I remember the day I went vegan well. It was 2012. I was standing in a well-known food shop looking around for a snack. I remember thinking: ‘Crap, I’m never going to be full again.’ There was literally nothing available that was vegan except hummus and carrot sticks.
Thankfully, seven years on (and still vegan) things have changed and there are more vegan options available each day. Despite this, I know how difficult it can be to make the initial switch, from reading labels, to explaining your new diet to friends, to craving cheese! If you’re wondering how to go vegan and make it stick, here’s some advice.
One of the easiest mistakes people make when going vegan is thinking that it has to be done overnight. It’s totally ok to take it slowly. Taking simple steps like eating meat-free for one day per week, or one meal per day can be much more achievable at first.
Don’t Focus on What You Can’t Eat
Instead of thinking about how much you miss cheese, think about what you can replace it with. For every food you’re worried about giving up, take some time to find an alternative that you love. There are a wealth of meat and dairy replacements out there. With a little experimenting, you’ll find new foods to love.
Embrace New Foods
Try to embrace new foods like tempeh, tofu, nut butters, plant milks, coconut yoghurts and fermented foods which are all delicious and have many varieties. Remember to primarily focus on whole and minimally processed foods.
Try New Restaurants
This is one of the best parts about going vegan! If you’re tired of thinking about what to eat for dinner, sometimes going out to eat provides a welcome break and inspiration for your next meal. The easiest way to find vegan-friendly restaurants near you is to download the Happy Cow app. You can search for every vegan, vegetarian or veg-friendly eatery in your area. Perfect.
Changing your diet can seem like hard work, but it doesn’t have to be. It sounds boring, but things like meal planning all really help. Plan the meals you’re going to cook ahead of time, and shop intentionally for them with a list.
Learn a Few Basic Recipes
Don’t try to master complicated recipes when you first go vegan. Recipes like chilis and stews all yield lots of portions and are simple to make, requiring just one pot. They’re great as leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day and are packed full of healthy ingredients.
As with any dietary change, make sure you’re not missing any nutrients. It’s a good idea to check in with a professional nutritionist for advice.
Don’t Lose Heart
Changing your diet is a huge leap, and what you’re doing is amazing. Remember – be kind to yourself! You’re bound to fall off the wagon occasionally while you’re still new to this and that’s ok – it will get easier with time.
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