It’s the beginning of the year, and I know it is the perfect time for resolutions and goals for yourself to make you a better you. For many, going vegan might be that thing. I wanted to share some tips to help you go vegan, so that you can be successful. It will be hard, and there is work involved, but I hope that some of these tips will help ease your transition and keep you in the right track for success.
The easiest way to go vegan is to ease yourself into. Not everyone can go into veganism by jumping into the deep end. Start by slowly giving up items. If you are a meat eater, try giving up one type of meat. After a while, add to that list by dropping another type. If you are already vegetarian, try giving up specific items. Replace milk with a plant based one, instead of mayo on your sandwich add hummus or avocado. I found that replacing items that I just didn’t care that much about and made it a point to always buy those items vegan. Example: I didn’t care about having real butter, so I switched to Earth Balance long before I ever went even fully vegetarian. Slowly getting used to it, and easing the cravings you have will help you in the long run, so that you don’t feel like giving up, or giving into cravings.
Almost everything that you do can be done easier if you immerse yourself into it. Search around for vegan Youtube videos or specific creators that have your same interests and watch their videos. Watch documentaries. Find a podcast that you can listen to on your commute. Read books or blogs. When you first go vegan, it can be overwhelming and hard. Things take time to become a habit, or something that you don’t have to think of as much. Finding ways to incorporate it into your day-to-day life as well as finding different tips and tricks from others will help. Once you hear about a certain ingredient not being vegan a couple of times, it’ll stick with you without you spending much thought on it. It’s kind of like when you were little, and you would play video games like Where in the World is Carmen San Diego. When you are playing it, it just feels like a fun game, but afterwards you start to realize how much geography you picked up without ever having to study.
It will also help you to find things you like, that also happen to have a veganism spin to them. If you really like documentaries, pick up a vegan one to watch. If you find you like a certain type of music find someone who is vegan and shares that same love for the music. When you incorporate veganism into your daily life (and things that aren’t vegan) it’s much more enjoyable and easier for you to find more information than just scouting medical documents.
»Experiment: Don’t Eat Out
Veganism is already hard. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to find vegan items on the menu of a not so vegan friendly menu. It’ll only lead to anxiety about how you are going to do it, how others view you, if you are going to do it right. It might even trigger you to cave and not eat vegan just so you don’t have to deal with the anxiety and stress. One of the best things you can do to help go vegan is to make it as easy as possible until you get more comfortable. Eating out will just stress you, or make you feel as an outsider. Learning to cook vegan allows you to figure out food combinations you like. Experimenting in the kitchen with what you have, as opposed to making some complicated vegan food makes it more comfortable for you to realize how easy vegan cooking really is. Some of my favorite meals aren’t concocted from crazy expensive vegan products, they came from me putting together different items I just had in my pantry that are naturally vegan. Herbs and spices help, as well as finding different ways to cook things (steamed broccoli is ok, but have you ever tried it roasted? GAME CHANGER).
When you’ve eaten a certain way for most of you life, you have already established what you like and don’t like. You have fall back foods that you know you can make, or you know how expensive they are. You have staples that make it so that you don’t have to think most nights. Throwing a new diet into the mix will throw you off, and you need to dedicate the time to find those new fall back foods and new staples.
»Stop Comparing Yourself
You are you. You are not the person you see on the TV, or the vegan you see in a Youtube video. Just because it took them a certain amount of time to go vegan, doesn’t mean that you have to. Nor that it makes you a bad person. Everyone does things differently. Everyone has different lives and different things that effect them. What is easy for one, won’t be for another, but can be for another. For a lot of people, giving up cheese isn’t as easy as most vegans make it sound. Focus on you. If you have to take longer to go vegan, that’s fine. Maybe you have to take a month or two to even just give up one meat item. That’s fine. At the end of the day, every little step has a great impact. It will get easier. Trust me. Just keep towards the end goal.
»It’s Okay to Not Be Perfect
We don’t live in a world that we can be 100% vegan. There are things that are just beyond your control. Don’t try to dwell on those. I know a lot of people (myself included) feel stress about accidentally doing something “not vegan”. You will mess up and eat something with an animal product. You will think a product is vegan, and then find out later that it isn’t. It is not the end of the world. You are not a bad person. Your mental health is extremely important, and worrying about being perfect in veganism is damaging to your health and the way you live your life. Get back up, and add it as a learning experience so that you won’t do it the next time.
I hope that some of these tips will help you, whether you are newly vegan, thinking about going vegan, or struggling. Let me know what has helped you in the journey in the comments.