Going vegan has never been easier, given the tremendous online resources new vegans have at their disposal. But even then, the whole process can get daunting if you don’t know where and how to begin. If you’ve been contemplating switching to a vegan diet, the following five tips will help you as you make the transition and adapt to your new lifestyle.
Take it slow
As you discover more about veganism, you’ll meet people who switched to veganism overnight and those who’re happy making a more gradual and well-thought-out transition. The truth is that there is no one right way to do this, but slower is usually better for most people, as it gives them time to understand the concept of veganism, learn how to make the right food choices and replace their past favorites with interesting vegan foods.
So go slow—by trading one meal every other day for vegan food, for example.
Start with the familiar
Instead of trying to buy and cook foods that weren’t a part of your routine diet before, start with adapting your current recipe favorites to your new cruelty-free diet. For instance, trade meat for avocados or jackfruit and cheese for tofu or cashew cheese. Similarly, look for healthy substitutes for protein sources such as chicken and eggs.
Don’t force yourself to the home cook
Especially when you’re new to veganism, it helps to use store-bought foods as vegan substitutes in your conventional meals. Give yourself some time before trying to make tofu, yogurt, cashew milk and other vegan ingredients at home, as it may leave you frustrated or overworked and weaken your resolve to go fully vegan.
Once you’ve been at it a few months, you’ll know better and find your sweet spot when it comes to choosing vegan foods that work best for you and deciding whether to buy them or make them at home.
Don’t do it alone
It’s easier to bring such a big change in your life when you’re surrounded and supported by a community that can help you sustain your new lifestyle by virtue of their own experience.
According to Jordyn Smith of Jordyn’s Vegan Products Site, it can be difficult to be a vegan without a support group. Online groups are a great way to feel connected to like-minded people. You can find vegan friends at local vegan potlucks and meetings as well as on online forums.
Don’t get overwhelmed
Even if your family and friends don’t share your enthusiasm for veganism, share your experiences with them so you won’t feel isolated and alone amongst your loved ones. In addition, to avoid feeling overwhelmed, take the time to learn about plant-based foods and the nutrition they provide and remind yourself why you want to go vegan.
With the right information and preparation, you’ll be better equipped to make the transition—and tackle discouraging questions and remarks. The more confident you are about your dietary choices, the easier you’ll find it to sustain your vegan lifestyle.