I know it might be scary to think about transitioning to a vegan diet. But don't worry! I've got your back! With these tips you will find it easier to adopt a plant-based diet and enjoy all its benefits.
1. Take it easy
Switching your diet can be hard and difficult. I always recommend taking it at your own pace. In my personal experience, I was vegetarian for 3 years before I became vegan. I believe everyone is different and we all embrace change in different ways. I like seeing this new dietary habit as an evolution instead of something that has to happen overnight. I would also advice to be compassionate and kind with yourself. Sometimes we can beat ourselves up if we make mistakes or fall out the path, but being harsh normally brings resistance. Treat yourself with love and understanding.
2. Find vegan alternatives that you enjoy
Nowadays we have a lot of vegan alternatives that are delicious! Mock meats, cheeses, milks, yogurts. Take advantage of it! At the beginning it can be hard to suddenly leave those foods that you have been eating your whole life. If you like chicken, find a vegan alternative that you enjoy. The same with other products. Spend some time trying out the variety of options available and choose what makes you feel good. Check out this link for products that are accidentally vegan!
3. Start with dishes that you know and love
I understand that at the beginning it can be easy to get lost. When I first became vegan I didn’t know what dishes I was gonna be able to cook with vegan ingredients. The easiest way is to find meals that you used to enjoy and know how to cook and make them vegan. Maybe you like bolognese, so you could do the same exact recipe, leaving out the meat and substituting by vegan mince or lentils or mushrooms. If you have children, embracing the transition this way will make it easier for them because they won’t be feeling like they are missing out on something. If you need inspiration, check out easy, affordable and delicious recipes on my blog.
4. Look for inspiration
If you have trouble being creative preparing your new vegan meals, look for inspiration. Social media is full of accounts with easy and delicious vegan recipes. Check out my Pinterest if you want some new ideas! On Youtube there are a lot of videos with recipes that will inspire your daily meals. Follow the accounts that you like the most and recreate the ideas.
5. Start meal planning
I know this can sound really difficult and time consuming but it can be super easy and it will save you time, money and energy! I have a blog post with some tips if you don’t know how to get started. Click here to check it out.
Once you have found the recipes you wanna recreate, write them down and organise your week. This way, if you feel lost and overwhelmed, not knowing how to cook vegan, you will already have a plan to save you the struggle! I would also recommend preparing a vegan groceries list according to your meal plan so you know what to buy in the supermarket.
6. Incorporate fiber slowly
Normally, on a vegan diet, fiber consumption can increase because of all the plant food that you’ll be eating. Don’t get scared, this is amazing! However, if you are not used to eating whole foods, your body might take some time to get used to the new amounts of fiber. I recommend to slowly start incorporating those new healthy foods to your diet, especially legumes. I would start with small amounts and increase them a little each week, until your gut bacteria gets to knows how to handle your new wholesome diet.
7. Drink more water
I know this is a topic that is everywere, we all know it. But, do we do it? Drinking water is vital to promote a good function of the body. Now that you will be eating more fiber rich foods, it is even more important to keep track on what you drink to help your digestion do its work with ease.
8. Eat enough calories
Yes! This might sound crazy but on a vegan diet you might not be getting the same calories as you used to for the same amount of food. Of course this will depend on the foods that you consume but if you are focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, you will want make sure that you eat enough. Plant foods normally have less calories and we have to eat more of them to reach our needs. This is good news! You can eat more and feel more satisfied on a plant-based diet! Just remember that donuts, oreos, ice-cream, etc. are not the kind of foods that I am talking about.
9. Focus on abundance instead of lack
At the beginning you might feel like you are missing out on a lot of things. However, you can switch the perspective and see it in a different way. There are a lot of vegan foods that you problaby haven’t tried yet. A whole new world opened up for me when I became vegan! Different cuisines and spices, vegetables that I never ate before, nuts, seeds, and the list could go on! You can also think that you are gaining in health! I can assure you that eating a healthy vegan diet will provide you with loads of benefits that will change your life: increased energy, focus, better sleep, less anxiety...
10. Come back to your "why"
When you feel weak and ready to give up, think about why you are doing this. Focusing on your "why" can give you strength and motivation to keep going on this new and amazing path that you have embraced. Either if you do it for health, environment or the animals, focusing on that will remind you why you started and why it’s important for you to keep going. I personally do it for ethical reasons and this is what has kept me strong all those years. There’s a higher goal that makes me feel good about what I am doing, that gives me reasons to stay focused and that makes me feel aligned with my values. Thinking about my why takes away any thought about what I am missing out, it just gives me more power and peace.