Going vegan is a big decision requiring lots of time, research, and preparation. If you’re new to veganism and need help figuring out where to start, this guide will help you get the ball rolling! We’ll cover everything from finding information about nutrition and animal welfare to asking your friends for support.
By the end of this guide you’ll be on your way to living a happy and healthy vegan lifestyle! You can also check out The Kitchen Community for more inspiration and tips.
Research the Basics
The first step to becoming a vegan is educating yourself about how this lifestyle can help improve your health, animals’ lives, and the environment. Learn about the basic nutritional requirements for vegans and which foods are good sources of each nutrient.
If you’re particularly concerned about getting enough protein, research plant-based sources of this nutrient. Additionally, familiarize yourself with how veganism can help animals and the environment.
Make a Plan for Transitioning
The next step is to determine how you want to transition from omnivore to vegan – whether slowly over time or all at once. Many choose the latter option and go “cold turkey” – cutting animal products out of their diet immediately instead of gradually eliminating them or incorporating more plant-based foods into their existing diets over time.
However, this approach may not be suitable for everyone and could cause many undesirable side effects. If you’re worried about having an adverse reaction to such a drastic change in your diet, consider slowly eliminating animal products instead of going cold turkey.
Going vegan can be challenging, especially if you’ve been eating animal products most of your life. Because of this, it’s important to find family, friends, and other like-minded people who can support you on your journey and help answer any questions or concerns you may have. Whether through an online community or in person, you must have at least one ally during this transition!
Additionally, don’t be afraid to seek professional medical advice from a nutritionist or doctor – they can provide invaluable insight and help you through any nutritional deficiencies or concerns that might arise during your transition.
Stock up on Vegan Food Staples
Cutting out animal products can be a significant change, especially if you’re used to eating lots of cheese and other dairy products regularly. To make the transition easier, start by stocking up on vegan foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds so that you’ll always have something tasty and nutritious to eat when cravings strike!
Another good strategy for staying satiated is doubling up on your favorite healthy recipes: instead of making one portion of a dish with non-vegan ingredients like cheese or eggs, make two portions of each recipe – one with the original ingredients and another completely free from them. This will make sticking to your vegan lifestyle easier since you’ll always have a healthy meal at the ready!
Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Protein
As the building blocks of life, proteins are essential for maintaining everything from our muscles and bones to our skin and hair. While most people get more than enough protein in their diets through meat, poultry, and dairy products like milk and cheese, vegans must find other sources of this nutrient to stay healthy.
To ensure that you’re getting all the protein you need daily as a vegan, try incorporating lots of beans (especially lentils!) into your meals or snacking on nuts throughout the day. Additionally, consider supplementing with plant-based protein powders or taking a vegan multivitamin to ensure your body is getting everything it needs!
Be Mindful of the Nutrients You May be Lacking
In addition to ensuring you’re getting enough protein in your diet, vegans must also be extra vigilant about other nutrients they might miss out on if they don’t plan. Iron, calcium, and vitamin B12 are three of vegans’ most common nutritional deficiencies.
Be sure to incorporate plenty of foods that contain these vital nutrients into your daily meals. This could include eating dark leafy greens like kale or collards for iron and calcium, supplementing with B12 vitamins, or using almond milk instead of regular dairy milk for an easy source of vitamin B12.
Other nutrients vegans might be concerned about include vitamins D, A, and E and omega-3 fatty acids. Luckily, most vegan foods also contain plenty of these nutrients!
Seek Out Restaurants that Cater to Your Lifestyle
Eating out on a vegan diet can be easy – although it can sometimes mean straying away from the fast food drive-thru window or chain restaurant menu boards. Instead, look for local eateries familiar with vegan diners’ dietary requirements and enjoy delicious dishes like bean burgers or Thai stir-fry made just for you!
Additionally, many grocery stores now offer prepared meals specifically designed for those following a plant-based lifestyle, so be sure to check out their frozen aisles for easy and quick meals.
Experiment with New Recipes
One of the best aspects of moving towards a vegan diet is exploring all the delicious foods you can now enjoy! Kick off your culinary adventure by trying one of our favorite vegan recipes: kale pesto pasta salad, BBQ baked beans, or roasted butternut squash soup.
Not only will these dishes make it easier to follow your plant-based lifestyle, but they’re also packed with flavor and super yummy! Don’t be afraid to experiment with other vegetables and legumes as well – there’s no set rulebook on what’s “vegan,” so feel free to get creative with your cooking!
The Bottom Line
It’s pretty simple to follow a vegan diet. The key is always to make sure you have plenty of healthy foods readily available and be mindful about taking any necessary nutritional supplements for staying healthy on days when you might not get the nutrients your body needs from food alone.
Sticking with these easy cues will help ensure that your vegan lifestyle remains sustainable – and delicious – in the long run! So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start cooking up some fun new recipes and exploring how a vegan diet can benefit your health AND our animal friends!