So you really want to go vegan, but you’re struggling with its implementation in your every-day life. Here’s a guest post from DAVID DUNCAN to help you get there.
There are many reasons to go vegan: it helps the planet, makes you healthier, and most importantly, it minimizes the death and suffering of animals. People who have been eating meat their entire lives might find it intimidating to go vegan. They might not know what foods to eat or they might be worried about the social pressures around going vegan. Don’t worry, it can be easier than you think.
Tip #1: Go At Your Own Pace
Many people switch to vegetarianism before they take on a fully-fledged vegan diet. For anyone who doesn’t know, a vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat but who still consumes eggs and milk. A vegan takes it one step further by not consuming anything that’s derived from an animal. If you’re nervous about giving up animal products altogether, consider going vegetarian first, and then over time, switch to a total vegan diet. This may help you build less resentment towards the process and increase your chances of following through with it.
Remember that plant foods aren’t as calorically-dense as animal foods. Therefore, you’ll need to consume a larger volume of food to achieve the same number of calories on a vegan diet. To track your calories, you can use the free tool Cronometer. You should also track your macro-nutrients like protein, fats, and carbohydrates, as well as important vitamins and minerals like zinc, iron, copper, calcium, and many others. The average human needs 2,000-2,500 calories/day to sustain themselves, so make sure you’re getting this much.
Tip #3: Don’t Announce Your Intentions
If you want to go vegan without having others scrutinize your decision, then consider keeping your intentions a secret. Once people find out you’ve gone vegan, they may ask you invasive questions that could make you feel insecure about the process. It’s important that you surround yourself with like-minded people who support your decision. This tip isn’t for everyone. Some people find that telling others about their intentions holds them accountable and can make them more likely to follow through on their goal. It’s totally up to you.
Tip #4: Don’t Panic About Protein
The average person needs a minimum of 45 grams of protein to stay healthy and maintain their muscle mass. It might sound like a lot, but it’s not. For example, a single cup of black beans contains about 35 grams of protein. And that’s just for one serving of food. If you consume 2,000+ calories per day, it’s almost impossible to be deficient in protein. When you go vegan, don’t panic that you’re not getting enough protein. Protein deficiency in the vegan community is virtually non-existent, so there’s nothing to worry about.
Going vegan is much easier if you have a support group available to you. Whether it’s someone who you can physically meet with, or a Facebook friend or page, it’s important that you find support. A forum can also be a great place to connect with like-minded people who are going vegan for the first time.
Tip #6: Experiment With New Foods
Back when I first went vegan, I had very limited knowledge regarding what foods were available to me. But the more I experimented, the more I realised just how many delicious options there were out there. For example, before I went vegan, I had never eaten garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Today, they are my favorite vegan food option and it’s because I was willing to experiment with new meal options early on in my vegan journey. Long story short: don’t be afraid to experiment with new foods.
The final tip that we’ll leave you with is to be resourceful. You’re not going to find all the answers in a single book, seminar, or YouTube video. By ‘be resourceful’, we mean to get your information from a variety of sources to make sure you’re making the most educated decisions possible about your diet. We recommend reading the book How Not to Die by Doctor Michael Greger, as well as checking out Forks Over Knives.
With the growth of vegan restaurants, foods, and support groups, it’s becoming easier than ever to go vegan. As more people hop onboard the vegan train, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the planet joins as well. Good luck!
* David Duncan is the founder of VeganTimes.net