So, you’re interested in taking the no-meat-eggs-or-dairy road? You’ll be among 16-ish million people, including Ellen DeGeneres and Natalie Portman, who’re committed to a plant-based diet that prevents the exploitation of animals, encourages a green lifestyle, and promotes several positive outcomes. Maintaining a plant-based diet has also been identified as one of the most effective ways to nutritionally heal the body and achieve optimal health. As you take the leap to veganism, you might find the transition to be daunting, intimidating, or even scary, but focusing on making small changes at a time will help it feel more natural. Take a look at our five tips on making it through your first week as a vegan!
Play with Your Food
Sorry, parents, but playing with food is now acceptable (and fun) when it comes to going vegan! You can consider it the perfect time to experiment with all kinds of foods that you’ve never eaten or really enjoyed before. Start by making a list of fruits, vegetables, and anything else that you’d like to try. Once you have that down pat, don’t forget to include your favorite herbs and spices that will make your dishes anything but bland or boring! As a new vegan, allow your diet to be much more diverse and enjoyable.
It’s true that having a solid plan before the initial vegan transition can beat having an unexpected meltdown in the grocery store. Planning ahead can involve creating grocery checklists at home and ridding your kitchen of anything besides fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, and other vegan-friendly options. In other instances, like embarking on a road trip across the state, you can plan ahead by packing and bringing food along with you, such as fresh fruit, a good salad, and even trail mix.
Get Enough Nutrients
When you go vegan, it’s important to consume as many nutrient-rich foods as you can—nutrients like vitamin B12 that you’ll be missing from animal products like meat, eggs, fish, or milk. For instance, HealingRadius’ director of marketing and communications, Sara Jane, is a long-time vegan who suggests eating seaweed as it’s one of the few naturally-occurring vegan sources of B12. Other nutrients to look out for are calcium, zinc, iron, and iodine, and similarly to B12, there are plant-based foods, such as kale, corn, and green beans, that’ll give you the right amount.
Beat the Cravings
Cravings are normal, so what should you do if (or when) you suddenly desire a juicy cheeseburger or biscuits and gravy? It’s simple when you can make vegan versions of your old-time favorites! Macaroni and cheese, dip, pizza, ice cream, smoothies, and sandwiches can all be transitioned into vegan dishes that will satisfy you until the very last bite. We do have to say, though, in the worst case scenario, don’t go hungry—just do the best you can!
Follow Vegan Blogs, Read Books, Watch Movies
If you need to remind yourself why you’ve decided to make this change, there are several sources out there that can keep you trucking along. Documentaries, movies, TV shows, books, magazines, blogs, you name it. If you need some help finding the right ones, Your Daily Vegan has the top 5 Netflix documentaries for vegans, Vegan Coach lists vegan books to make your journey easy and fun, and the Academy of Culinary Nutrition lists the top 50 vegan blogs. How’s that for support?
We don’t want to sugarcoat the trials of the first and following weeks. Instead, we’re simply stating that once you get into the swing of things, it’ll become easier and easier. After all, being a vegan comes with several benefits, including weight loss, increased energy, improved digestion, and better sleep! If you happen to be a new vegan with tips for others on making it through, please share them in the comment section below! Here’s to living a healthy and holistic lifestyle.