Veganism has been around since 1944, but it’s still a relatively new concept to many people. The idea of cutting out all animal products to eat a more plant-based diet can be daunting. Most people are hesitant to go vegan because they believe the shift has to occur overnight, and a lot of people don’t want to give up their favorite dessert or snack item. This brief guide will give you tips and tricks to embracing a plant-based lifestyle at your own pace — no sacrifices required.
- Try crowding in, not cutting out. Instead of trying to cut animal products out of your diet, crowd them out by putting emphasis on constantly seeking out new plant-based foods. You won’t miss your scrambled eggs in the morning if you are enjoying a delicious and refreshing smoothie bowl.
- Cultivate the habit of trying new foods at every opportunity. Try starting with sampling at least five new plant-based foods each week. When looking at recipes, find those with ingredients you have never tried or even heard of. This will make your dietary shift exciting and fun!
- There’s no timeline you have to follow. Some people do it overnight, while others ease into it over months or even years. How fast you go is not nearly as important as whether the approach you take feels easy and comfortable to you. Like any other lifestyle change, going plant-based not only takes getting used to, but it also takes time to determine what will work best for you.
- Start small. Making small changes to your everyday meals is one of the easiest ways to increase the amount of plant-based foods in your diet. You could start by removing meat or dairy one day a week and go from there. Or you could try changing one meal at a time, having vegan breakfasts during your first week, adding a plant-based lunch a few weeks or months later, and so on. You could even try changing one product at a time by swapping cow's milk for almond or soy milk, or butter for coconut oil or margarine. There's a plant-based alternative for almost every type of food you can think of, so you don't have to miss out on any of your favorites.
- Give it a test drive. Set a time frame for trying a plant-based diet and at the end of the trial assess how you feel! Do you have more energy? Are you enjoying the adventure of trying new things? If so, keep it up! If not, perhaps start with vegetarianism and then work your way back to fully plant-based lifestyle at a pace that works for you.
- Keep it nutritious. Make sure you don't miss out on essential nutrients. Vegan doesn’t automatically mean healthy. There are vegan versions of almost every type of junk food. As long as you eat a wide variety of plant foods, different types and colors of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes, planning a healthy plant-based diet that incorporates all the vitamins and nutrients you need will be a breeze.
Source: The Vegan Society