A Beginner’s Guide to Going Vegan
Ladies, it’s official- I am going vegan. This decision has been a long time coming. For about 2 years I have flirted with the idea, but in recent months as I’ve battled some personal health struggles I decided I didn’t want my diet to be a contributing factor. So now I am fully committing to going vegan. I often meet people who tell me they too want to go vegan and I am frequently met with questions as to how I am going about the process. So, I have compiled my top tips for making the switch so you can increase your chances of success.
1.Define Your Why. Defining your why matters so much when making the switch to vegan eating because you need a motivating factor to keep you committed to the cause. There will be times when you find it hard to stick to this lifestyle, and you need to tap into your ultimate why so you stay on track.
My personal why is two-fold. First, improved health. I battle with a chronic illness called Fibromyalgia, and it can flair-up when I eat certain foods or foods with certain ingredients. It started becoming clear that a few minutes of good tasting food wasn’t worth the days I’d spend in pain and barely able to move afterward.
Second, my son is essentially a vegan by default. He has seven of the eight major food allergies, and it was becoming too tedious to prepare a separate meal for him and myself. It just made more sense to prepare one meal that was safe for both of us and that we both could enjoy.
2.Do Your Research. I am a self-proclaimed research junkie. When I want to know something, I dig deep and I mean really deep. It was no different when I decided to go vegan. I started off researching the health aspect of veganism. I wanted to understand any pros or cons of vegan eating and how I could get protein in my diet in the absence of eating meat.
I also spent a lot of time researching vegan products. I wanted to know what kinds of products were on the market, where I could find them and how much they would cost.
The last area I researched extensively was vegan recipes. There are some meals I knew I wouldn’t be able to give up easily (i.e. all things Italian). Realizing that I could recreate dishes or flavors and still stay vegan came as a great relief.
The myth was busted that going vegan meant a bland dietary life, and I was excited to recreate meals that I enjoyed in a way that wouldn’t be toxic to my body. Yes, you can have vegan pizza and lasagna that tastes amazing!
3.Transition Gradually. Some people have the ability to go cold-turkey and immediately switch over to vegan eating, never to eat an animal product again. After 4 failed attempts over two years, I discovered that I am not one of those people. What I found to be more successful was
cutting one or two items from my diet at a time.
I started with dairy because in my research I realized it was probably one of my biggest triggers and because I figured it would be the hardest for me to separate from. If the Italian in me could go without dairy, then veganism would be a breeze.
First, after trying a lot of options, I found and fell in love with flax milk. Next, I switched over to vegan butter and vegan mayonnaise. Then coconut milk yogurt, almond milk coffee creamer, and coconut milk whipped cream. I opted to give up ice cream in favor of sorbet. And finally, the cheese. After trying dozens of brands I found 2- 3 vegan cheese brands that I like and use frequently when cooking, making sandwiches, and baking.
Once I conquered dairy, I moved onto other areas one product at a time until all non-vegan products were out of my diet.
4.Get Support. Chances are you don’t know many people who are vegan. While there are certainly people who can go it alone, the chances of success are increased when you have a support system. In my case, no one in my immediate family or friend circle is vegan. However, I have developed an online community that makes me feel like I am not alone on my vegan journey. A quick Facebook search for vegan groups in your area is a good starting place.
Personally, I have found some great vegan blogs that I go to for recipes. I’ve also cultivated a couple of virtual friendships by searching Instagram for vegan accounts and reaching out with questions or insights. This has given me people I can ask questions and just vent to a little when the vegan struggle gets real.
5.Tell Your Circle. You may be wondering why you should tell people you are going vegan. I too didn’t think it was necessary until I got invited out to a birthday celebration dinner and found that the only thing on the menu I could consume was water and a fruit bowl. While your friends and family may not be ready to go vegan, they should want to support you in your efforts to do so.
My friends and family always try to have vegan options available for me if they’re hosting an event at their home and if not, I’m always given the option to bring something myself. If we are going out somewhere together, they give me a heads up so I can scope the menu beforehand. And now there is no longer the awkwardness of them offering me something I cannot eat. It makes life easier and less uncomfortable for all of us.
6. Attitude Is Everything. There is a saying that says, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. When it comes to transitioning to vegan eating, that’s not quite true. When going vegan, how you start is how you finish. If you begin your vegan journey believing that the transition will be challenging and that eating vegan will be boring and bland, then you are essentially setting yourself up to fail. However, if you have great expectations and a positive attitude, you will set the tone for your success.
So there you have it ladies! With these tips you can jump start your vegan journey. Remember, you can do this! Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have and stay tuned for more vegan inspired articles coming soon!
Staff Writer at Christian En Vogue
Diamond Grant is passionate follower of Christ with a deep love for writing. After rededicating her life to Christ during her college years, Diamond became an advocate for women pursuing mental, emotional, and physical health/wellness. When she is not busy being a homeschooling mama to her son or mentoring women on the road to healing, you can find her with a stack of books and a journal nearby ready to take notes.