7 Easy Ways To Transition to Veganism
1. Do Research
Take it from me, when I first became vegan, I didn't know anything about nutrition. This led to me suffering from anemia and feeling lethargic all the time. However, once I learned what my body needs (a balance of protein, carbs, fat, and the micronutrients), I was able to find balanced meals. I like to think of the USDA MyPlate as a way to balance my plate.
2. Take it one step at a time
Going vegan is a transition and takes conscious effort. It's not easy to change your diet overnight! Don't be afraid to take veganism in steps. For example, you can do Meatless Monday for a few weeks, then you can transition to being a pescetarian (you can eat fish but no meat), then a vegetarian (you can have eggs and dairy, but no meat or fish), and then go vegan. It is not a contest. Do what feels right for your body!
3. Don't worry if you mess up
We all get cravings. I used to love eating chicken wings, and for my first six months as a vegan, I constantly craved meat. Just know that the cravings do go away and that if you give in, it's not the end of the world. I've met many people who accidentally eat dairy, eggs, or meat, and it makes it easy to say, "Well I guess I should stop being vegan," but take it as an opportunity to do better next time. The holidays are especially difficult when your family members are eating non-vegan food, but if you can make it through, it will be easier next time!
4. Don't be afraid to start with the fake meat and cheese
The fake meat and cheese are meant to make it easier to stop missing meat and cheese. Anything that you ate when you weren't vegan, you can find a vegan version of. There are vegan hot dogs, burgers, cream cheese, etc. The taste and texture may be a little different than what you're used to, but if you go in with an open mind, it tastes good!
Here are some of my favorite brands (stores like Whole Foods usually carries these brands):
For fake cheese, check out Daiya and Miyoko's Kitchen
For fake meat, check out Beyond Meat and Gardein
5. Veganize your favorite recipes
Nothing says comfort food like what your mom used to make you growing up. Take something you love to eat and veganize it! Some good substitutes are below:
6. Find a community
Everything is more fun with friends! I always struggled with being the only vegan in my friend group, which leads to a lot of jokes of whether I want to go to Korean BBQ and if I eat grass. I love them, and they're great, but it's also refreshing to have a group of friends who are vegan and get excited by the latest vegan restaurant coming out. Instagram is a great place to find other vegans, Facebook (check out Vegans of New York), reach out to your favorite bloggers (they're people too!!), go to meetups (or organize your own), and go to vegan events (in NYC, we have the monthly Vegan Shop Up, the Vegan Market, and the yearly Vegetarian Food Festival).
7. Visit a Farm Sanctuary
You may not be vegan for animal ethics, but it's nice to see the impact that veganism has and add another reason to be vegan. Farm Sanctuaries are a safe haven for rescued farm animals to live out the rest of their days. People can visit sanctuaries, learn more about factory farms, the environment, and interact with the animals. Whenever I go to a Farm Sanctuary, I'm reminded of the importance of why I'm vegan - for the planet, for the animals, and to better myself.
Feel free to contact me with any questions!