So you have recently become aware that becoming a vegan can benefit your health as well as the health of the planet,all while saving hundreds of animals every year! You are probably pretty convinced by this point that you at least want to give veganism a try or even just cut back on meat and dairy. Now you are wondering how to do this. I thought I would share my top three tips for transitioning to a plant based diet.
- Do not expect yourself to become a full on vegan overnight! Try to not beat yourself up over mistakes. Maybe start out by only being vegan at home, then gradually in restaurants, and then letting your family and friends know that you are now a vegan. Before letting your family know, mentally brace yourself and be prepared to argue against the most illogical of arguments (No, plants are not sentient beings. Yes, I am easily able to get enough protein. No, I do not judge you for not being vegan as well No. I am not wishing I could have some of your steak right now.) There is no such thing as failure when you begin experimenting with this. Even if you only ever managed to slightly cut down on beef alone you would be doing a wonderful thing for our planet. The amount of water to produce 1 pound of beef is equivalent to the amount of water you would save if you stopped showering for 3 and a half months!
- Start with cutting out whatever will be easiest for you to cut out first. For me this was milk, then red meat, then chicken, then seafood, then cheese, and only after I successfully cut those things out did I begin to worry about hidden animal ingredients in products. It is better to take a year to consciously reduce the animal products in your diet than it is to go vegan overnight, find it completely restrictive, and go back to your normal diet. Personally, I took months to transition into veganism. I actually consciously held myself back because I knew that it was best for me to move slowly.
- Find ways to order vegan dishes at your favourite restaurants. This can be much easier than you would think! Sure, every once in awhile there will be somewhere with pretty dismal vegan options. But overall it can be pretty surprising. I discovered one of my favourite takeout dishes at a French restaurant that I thought would never have any good vegan food. I was also happy to realize that my favourite sushi place was willing to modify almost any roll to make it vegan. Asparagus tempura and mango dynamite roll anyone? Its awesome how you can actually create vegan alternatives that you enjoy way more.
- Find new ways to satisfy yourself! Don’t expect to become vegan and also capable of denying your cravings for treats once in awhile. This is really important to prioritize because nobody deserves to feel deprived while making a change that is better for their health and for the planet. Instead of dairy ice cream, there is coconut ice cream, which many people find even more delicious. There are a few vegan chocolate bar brands you can stock up on. And it is really easy to cook yourself vegan desserts at home in ten minutes or less! As for those cheese cravings, which are many people’s greatest obstacles for going vegan, you will find that you can satisfy yourself just as easily with another savoury, warm, and melted snack. If this still doesn’t work, reminding yourself that cheese contains a legally allowable limit of pus will usually do the trick! There are also vegan cheese replacement products like Daiya as well as many delicious recipes for nut based vegan cheeses.
These are the main tips that are most important to help you get your transition to a plant based lifestyle started off right. If you found this helpful, please share it!