products (meat, seafoods, dairy products, eggs, etc.) from your diet and you feel comfortable eating mostly plant-based foods.
Vegetarian to Vegan
– Remove all meat from your diet, if you’re still eating fish and poultry. Take care not to increase your consumption of eggs and dairy, focus on including more plant-based protein sources instead.
– Pay attention to ingredient lists, avoid products containing gelatin, rennet, and other animal products (excluding dairy and eggs).
– If you haven’t already, begin incorporating more whole grains, beans, legumes, tofu, nuts, and seeds into your diet.
– Once you feel comfortable to move forward you can start phasing out dairy, eggs, and honey. Feel free to do this all at once, one food group at a time, or as slowly as you need to.
(credit to ilovevegan.com)
Egg: Tofu can be used to make scrambled eggs (look for recipes) aquafaba (chickpea water), chia eggs (1 tbsp chia + 3tbsp water), flax eggs (1tbsp flaxseed meal + 3 tbsp water), organ egg replacer (powder), bananas, oil + water
Honey: Rice malt syrup (I find this the best) Agave, Maple Syrup, Golden syrup, Coconut nectar
Milk: Almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, coconut + almond blend, oat milk, hazelnut milk, cashew milk, rice milk, macadamia milk
Cheese: Bio cheese (found in Coles and Woolworths), Tofutti, Nutritional yeast (has vitamin b12 and gives a cheesy flavour, I definitely recommend) Cheezus cheese, loving hut cheese varieties
2. Start quietly
Focus on yourself, your surroundings, body, and food addictions. Don’t announce what you’re doing. It may be easier when you’ve first made the change so you can avoid questions or scrutiny from others that you’re not ready to face.
3. Friends and family
Once you’re ready, tell your family. Remind your relatives that you’ve gone vegan, and request that they don’t buy you leather, wool, animal tested or animal based cosmetics, or anything else that came from an animal. If you’re telling your (closest) friends, wait for them to warm up to it. Showering the people closest to you with propaganda usually doesn’t help, be genuine.
4. Don’t jump into new recipes quickly
Start with recipes that you’re familiar with and love. It will be very difficult if you don’t know how to cook with all these new foods you’ve bought. This might be: pastas, pizza, mac and cheese, stir-fries, lasagne, curries, etc. Once you’re ready and have searched the internet, cookbooks and magazines for recipes, venture out and be adventurous with your meals.
5. Focus on positivity, ignore what others think.
This can be extremely difficult especially when you’re new to the lifestyle. You may face mocking, criticism or judgement. Focus on the positive things, remind yourself why you’re doing this for yourself. This is all for you, being vegan is a big deal, whether you make it or not. Don’t care what others think, if it’s making you happy, go for it. It’s not right to be controlled by someone else’s mindset. For example, you’re scared about posting a photo about your vegan meal or you’re scared that someone is going to talk about you behind your back. Do what you want, there’s no point wasting your energy on someone who doesn’t respect your choices.
6. Be ready for the questions, educate yourself
People are curious, some people don’t even know what the word ‘vegan’ means. There’s nothing worse when someone asks you a question that you can’t answer. Educate yourself, know facts about health, ethical and environmental factors. Especially questions about health, ‘where do you get your protein from’, etc. You don’t want people thinking you don’t know what you’re talking about. These questions may either be sensitive to you, or the person you’re talking to, so don’t raise your voice when you’re trying to get a point across. Don’t get angry, try not to ‘compete’ and control being stubborn.
Keep calm and genuine when you’re talking to someone whilst answering their questions, it’s very easy to get frustrated because it’s all new to you and you’re angry. This is something I completely went wrong with because i’m such a stubborn person, I can’t exaggerate this enough.
7. Consume enough calories
You’re going to be constantly hungry if you don’t consume enough calories throughout the day. This means incorporate double the amount of vegetables and fruits than you ate before. Vegetables and fruit are naturally low in calories so it’s important to get enough of them in to be full. MAKE SURE TO EAT ENOUGH CARBS! Carbs fuel the body so you have enough energy to function throughout the day. I don’t mean carbs as in chips coated in oil, white bread, sugary fruit juices, pastries, cookies and cakes or chocolate. I mean GOOD carbohydrates such as: vegetables, whole fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds, potatoes (that aren’t coated in oil) of course you can consume white bread if you’re feeling like it, but not ALL the time, the same goes with vegan junk. Make sure to eat wholegrain varieties as they contain more vitamins and minerals and fibre that your body needs. Remember, good carbohydrates will not make you fat. You might also want to checkout the HCLF vegan lifestyle, which helps to stay lean, fit, or even lose weight.
If you find yourself craving cheese constantly, it might not be the cheese you want. Your body may actually be needing some salt, so find a salty snack instead. The same process goes with meat, if you find yourself craving a steak, it could be that your body’s actually in need of a dose of iron – in which case, you should grab some leafy greens like kale, or chard, or spinach.
When you’re transitioning to eating whole, plant-based foods you’re probably going to come across bloating, gas etc. But don’t be phased, this is a normal side effect. I struggled with bloating for about 3 months going vegan p.s this is not the same for everybody. Your body needs time to adjust to fibre, so cut down on your fibre intake and gradually work up to eating more high fibre foods.
– Get some of your calories from low-fibre foods, such as white rice, cooked vegetables and fruits.
– Stick to small portions of foods that can cause gas. This will help your digestive tract get used to digesting them.
– As you increase your fibre intake, increase your water intake. Drink lots of water throughout the day as water helps with intestinal gas and constipation.
– If you need to, take probiotics. Probiotics help alleviate the symptoms of bloating and gas.
– Before cooking dry beans, allow them to soak overnight in water, then drain and rinse them before cooking in fresh water. Canned beans have been soaked with a gas producing carbohydrate.
– Exercise also helps alleviate symptoms.
Don’t worry, once your body has adapted to the fibre intake, gas and bloating will disappear.
Here are some foods that are culprits for gas and bloating:
– Brussel sprouts
– Lentils, peas, kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans
– Pears, apples, peaches
– Corn, potatoes, squash, beets, carrots
10. Stay inspired
Last tip I have is to stay inspired and get encouragement off others. Follow people on social media platforms to gather recipes, new exercises, products, vegan clothing brands etc. Watch what I eat in a day videos, search pinterest, google, whatever! This really helps making transitioning easier.
Here are some people to follow: (The whole vegan community is amazing)
Minimalist baker: http://minimalistbaker.com/
Bonny Rebecca: https://www.instagram.com/bonnyrebecca/
The Vegan Corner: https://www.youtube.com/user/thevegancorner
Annie Tarasova: https://www.instagram.com/annietarasova/
Thriving on plants: https://www.instagram.com/thrivingonplants/
Kishama Meridan: https://www.instagram.com/kishama/
Naturally Stefanie: https://www.instagram.com/naturallystefanie/
Lastly, http://thefriendlyfig.com/2015/02/02/100-vegan-tips/ has MANY useful tips to go by.
So check it out.