I used to stand firmly by the belief that veganism is a form of lifestyle extremism. The fact that my vegan acquaintances were mostly what you’d call difficult people certainly prompted this opinion, but the generalization is always wrong and it wasn’t until I met a particularly important friend that it started to change.
The key must have been the fact that, after finding her demeanor totally compatible to my own sensibilities, her vegan diet was the last thing I learned about, and it was mostly a matter of dining circumstance. She practically never found it necessary to mention it or talk about it.
The changeover for me began with questions, and now – fast forward three years – I still enjoy the benefits of this diet and have no need to go back. Here’s what you must know to make a change if you have decided to transition to veganism.
Don’t go cold-turkey
One of the fundamental mistakes of going vegan is the adoption of this mindset without a transitional period. You cannot go cold-turkey without side-effects. Doing anything in extremis can knock your life out of balance, and excluding meat and dairy products (broadly speaking) out of your diet with the snap of your fingers is definitely an example of such radicalism. It is important to note that such an abrupt change can work for some people, but mostly it doesn’t. First of all, you need to give yourself enough time in order to get educated properly.
Some fundamentals you need to know
Learning about veganism can be just as enjoyable as the metabolic benefits of such a diet. There are several categories of this lifestyle, but it mainly differentiates from vegetarianism in several key points. While vegetarians typically ingest dairy products and fermented goods along with eggs – in other words, they just avoid meat – strict vegans refrain from consuming any type of animal products and all derivative substances. In some instances this even includes honey.
Join an online community
In any case, no matter how knowledgeable you become about the topic, it would be prudent to join a reliable online vegan community. This should become a hub where you can meet other vegans for the sake of sharing outlandishly delicious recipes, as well as to dispelling misinformation and clearing up certain questions. While it is nice to have access to the community that shares your values, it should also serve as a great entry point for all of the ‘fledgling’ vegans. I must admit that there were days when I felt insecure about whether to continue my diet, and one such online community helped me out immensity.
It’s the whole world of adventurous eating
When you close a proverbial door on one sort of food, you open the floodgates to a whole new realm of opportunities. If you think that a vegan diet is restrictive, just check out this delicious banana, avocado and coffee cake-combo. Trying out new types of meal that you have never tasted before is a gourmet escapade for your taste buds and a good method of enticing yourself to keep these dietary habits.
Phase the meat out by crowding it out
For me, the culinary adventure was an integral part of the transition, but another method that helped me immensely – and the one that I wholeheartedly recommend to you – is to ‘crowd’ the ingredients out of your previously omnivorous diet parallel to your nutritional exploration. The way I went about this was to continue preparing regular meals and just added more and more vegetable side dish to it whilst I reduced the presence of meat on the plate until it became completely absent from it. If everything else fails, this is a tried and true method you can rely on.
The most important thing to know about going vegan is that it is not about restriction or trends. It is not a passing fad for modern lifestyle enthusiasts but a reliable contributor to balanced immunity, healthy weight and, interestingly enough, positive environmental impact. It’s about doing your part in renouncing the overwhelming ‘machinery’ of pollution found within the beef industry and acknowledging that animals deserve their own share of respect.