Here’s How To Become A Vegan And Not Feel Phased
There has never been a better time to go vegan. We’re all slowly catching on in our own time that there are innumerable benefits for the planet, animals and ourselves. Luckily there are more options and resources than ever before that you can take advantage of in your efforts to make this positive lifestyle change. That’s not to say the prospect of changing your eating habits and going vegan isn’t still daunting though! Becoming vegan requires shifting the way you do and think about things in many areas of your life and it’s easy to get bogged down. Knowing that we’ve put together some top tips on how to become a vegan without feeling phased.
1. It’s Not A Race
Everyone has their own reasons for going vegan, once you’ve decided to make the change you’re likely to be super keen and motivated to make the changes all at once and that’s great. BUT, you’ve got to remember you’ve spent many years feeding your body in a certain way, and you’ll have grown accustomed to your old diet.
It’s absolutely vital that when you’re starting out on cutting out animal produce you take it slow initially for your own health. Going cold turkey (or cold tofu – harhar) works well for many, but just be aware that you might suffer from detox symptoms if you go all out too soon. Many people try it in stages, first cutting out red meat, then poultry, then dairy etc. to ease their bodies into it. There’s absolutely no rush, whatever works best for you is the right way. It can be very overwhelming when you start to think about how to become a vegan.
2. Health First and Foremost
As soon as you make major changes to your eating regime and habits, your body is going to need to get the stuff it was previously getting from animal produce, like proteins, vitamins and nutrients from somewhere else. You’ll be trading animal produce for foods such as pulses, vegetables, grains and meat substitutes. It’s really important that you keep it balanced when you make the changes, do your research and your body will thank you. If you know for instance that you used to eat quite a bit of red meat, you might want to look into buying a multivitamin for vitamin B12 as it only comes from animal produce. Knowing where you can find what your body needs will make you feel a lot better as you make the changes.
3. Restock your Pantry
Suddenly having to cook a whole new repertoire of meals and food types can be incredibly daunting. Where the hell do you start? The best preparation you can do in anticipation of your transformation into the vegan equivalent of Gordon Ramsay is FILLING your pantry and spice cupboard. The secret to good vegan cooking lies in the subtle spicing and flavourings that come from having a little bit of every spice at your fingertips. A good dish can be transformed into a great one, and a crap dish can at least be made to taste vaguely of curry. Have your pulses, grains, pasta and noodles at the ready, have your tins of chopped tomatoes and cartons of pasata ready. When it comes to trying out a new recipe, you’ll be able to quickly check that you’ve got all the fiddly bits and just nip out for the fresh ingredients.
4. Diverse Simplicity
Do not go OTT immediately. It’s hard enough to cook a complicated meal without changing your eating habits and changing what you can eat. It’s really important that you keep it simple to begin with so you don’t put yourself off through your own potentially dodgy creations. Master the basics, keep it broad but simple. Learn what you love in the first instance, figure out what you can rework from your old diet. What simple substitutions can be made? You might find that actually lots of what worked for you before becoming vegan can be adapted! That will make the transition phase a lot easier, but no worries if not. If in doubt keep it simple. Vegan cheese exists FYI, it’s a game changer, think of all the substituting you can do with that.
5. Check out Vegan Restaurants
Once you’re feeling pretty happy in your own kitchen and potentially bored to death of your own creations, start keeping an eye out when you head to vegan restaurants. Inspiration will strike and they’ll probably be happy to explain how they made whichever dish you love! To stay sane you’re definitely going to need a good handful of great vegan restaurants/takeaways, as everybody needs a treat some time. If you’re struggling with how to become a vegan, consult others!
6. Make it Social
Whether or not your friends have made the same choice to become a vegan as you have, there’s nothing better than getting to together for a dinner party or even organising a ‘Come Dine With Me’ style event where you take it in turns cooking for the group. Without a doubt, it’s a laugh to cook for your friends and have them rate it, at the very least you can be smug at the standard of your amazing vegan dishes. If your non-vegan pals are curious as to how you made your food, you can teach them your ways and pass on the wisdom. Learning how to become a vegan doesn’t have to be so hard!
7. Don’t Stress
It’s a damn big lifestyle change. You’re going to have rough times where you feel terrible. Maybe you had a ‘cheat’ day and eat a whole slice of brie (you know who you are) and that’s ok! Sometimes people take years making the transition from non-vegan to vegan. Either way, you’ve got to remember that it’s all positive and you definitely shouldn’t stress about it. Don’t overthink it, there is no prescribed way in which you have to be in order to be vegan. Enjoy the changes and the learning that has to take place in order to live in the way you’ve set out to.