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You might be a new vegan just in time for the New Year or just thinking about going vegan. This might be an ethical decision or just curious about the health benefits of going plant-based. Regardless something made the seed sprout in your mind to find this article.
Step one………Complete! Making that first step seems easy.
First off, once you get started and adjusted, veganism becomes fairly simple. Making that vegan lifestyle change is the best decision you can make – to reduce animal cruelty, improve your health, and save Mother Earth! You just might need a little encouragement in the right direction in the beginning of your newfound journey.
There has never been a better time to take the leap. The vegan movement has been embraced by most. Consumers can’t seem to get enough, but also grocery chains, restaurants, chefs, and even mom and pop local establishments are delivering. Vegan is the way! New information, new documentaries, and new vegan products are coming out every day. High demand for vegan options is an understatement.
The world is finally starting to wake up to the negative impact of animal agriculture, climate change, and poor health.
So what can you do? Where do you go? What do you eat? How do you get started?
We have the answers!
2. Check Out the World Wide Web
Social media is everywhere. Recipes, pictures, documentaries, advice, clothing, ideas, animal sanctuaries, Meet-up calendar of events, like-minded people, and a sense of doing what’s right is readily available at your fingertips. You can shop, investigate, and learn to your heart’s content. Hook up with others that are vegan too, whether new and/or experienced. A wealth of vegan related help is on the internet for the taking.
- Vegan Support Groups
3. Try New
Try new recipes and foods. Meat, dairy, and eggs are out, but you’ve been used to eating those most of your life. Just a little readjustment is needed. Check out the produce aisle. Pick out a few new vegetables and fruits. Browse through the condiment section. You won’t believe the number of dips and sauces that are certified vegan.
Stock your pantry with easy go-to staples that you can make ahead of time for meal planning for the week like pasta, rice, and legumes. Watch for sales and stock up. There are loads and loads of different spices to try. Pick one up you haven’t used before.
Try vegan meat, dairy, and egg alternatives. New ones are hitting the shelves daily even in the most uncommon places like the animal meat and dairy aisles. You’d be surprised at what you may find. Experiment! You won’t be sorry. Your eating world will completely open up to new foods, new adventures, and new traditions. Give yourself extra time to cook as working with real foods only, may take a bit of an adjustment. There are so many great new vegan products and recipes out there. Now has never been a better time to be a vegan.
4. Don’t Feel Bad About the Past
Why didn’t I go vegan sooner? We vegans all say that at one point or another. Don’t beat yourself up. Everyone can be an expert on the past. The same rings true for veganism. Just pat yourself on the back for finally opening your eyes. Be proud that you are now one of many of the growing movement that wants better for the animals, yourself, and the environment. It only gets easier.
5. Brush Up on Inevitable Questions
Once you announce to the world that you are now a vegan, you’re going to be asked a million questions by now so-called nutrition experts. These “experts” will try and put a chip in your vegan armor. Be prepared!
- Where do you get your protein?
- What do you eat other than salad?
- How do you get all your vitamins and minerals?
- What’s wrong with milk?
- Why would you do that to yourself?
- How can you afford that privileged lifestyle?
- Where do you get your cholesterol?
- Pizza, burgers, Gary (vegan cheese), stews, soups, breads, cakes, etc.…….what don’t we eat?
- Real food! Not processed meats, frozen dinners, and fortified sugary cereals.
- It’s produced for baby cows and we are the only species on Earth to drink another species breast milk.
- I care about animals, Earth, and my health. Why doesn’t everyone?
- It’s actually a whole lot cheaper than animal meat, dairy, and egg lifestyles.
6. You’ll Make Mistakes-Move On
Even seasoned vegan veterans make mistakes. It happens to the best of us when you least expect it. Once my husband and I ate half of a large bag of salt and vinegar potato chips before actually reading the ingredients. The ingredients included milk. Milk? It never crossed our minds.
I thought we were versed in reading all ingredients on every label before eating?! And what the hell is milk doing in salt and vinegar chips? This wasn’t our first mistake. We know it won’t be our last. The important thing is that it was never intentional. Move on, remember to read, read, read, and just keep doing your best to have compassion and understanding. When in doubt, recall of the true definition of veganism, according to The Vegan Society. Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.
7. Stay strong
Times may get tough. You may find yourself in a restaurant seemingly without choices. Don’t worry. You won’t starve. Talk to your server. Chat with the chef. There should be something that can be accommodated for you. You will get better at navigating your way around a restaurant menu. I can’t tell you enough times on how there seemingly looked like we had no options, then after speaking with the wait staff/chef, we had an incredible meal delivered to us. Getting ridiculed endlessly by family and friends might take place. Revert to the answers shown above or just simply ignore them. The ignorant can be so rude, but some of us were just as ignorant of the movement at one time. Some days, you may stand paralyzed in your kitchen not having a clue what to cook, eating beans out of a can or toasting yet more bread. Breathe. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not rocket science. It may just seem that way at the beginning. Sometimes, the vegan world may seem overwhelming, but trust me, it will always be one of the best decisions you have ever made. You will learn. You will grow. It will become second nature.
The animals will thank you. Your body will thank you. Mother Earth will thank you.