How to go vegan (without losing your mind)

Going vegan is not as difficult as you may think. I really believe that if you have the right mindset you’ll find it very easy. If you’ve been researching on how to go vegan, look no further, this post is for you!

Eating a vegan diet is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and reduce your risk of developing many chronic diseases. I won’t go into too much detail, but research shows that a vegan diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. It may even reverse certain types of cancers. With superbug MRSA spreading through poultry, steroid hormones in dairy products causing hormonal imbalances,  red meat increasing the risk of cancer, and the risk of accumulating toxins like polychlorinated biphenyls, mercury, and dioxins from eating fish, there isn’t a better time to go vegan!

What is a vegan diet?

Before we look at how to go vegan, let’s clarify what a vegan diet is. A vegan diet is one that excludes all animal products and their by products. So fish, meat, chicken, all dairy products (yogurt, milk, cheese) and eggs should be no longer be part of your diet. It doesn’t stop there though. Biscuits, cakes, sweets, and processed foods that contain any of these items will also no longer be suitable for you. So yes, you have to read the ingredients on every prepackaged food product that you buy. If you’re not completely sure about a particular food despite reading the ingredients, I would say don’t eat it. This advice is especially true for products that contain gelatine in them (e.g haribo), since most gelatine is animal-derived.

My best tips on how to go vegan

Research

Read as much as you can on what veganism entails. This will help you confirm that you are making the right decision. Websites like The Vegan Society and PETA provide a lot of basic information on veganism. YouTube is also a great resource, but be careful with it because people provide conflicting information on what you should and shouldn’t be doing as a vegan, which can be very overwhelming. If you think you can handle the controversy without getting confused, go for it. If not, scratch that advice. I intend to write a post about the vegan channels that have helped me on my journey, so keep an eye out for it.

Learn about food

It is important that you read about the health benefits of various fruits and vegetables so you have a good idea about the nutrients they provide. This will help you with food combining and will ensure that you are getting as many nutrients as possible. This probably sounds complicated, but I promise you it isn’t. You don’t have to read about everything in one go, take it slowly. I still learn new things every day.

Consider a slow transition

Going vegan overnight is not for everyone. If it is for you, great! But, if not, then great too! If you’re the latter, I would advise that you cut out the things you can live without first and then move on to the things you find more difficult to give up. It will give you more confidence to tackle the next ‘hurdle’. If it helps, make a list of all the things you need to eliminate from your diet to make it vegan. Then cross each one off the list when you’re sure you’ve completely removed it from your diet. Remember that going vegan is not a temporary diet, it is a complete lifestyle change. There’s no race, no finish line, and no prize to win (apart from great health) so take your time.

Keep it simple

This is especially important if you don’t, won’t, and can’t cook. I guarantee that this well change the longer you stay vegan. You will come to find that there is an abundance of plant foods on this planet, it will be very hard to resist cooking a new recipe. You will also come to love food and wonder why you haven’t been eating this way all your life. Okay, I realise I’m digressing..back to the point. Eat simple foods like rice, potatoes, beans, fruits and vegetables. Basically, eat things that are simple to put together and don’t require too much preparatory time. Don’t worry about making more complex things until you get really comfortable eating a vegan diet. I have quite a few simple meal ideas on my Instagram page you check out for inspiration.

Eat whole, healthy foods at least 95% of the time

When eating a vegan diet, you need to ensure that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet. You will be doing yourself a great injustice if  base your diet around vegan junk food and ready-made meals. This is mainly because you will deprive yourself of the nutrients you need to stay healthy and you will never enjoy the wonderful health benefits vegans talk about.

Don’ let anything/anyone discourage you

A lot of people will try to discourage you from eating a vegan diet either because they think its extreme, or because they think you’re going through a life crisis (I got this one a lot). Deep down I think its because they admire the courage you have to do something very different from the norm, and they wish they had the discipline you have to do the same. So rather than letting them get to you so much that you give up, keep it at the back in front of your mind that you working you way towards becoming an inspiration for a lot of people.

Follow inspiring pages on Instagram

There are a lot of vegan pages on Instagram with beautiful food that literally make your jaw drop. They look impossible to make most times, even to me! As far as I’m concerned, those pages are eye candy – amazing for times when I just want to appreciate the beauty of the food and talented food stylists. Those pages are perhaps not the best for new vegans because they don’t really provide practical meal ideas. So, I would suggest looking for pages that show food you can relate to. I will compile a list of some of my favourite pages for this in another post.

I hope these tips on how to go vegan will  help you on your vegan journey. You can read my story on how and why I became vegan for more inspiration. If you have any question, please don’t hesitate to comment below, email or complete the contact form.

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