Have you been thinking about going vegan? To start a vegan lifestyle may seem daunting to some, but with modern amenities like online recipes and frozen-food catered to vegans, it couldn’t be easier to make the transition. In fact, 6% of Americans now consider themselves to be completely vegan, a 4% increase over the last 3 years.
If you discovered the health and environmental benefits and are beginning to understand the spiritual awakening effects of a vegan lifestyle, then follow these simple tips to start your vegan journey.
Make a gradual shift
Throwing out all your food might be your first reaction but remember that this is a process not a race. Going cold turkey can lead to frustrations and relapses, especially when you don’t have the proper ingredients to replace the ones you tossed.
Start with the big items: the meat. You can donate your old food to friends and family so that the food doesn’t go to waste.
The smaller items like condiments can wait until you find alternatives. It is quite expensive to buy an entire kitchen worth of sauces and garnishes all at once, but don’t worry; you will get there.
Visit your frozen food section
Most grocery store chains have a variety of organic, vegan frozen food. This is a great place to start researching new non-meat alternatives without having to do too much work.
You can find out which products suit your taste buds and eventually start making your own seitan, tofu, and tempeh.
Plus, there are some really yummy prepared items that keep your freezer stocked full of easy-to-make meals. These come in handy on days when you just don’t have time to cook.
Read the labels
As you dive deeper into your grocery list, you may notice that many of your favorite snacks contain milk, eggs, gelatin, or some other animal product. So, it is really important to not assume something is vegan.
You will develop expert scanning skills because this does take time at first. When in doubt, a quick trick is to check the cholesterol content. All vegan products have zero cholesterol, so 99% of the time your product is vegan.
And do not forget that this applies to your clothing, furniture, accessories, and anything that could be made from animal skin: leather, suede, wool, etc.
Experiment with new recipes
One of the most exciting activities will be exploring new recipes. You will gain knowledge and learn some vegan hacks along the way.
For instance, there is a replacement for everything, even cheese!
Plus, ingredients like nutritional yeast, agave, and agar not only mimic the texture of your old foods, they are also filled with natural vitamins and minerals.
Add seeds, nuts, grains and beans
For snacking, garnishing, and even as the main course, you will notice that eating like a squirrel is not too shabby.
Topping off your cereals and salads with chia or flax seed or adding some almonds or cashews to your stir fry adds iron, protein, and fiber to your meals.
The versatility of beans helps you create delicious burgers, dips, and tacos. Add grains like quinoa or brown rice for some extra crunchy texture.
Your vegan journey is a time to explore, learn, and grow. The benefits of a vegan diet will start to become a reality as you will gain energy, insight, and confidence in your choices. For a choosing to be vegan is more than a diet, it is a lifestyle.