Everything You Need To Know Before Becoming Vegan

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Veganism is becoming more common in America, with around 1.62 million Americans eating a vegan diet. If you’re considering becoming vegan, whether for ethical, moral or health reasons, it’s important to do your homework first and make sure you’re ready for the change. Even the transition from vegetarian to vegan can be quite a big step.

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Should You Go Straight To Veganism Or Ease In?
How you go about this is really down to preference. The best method is the one you will stick to. If you’re worried that too drastic a change to your diet might mean you struggle to stick to it, you could make gradual changes to your diet until you reach a full vegan lifestyle. Start by becoming vegetarian if you aren’t already. Then eat vegan meals a few days a week and gradually phase out the animal products in your diet. Swap to vegan snacks.

If you think this gradual approach will mean you put off going fully vegan, then go cold turkey on animal products. You’ll get used to vegan eating more quickly than you might think.

Don’t forget to think about animal products other than food. You will also need to eliminate other animal based products from your life. Check your wardrobe for leather and sell on, donate or throw out these items. Next, take a look through your bathroom cabinet. A surprising amount of skincare products use animal by products, whether in the ingredients or by using bees to pollinate plants. Instead, stock your cabinet with products like Malin + Goetz vegan body lotion.

How Do You Deal With Negative Reactions From Friends And Family?
People can be strangely invested in other people’s eating habits, and you may find that some of your friends and family may not be thrilled by your choice to become vegan. First identify what is worrying them. They may be concerned that your diet will be lacking in nutrients or they may be worried that you think less of them for choosing to continue to eat animal products. Be prepared to answer their questions to help them understand your choice and why you’re doing it. Reassure them that their own diet is their choice and you are making this decision just for you. It may be worth also gently reminding them that as an adult, your own nutrition is your own business and that you can feed yourself perfectly healthily on a vegan diet.

Of course, if they aren't concerned and are just being rude, you don’t owe them any explanations at all. Let them know that rude comments are unacceptable and as someone who loves you, they should support your choice. Try not to be drawn into arguments about veganism. This won’t change anyone’s mind and just leaves you frustrated and angry.

If your friends and family still aren’t convinced, win them over with some delicious food. Invite them round for dinner and cook a tasty, but totally, vegan meal. There are often a lot of misconceptions about the vegan diet and what vegans actually eat, so showing them that your food choices are actually varied, interesting and enjoyable to eat can help to break down those ideas of a diet made entirely of chickpeas.

How Can You Get Enough Protein?
Vegetarians and vegans spend a lot of time answering questions about where they get their protein, but in the Western world, protein deficiency is actually really rare, even for vegans. There are plenty of things other than meat that you can eat to make sure you’re getting plenty of protein without compromising your vegan values. Beans, pulses, seeds and nuts are all great. Sprinkle some pine nuts over a salad or pasta, or add a can of beans to a chilli. Easy protein and all vegan. If you’re worried, take a look at these vegan athletes, to show you that can build muscle with all the protein you can eat on a vegan diet.

Will You Get Enough Vitamins And Minerals?
With the protein problem dealt with, you need to make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals. One vitamin that is harder for vegans to get enough of is B12, as this is most commonly found in meat, fish and eggs. Going short on B12 will make you feel weak and exhausted. You can get your B12 in a vegan way from fortified foods, like dairy alternatives, cereals and yeast extract. You could also take a B12 supplement to help you get enough of it.

Without any dairy in your diet, you should also think about where you get your calcium from. The easiest solution is a fortified plant milk, which have the same amount of calcium as cow’s milk. Fortified yogurt or other dairy alternatives can also be useful for this.

Is Veganism Affordable?
Perhaps due to high-end health food stores, a vegan diet is often viewed as being very expensive to follow, which can be a worry for some people. If you’re smart with what you buy, you can actually eat very cheaply. Steer clear of processed foods, and anything labelled as a ‘vegan’ alternative as these tend to have inflated prices. Instead buy fresh or dried ingredients like fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts and beans and you can cook tasty, healthy and cheap meals.

Can You Still Eat At Friend’s Houses?
If a friend invites for you dinner, it can be a worry that either they’ll accidentally feed you a non-vegan product or that cooking for you will be a nuisance for them if other diners aren’t vegan. Think about who invited you. Have they been respectful of your veganism? Have they expressed an interest in learning about vegan food? If this is the case, you can pretty safely accept that invite. Pay attention to what is put in front of you and you should be fine.

If you are worried, suggest an alternative. Invite them round instead and ask them to bring drinks or dessert. If they’re interested in your veganism, perhaps suggest you go round early and help them cook. You can of course always just suggest going out instead. You don’t have to become a hermit to remain a vegan.


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