Going Vegan: 5 Top Tips
It can be hard, making the transition and cutting out all animal products. The number of times my friends have told me ‘I couldn’t do it, I just love *insert meat/dairy product here* too much!’ or, ‘but don’t you just eat spinach all day?’ is ridiculous. I’m here to break the stigma on veganism, and provide some insider tips that I wish I knew when I was transitioning.
1. Always be prepared
(Yes, the boy scouts saying does apply to this).
For example, if you are going out for a meal with some friends, check the restaurant website or call up before hand. Restaurants generally require possession of a form that lists what ingredients are in their meals for people with allergies, vegans and intolerances alike to scan through. This can be found online, and sometimes in the restaurant if you request it. That way, you can quickly and easily find out what has and hasn’t got dairy or meat in, and so you can plan what you’re having efficiently without fretting over whether the pasta you ordered has egg in or not! Don’t be afraid to be brave and request to change up a meal- have pizza without the cheese, have extra veg on top or ask for a certain salad- the chefs are more than likely happy to make up the dish!
2. Eat up
Make sure you’re getting enough! The first couple weeks I transitioned fully to veganism, my weight dropped very quickly, and I started having doubts that being vegan wasn’t actually healthy for me. After tracking what I was eating on MyFitnessPal to figure out what was going wrong, I realised I wasn’t consuming half as many calories as I was meant to, even though my portion sizes were the same as when I wasn’t vegan! Moral of the story- you may need to write down what you eat for the first couple weeks to ensure you’re getting enough calories in, and even up-scale your portion sizes. If you don’t think you’ll be able to reach your required energy level, try adding more calorie-dense foods to your meal, such as avocado, olive oil or nuts.
3. Don't freak out
To make sure you stick to the vegan diet, or to any habit/lifestyle change, you need to make sure you transition slowly, and create a routine to ensure that you aren’t thrown in the deep end, and scared away by the change. Perhaps start off by having one vegan meal a day- you may happen to do this without knowing anyway! Or maybe try one vegan day a week, and start building from there. I can assure you that the number of vegan alternatives to non-vegan foods is ever-growing, and it is so easy to turn anything you can imagine into a vegan version! Brownies, icecream, pizza, the lot.
4. Do your research
Getting passionate about veganism and remembering what motivated you to consider it in the first place will also fuel your want to maintain the lifestyle, and looking into it further will deepen your understanding and awareness too. Was it the ethical side? Wanting to feel fitter? You just really like salads? Whatever it is, keep it in the back of your head for the times that you’re not sure on whether you can keep it up. Researching about food benefits, alternatives and recipes also keeps being vegan interesting- did you know you can make gorgeous meringues from chickpea juice? Me neither, until recently. Look on places like Pinterest for inspiration to try new foods, buy a couple recipe books- they’re not hard to find with plant-based diets becoming popular on the food scene.
5. Treat yourself
Do you realise how much water, energy and lives you are saving by turning to this lifestyle? It’s incredible! You’re doing an awesome thing, and for that, you should reward yourself. And the best thing about rewarding yourself with a vegan treat, is that they’re so healthy, you could eat a whole batch of brownies, and it would still be healthy for you. Kinda. Personally? My favourite treat is ‘nice-cream', which is essentially frozen, chopped up bananas, blended up into a gorgeously creamy consistency that you can then add any flavour to: cacao, cinnamon and vanilla, strawberries, the list goes on. And it’s all fruity, vitamin-packed goodness! Score.
Good luck with your vegan adventures, and I hope I’ve shed some light!
mouth-watering to share?