Making the transition to a vegan diet for the first time can be both daunting yet exciting at the same time. The beginner vegan often has many questions or uncertainties about this lifestyle that they are seeking to get answers for. Below is a list of 10 helpful tips for those who are new to the vegan diet, focusing on how to smoothly start a vegan diet and how to ensure that the transition to becoming vegan is as easy and stress-free as possible.
1. Research & Gather Information
Before you make any kind of lifestyle change, it is always a good idea to do plenty of research beforehand. By doing so, you will know exactly what to expect. You need to gather information on what vegans do and do not eat, what benefits there are to going vegan, what obstacles and challenges vegans face, etc. You will thank yourself later on for your thorough research.
2. What Do You Want To Achieve?
For the beginner vegan, I always advise them to write down on paper exactly what they want to achieve on the vegan lifestyle. Whether it be weight loss, to clear up skin conditions (eg: acne, psoriasis, eczema) to achieve inner peace, to reduce allergies, to reverse chronic illness, to concentrate better, to help save the planet, animal rights, etc. – Whatever your reasons are for making the transition to the vegan diet, write them down on paper. Stick them where you can see them every day such as on the fridge.
3. Find Good Recipes
It is absolutely necessary to find and collect some good vegetable recipes, since you will be doing a lot of different cooking from now on. You need to find some quick and easy recipes for the times when you are too tired or busy to cook anything fancy. Also gather a wide assortment of vegetable recipes including vegan breakfast recipes, lunches, dinners, snacks, cakes, slices, desserts, etc … your vegan recipe folder well-prepared for when your start your new vegan lifestyle.
4. Let Family & Friends Know
Let your beloved ones know as soon as you make the decision to become vegan. This will ensure that when you visit them, or when they visit you, food will not be a problem since they have already been informed about your new vegan diet.
5. Be Prepared For Cravings
When you stop eating certain foods, you will inevitably have food cravings from time to time. Be prepared for this and make sure you have some healthy snacks or frozen baking easily accessible so you do not cave in. Find some recipes also for " vegan clones" of your favorite meals and snacks (Note: Professional vegan chefs have written an assortment of recipe e-books to cater for your cravings).
6. Know Your Vegan Food Brands
Nowadays the supermarkets and health shops tailor to the needs of the vegan, so you should have no trouble finding meat-free, dairy-free snacks and foods such as vegan cheese, tofu, vegan chocolate, health bars, "bacon" and cereal. Try them all out and get to know your favorites.
7. Stay Motivated Online
There are many vegan online support groups, chat rooms and blogs that you can visit and interact with fellow vegans online. This will help you to stay motivated, encouraged, and will also help you to realize that you are not the only vegan on the planet!
8. Enjoy Your Fruit & Vegetable Shopping
You will be eating a lot more fresh produce now that you are vegan. Find some fruit and vegetable markets or food stores that deliver quality produce at a reasonable price . Keep in mind that supermarkets are often more expensive. Enjoy choosing your fresh produce and make your fruit and vegetable shopping a relaxing experience!
9. Bake Your Own Healthy Treats & Snacks
Since you will be limited to buying treasures and sweets out at cafés and restaurants, bake your own vegan treats such as brownies, cakes, slices and muffins. Bake an entire batch every week and freeze in individual portions for when you need a treat. Once again, you can find an abundance of vegetable baking recipes online either by websites, blogs, or recipe e-books.
10. Do not Give Up Easily
The transition to the vegan lifestyle is often the most difficult right at the beginning. After a while, it will become easier and easier until it becomes second-nature for you. So for the beginner vegan or those relatively new to the vegan lifestyle, my advice is not to give up straight away but to give your new lifestyle a fair chance . Chances are that after a few months you will be extremely grateful that you never brave up! The rewards and benefits of this lifestyle always outweigh any challenges that you may face from time to time!