Transitioning to a vegan diet can be extremely daunting, especially with all of the different types of vegan diets such as high carb low fat, ketogenic, raw vegan, raw until four, etc. It can be hard to determine what works best for you, especially when you’re just starting out. When I first transitioned, I was utterly clueless. I didn’t know what or even how much to eat, therefore I was left hungry and frustrated. I didn’t have anyone close to me that was vegan so it took me quite a while to figure out how to make it work for me. Since becoming vegan I’ve had quite a few people ask me for advice and ask how I stay motivated so I figured I’d come up with a list of things I new when I first started!
1. GO AT YOUR OWN PACE.
Every single person is different, therefore their transition will be different. What may take you a night might take someone else a year! It can be hard to completely change the way you think about food so don’t feel bad if it takes you a bit longer than someone else.
2. TRY VEGANIZING FOODS YOU ALREADY ENJOY.
This was a really big one for me when I first made the change. If you follow me on Instagram, it’s obvious I love stir fries and smoothies and that’s partly because they’re foods I enjoyed before I went vegan. Smoothies are possibly the easiest thing to veganize and stir fries are really easy to throw together.
3. MEAL PREP.
Once you find meals you enjoy, I really recommend meal prepping! I enjoy meal prepping that way I know I always have meals in the fridge and don’t have to cook every single meal of the day. If you’re looking for easy meal prep recipes, I have a stir fry recipe and a tofu ‘ricotta’ stuffed shells recipe.
4. SHOP THE SALES.
I try and go to the farmer’s market weekly as they have fresh produce for cheap! If you don’t have access to one, I really recommend looking at sales ads. I try and compare at least three different grocery stores’ prices each week in order to get my staple items for less money.
5. MAKE SURE YOU’RE EATING ENOUGH.
The biggest issue I’ve seen and even experienced with a plant based diet is not eating a sufficient amount of calories. The first week I made the change, I used MyFitnessPal to track my calories and nutrients to ensure I was getting a decent amount. After a week I had a good enough idea of what my calorie goal looked like in a day, and could therefore gauge how much to eat.
6. ESTABLISH YOUR REASONING.
Whether you’re eating plant based for health reasons or going vegan for the animals and the environment, make sure you know why you’re doing it. Once you establish this, it’ll be much easier to make the change and motivate yourself. If you’re looking for helpful documentaries, I really enjoy Earthlings, Cowspiracy, What The Health, and 101 Reasons to Go Vegan!
7. TRY AND MIX IT UP.
When I first went vegan, I found exactly three meals I enjoyed and ate them for almost a week straight because I didn’t know what else to eat. Once I started trying recipes on Pinterest, I found that I was enjoying my meals a lot more because I had more of a variety! This also helps you grow accustomed to making vegan meals and more familiar with what tastes good together.
8. DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.
Everyone, I repeat EVERYONE, messes up at least once or twice in the beginning. If you do accidentally consume something non-vegan, don’t beat yourself up over it. The first week I started, I accidentally ate whole wheat buns that had milk in them and I admit, I did freak out a little but it’s not worth it. It happens and at least you learn what to look out for next time.
9. FIND MEAT AND DAIRY ALTERNATIVES.
When I first started eating plant based, Gardein mock meat products and FollowYourHeart vegan cheese products were my savior. I don’t eat them as much now but they’re really good for those wanting to find good alternatives! I use tofu, seitan, and tempeh as meat alternatives more so now. As for mock dairy products I love making my cashew milk recipe, along with almond milk, cashew cheese, and nutritional yeast!
10. PLAN AHEAD.
Only a few months after I made the change, I road tripped to watch my best friend graduate from high school and stayed with her and her family for the weekend. Her sister was thankfully really nice about it and didn’t mind the fact that I brought three tupperware containers worth of meals with me. If you’re planning on taking a trip, make sure you bring at least small snacks with you and if you’re eating out, use http://www.happycow.net to find vegan friendly options!
11. TAKE YOUR SUPPLEMENTS.
Although some vegans will argue that you don’t need supplements, you most definitely need a B12 supplement! I get a B12 shot monthly just because I think it’s easier but I used to use the spray. Then it’s just up to you to determine if you need anything else!
12. GET INVOLVED IN THE VEGAN COMMUNITY.
Following other vegans on social media such as Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest has really helped me! It helped me draw inspiration for recipes, constantly have motivation to try new vegan foods, and even learn advice and tips from other vegans.
13. HAVE FUN WITH IT.
Learn to get creative with your food! It’s so much fun creating new recipes and trying new foods. Check out vegan food places near you! This was and still is so much fun to me. I don’t eat out a ton but when I do, I love checking out new vegan options.
This just goes to show that’s it’s not hard to be vegan! It’s actually quite easy once you take that leap so don’t be afraid to. I really hope this helps any of those who are considering going vegan, are just beginning, or even any of those who were lacking motivation!
As always thank you so much for reading!