So you are in the process of going vegan but don't know where to start. Luckily, going vegan is actually way easier than what you may have heard.
Learn as much as you can. Get involved in online vegan group pages and forums. Follow vegan Instagram accounts and explore #vegan hashtags. There are many ways to get involved and stay in the know. Watch documentaries like:
- Cowspiracy to learn more about the implications animal agriculture has on the environment.
- Earthlings to learn more about about how major industries rely on animals for profit
- Forks Over Knives to explore the disease prevention and health benefits of a whole food plant based diet
What Is A Vegan? A vegan is someone who aims to prevent the harm and exploitation of animals. This means a vegan excludes animals and their bi-products from their diet, their clothing, make-up, household products, and all other purchases as much as practically possible.All industries rely on animals and their bi-products to make a profit. From the more obvious things like dairy, made from the stolen milk of mother cow, to the cattle bone char that we use to filter and whiten sugar. Animal derivatives are in countless things so it's important that we make informed purchases if we really want to prevent harm to animals.
What Do Vegans Eat? A vegan eats foods that grow from the ground, such as legumes, grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. They avoid meat, dairy, eggs, cheese, honey, and gelatin. There are some amazing vegan non-dairy milks, non-dairy cheese, faux meats, and a variety of classic snacks that are vegan. Many people think of the foods they are getting rid of rather than the ones they can eat. Instead of having a limiting mindset, crowd your plate, fridge, and kitchen with plenty of vegan friendly options. Ironically, most people say they eat more variety after they go vegan. It literally opens people up to a new world of cuisine. There are thousands of plant based foods (think of every edible plant that grows from the earth) which can all be made into the traditional dishes you already love. Things like burgers, burritos, tacos, pasta, stir fry, pizza (and so much more) can all be made vegan, without sacrificing flavor!
A support system is your best tool. Making your personal health and lifestyle goals a priority can be difficult. It is true that your mind is influenced by who you hang around, and what you see consistently. When you’re surrounded by distractions, and other people who don’t get whether you stick to your lifestyle or not, it’s important to have an anchor that will keep you focused. Just having one person who is vegan, or at least respects your values, will be make this infinitely easier.
What’s your ‘why’ This should be an obvious one. Having compassion for animals is the foundation for choosing a vegan lifestyle. Of course, there are many other additional benefits that come with a vegan lifestyle. Removing animals products from your diet can help you get healthier, and reduce your impact on the environment. But again, having empathy for animals (or just the logical reason to not harm them) will resonate with you more than anything else.
Stay connected on social media Even though you might not personally know many people who are living the same lifestyle as you, you’ll find thousands just on Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. This way you can be inspired by their recipes, food choices, and lifestyle.
Have fun! Not only will cutting out processed foods and eating more whole foods make you feel good, but this lifestyle will reward you in many other unexpected ways. You’ll be meeting new people and be able to experience things you’d never even think of, because being vegan opens up your mind. It gives you an opportunity to be a part of a loving, happy, and conscious lifestyle!