5 Steps to Become VEGAN Strong!
So... You seen “What’s the Health?” Or your doctor recommended you to try a plant based diet, or just curious and want to become a healthier holistic you... Whatever the reason, you’ve decided that you’d like to become vegan, but unsure where to begin? The big HOW questions, and maybe even wonder if you will get adequate protein? I am here to tell you, as a Vegan Athlete, that you will get plenty of protein! There is no short on getting the proper fuel to still build lean muscle an burn fat. And if you are not an athlete, you may think, “Will food still be delicious?” The answer is yes! You will still be able to enjoy appetizing dishes that not only taste amazing, but are much better for you! More nutritious and delicious! You cannot beat that combination!
Transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, just like any new transition in life, can seem really daunting but often the idea of huge lifestyle change is a lot scarier than actually doing it. If you focus on making one change at a time the progression to veganism will feel natural. It’s important to go at your own pace and to decide on a method that works best for you. Here are some ideas and tips to help structure your transition to veganism, just be sure to tailor them to your specific needs.
FIRST STEP: Develop your BIG WHY? Why are you making this lifestyle change and keep that motivation strong.
There is a big difference between "going on a diet" & truly adopting a vegan lifestyle. It’s easy to be tempted into straying from a diet plan or “cheating”, but it’s not the same with veganism. When you know exactly WHY you want to be vegan you simply don’t stray from the lifestyle. This is why it is so important to learn the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and the effect animal products have on our health, environment, and humanity. Once you’ve taken the time to open your eyes to the real effects animal products have on our lives it just sticks with you and there’s no going back on that.
SECOND STEP: Maintain a POSITIVE Mindset.
Think of all the new and delicious foods there are to try rather than thinking about the foods you’re giving up. You may find yourself surprised at how many options there are. Some of your favorite foods are most likely vegan to begin with. Plus there are so many international dishes that are suitable for vegans, that it will be easy to transition your favorite non-vegan meals and recipes to full-vegan.
THIRD STEP: DO YOUR HOMEWORK! LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!
Before you even begin the transition the first step is to start familiarizing yourself with the vegan lifestyle. This will really help you feel knowledgeable and prepared as you begin the change.
Learn the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and educate yourself about the practices. Then develop your own personal “WHY” you are deciding to make this change for your life.
Learn how to optimally nourish your body on a plant-based diet. What are the top protein plant based sources? What are some great dairy, cheese and meat-substitutes? Trust me there are tons! (Nut Cheese & Beyond Meat Brand are both amazing!)
Start reading ingredients lists – Learn how to tell if a product is vegan and familiarize yourself with the less obvious animal derived ingredients that show up in unsuspecting products.
Keep your eyes open for vegan products at your local grocery store, research vegan friendly restaurants and grocery stores in your area.
Read, watch, learn. Seek out vegan documentaries, books, magazines, websites, blogs, forums, and people. They can offer valuable insights, support, and will help you to feel more confident in your transition.
FOURTH STEP: ADD TO YOUR DIET BEFORE YOU SUBTRACTING FROM IT
Begin incorporating more whole grain, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and tofu (optional), other meat substitutes into your diet. Familiarize yourself with their preparation, storage, and uses.
Start collecting and experimenting with vegan recipes that appeal to you.
Find a few different quick and easy vegan meals that you enjoy and get comfortable preparing them.
Switch out milk for a non-dairy alternative such as almond, coconut or soy. This is a simple switch for most people but there’s a lot of options, so experiment to find which you like best. You can even begin to make your own milk from scratch with Ellie’s Nut Milk Bag :-)
FIFTH STEP! OFFICIALLY MAKING THE TRANSITION:
OPTION 1-VEGETARIAN FOLLOWED BY VEGANISM:
Go vegetarian and then move onto veganism either in one step or by cutting out dairy and eggs one at a time.
Remove all meat from your diet, including fish and poultry. Try not to increase your consumption of eggs and dairy to take the place of meat, focus on including more plant-based protein sources instead.
Pay attention to ingredient labels, avoid products containing gelatin, rennet, and other animal products (excluding dairy and eggs).
If you haven’t already, begin incorporating more whole grains, beans, legumes, tofu, nuts, and seeds into your diet.
Once you feel comfortable to move forward you can start phasing out dairy, eggs, and honey. Feel free to do this all at once, one food group at a time, or as slowly as you need to.
OPTION 2- SLOW TRANSITION FROM MEAT-EATER TO VEGAN:
Slowly cut out animal products, starting with the easiest and leaving barrier foods to the end.
Slowly lessen your consumption of animal products while simultaneously increasing the number of plant-based foods in your diet.
Remove any animal products that you won’t miss in your diet.
If you haven’t already, incorporate more whole grains, beans, legumes, tofu, nuts, and seeds to your diet while simultaneously cutting down on the animal products that you’ll miss the least.
You can gradually cut down on all animal products or remove one food/food group at a time.
Remove barrier foods after you feel comfortable with all of the other changes in your diet.
Pay attention to ingredient lists, you may find it easier to begin avoiding the less obvious animal derived ingredients one at a time. You can also choose to overlook them until you’ve removed all obvious animal products (meat, seafood, dairy products, eggs, etc.) from your diet and you feel comfortable eating mostly plant-based foods.
OPTION 3- GO FULL-ON VEGAN:
Cut out all animal derived ingredients and incorporate lots of whole grains, beans, legumes, tofu, nuts, and seeds for a healthy vegan diet. Enjoy protein bars? There are vegan options too! Try out Planet Protein for some delicious bars, amazing post workout!
Swap out all of your favourite non-vegan items for vegan alternatives. Many people find that relying on vegan burgers, hot dogs, deli slices, cheeses, etc. can really help ease the transition when cutting out animal products all at once.
If you want to dive right in, feel free jump into veganism straight away! You’ll want to continue educating yourself so that you’re as prepared as possible.
Overall, enjoy the process, and do not beat yourself up if yo occasionally cheat. It is a part of the journey toward your holistic vegan transition. :-)
In Love & Health,
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