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Making the switch

The Vegan Society defines veganism as a philosophy and way of living that seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Making the switch to veganism can be tough, especially if you have no other vegan friends to turn to for advice. This is why I wanted to make this because that was me when I first started. I had questions like "Can I jump right in?" "Where do I start?" "What do I eat?" I was clueless. By posting this, I hope I can guide someone else through the beginning stages of veganism. This is a journey...and it can be quite a fun one if you like to cook.


If you would like a vegan starter kit, I have linked one from PETA below. Although they have a bad rep, their vegan starter kits are free and contain a ton of great information to help jumpstart your journey.  Without further ado, these are my tips on going vegan. 

1. Research, research, research!​

This is incredibly important! Make sure you research what nutrients you'll be missing, where you can get them, what protein sources are the best, etc. This will give you a firm foundation on which to base your recipes. It will also help build your confidence in picking out recipes and will help you have a healthier diet.

2. Take it slow

After seeing the truth behind the meat industry, it can be tempting to jump straight in, but this is not advisable. Your body will not be used to the high amount of fiber in a vegan diet This can lead to constipation and might turn you away from the diet altogether. Start by slowly cutting out meat while simultaneously adding more vegetables. This will cut back on the "shock" to your digestive system and make your journey go smoother!

3. Be prepared for backlash

For whatever reason, this diet comes with a lot of backlash. Some of these comments can be hurtful to those who are not used to criticism. Remember, you do not have to respond, especially if they are being rude. Politely explain your reasonings, but leave it at that.

4.  Understand there is no "perfect vegan"

There will be other vegans in the community who make a big fuss when you slip up but do happens. This is especially true when you are first starting out. And, in a world with no respect for the life of an animal, it is utterly impossible to be 100% vegan. Even our car tires are made with animal flesh. Just be the best vegan you can be =)

5. When in doubt, get a salad!

I won't sugarcoat it- eating out as a vegan in a small town is extremely tough.  The good news is, that almost every restaurant has a salad option that can easily be made vegan. Just ask for no meat or cheese and opt for an oil-based salad dressing.

6. Limit meat alternatives

Now, it's okay to have them on occasion, but don't make them an everyday food. While they are an excellent source of protein, their nutrient value ends there. Instead, try tofu or tempeh. Not only are they an excellent source of protein, but they are also a great source of calcium and iron.  Both are extremely versatile and can be used in multiple different ways.  Tempeh is easier to cook for beginners as tofu has a learning curve to it and takes some time to perfect. They can both typically be found in most major grocery stores, so they're also easy to find.

7.  Be open to try different vegetables

Eating a wide variety of vegetables is super important. If you don't try different vegetables and mix up your diet, you will get bored. This can lead to you straying from a healthy diet for more processed foods, which can impact weight loss. Not only that, but a variety of vegetables is also good for your gut health. This is honestly one of my favorite parts of veganism. Making new dishes and trying new flavors is so exciting for me!

8.  Don't worry about going over your calorie intake

Many other diets put a focus on the amount of calories you consume, and to a point, this applies to a vegan diet as well. However, since a balanced vegan diet is usually full of veggies and fruits, it is significantly lower in fat, so even if you eat over the allotted calories, you typically will not gain weight. Sometimes to feel full, you will have to eat more but if you are filling that space with fruits, veggies, and whole grains, you more than likely will not gain weight

9.  Invest in a food processor (if you haven't already)

You can make homemade "cheese" sauce, dairy-free alfredo sauce, and plant-based burgers but to do so, you will need a food processor. It bursts your recipe options wide open, which makes it feel like your recipe options are endless!. You can get them as cheap as $40 on Amazon. This isn't necessary, but it does help significantly.

10. Stand firm

If you feel veganism lines up with your values, do not back down! Remind yourself why you started in the first place, and stand on it. As I stated earlier, people will challenge you, but you do not need to give them an answer. If you know this is something that you, without a doubt, want to do then do it! Do not let the world contradict your values. I found it helpful to also join a group of like-minded people on Facebook. If you lack support, this could help so much!

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