Some people can go vegan cold turkey. Others transition to a vegan diet over time. I transitioned to a vegan diet after being vegetarian for more than three years. Here are some tips I've tested to make your transition to a veganism easier.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or dietician. This is information that I have learned on my personal journey and want to share to help you with yours. I encourage you to do your own research and make the best choices for you. Please consult a doctor before making any significant diet changes.
1. Be prepared
Maybe you’ve heard this before, maybe you haven’t. Either way, being prepared is essential to succeeding with your new lifestyle. You should always have something vegan-friendly in your fridge or snacks for when you're on the go. If you're going to be out and about most of the day, pack a meal or know where there are vegan-friendly restaurants in your area. The last thing you want is to be tempted to eat something non-vegan because you are hungry and weren’t prepared.
2. Try to make the majority of your diet plant-based
When I say “the majority of your diet should be plant based,” I mean around 80 percent.The bulk of your diet should consist of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and whole grains. This is something that I’m still working on because I love bread (most breads aren't vegan by the way) and pasta.
3. Don’t restrict calories
Now this is one of the many perks of a vegan diet. You don’t have to, and, in fact, should not restrict calories. You are already eating whole natural foods, there is no need to limit calorie intake. Give your body time to adjust to your new plant-based lifestyle before limiting calories if you choose to do so.
4. Give yourself some options
It’s a total myth that vegan food is boring. There are endless vegan food options (well...minus meat, dairy and other animal byproducts) to choose from. You might have to get a little creative, but that’s another perk of being vegan. Here are some sites with great recipes to get you started: Sweet Potato Soul/Brown Vegan.
5. Don’t be so hard on yourself
It’s totally okay if you slip up and eat something non-vegan. This is a lifestyle change, just learn from it and keep it moving. Give yourself some credit, the fact that you’re even considering going vegan is a step in the right direction. Nobody is perfect, which is why we need to encourage and support each other to make healthier lifestyle choices for the mind, body and soul.