Tips to Make the Transition to a Vegan Diet
I grew up a vegetarian in a small town in India. When I was ~10-12, I was introduced to chicken & fish at a family friend's place. I ate it occasionally & loved it. Then, I stopped eating meat completely, and then I went off n on it for years. However, I continued with milk products all these years. I did not know what veganism was until I moved to the US about 15 years ago. When I learned more about veganism and its health benefits, I converted to a vegan about ~12 years back (full disclosure: I do eat milk products occasionally and chicken/fish a few times a year. However, for all practical purposes, I consider myself a vegan).
If you are trying to be vegan, this post is for you. Good luck,
1. It is easier than you think. I understand that it is a bit easier for me as I grew up in a household where not even eggs were allowed. However, it is not that difficult for anyone.
2. You do not need to worry about proteins. 1) your body does not need that much protein that you read in media, 2) veg food has enough protein in greens, nuts, et al. Google and you will find it.
3. Get used to finding limited options in restaurants. That is our life, and you will soon adjust to it. I sometimes go to a steak house too for ambiance and survive on bread and potato there.
4. Not every vegan product is healthy. Read the ingredients before buying. the longer the list of ingredients- the more 2 worry about (typically). Plus, if u don't know the name of the ingredient , the chances are that it is not good for u
5. Yes, the vegan version of products can be a bit expensive. Such as, vegan yogurt is a bit more expensive than the regular one. However, it would still be cheaper if you count the lifetime cost you could save by spending less on medicines.
6. Look up recipes online, and you will get many ideas to cook vegan food. There are Facebook groups with vegan recipes, and there are a lot out there on the internet. P.S. don't fall for, vegan, but unhealthy recipes
7. Try to find a support group so you can share ideas/recipes. I have seen a few such groups on Facebook.
8. You could potentially make a vegan version of MOST of your favorite food items. Just search online.
9. Soon after converting to this lifestyle, you would feel so good- lighter, less bloaty, and overall better feel.
10. There are so many vegan food options that you could make a few every day. So, yes, there are limited options at restaurants, but not when you cook at home.
11. You may want to eat at home before going to a party at times when you know that you won't find a vegan option.
12. It is ok to cheat occasionally if you feel the need. I did eat an appetizer with some cheese yesterday. It's ok as that was the only vegetarian option, and I was hungry.
13. If it is difficult to be fully vegan in one go- start with a 6 plan - where you drop one category of non-vegan product each week. i.e., drop red meat one week, white meat next week, cheese next week, other milk products following week, etc
14. Share your progress and success stories with your friends and communities online. Their encouragement would help you continue with this journey.
15. Write down ten reasons you want to convert to veganism so that you can go to this list anytime you want to convert back. Sounds simple but helpful.
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