When I decided to switch to a plant-based diet, it was fairly easy because I was facing thyroid cancer and was ready to try almost anything that I thought would help cure it. Even though I was motivated and very familiar with vegetarian food, it still took some planning and creativity to make the transition. Thus, I do understand when people are bit clueless about what to eat when they decided to join Team Vegan!
I’ve seen a few people who watch a film or hear startling statistics and decide they are going vegan--cold turkey! This is AWESOME! However, a lot of those same folks fall off the vegan wagon 2 or 3 weeks later because they had no idea of how to go about creating and sustaining a healthy and/or satisfying vegan lifestyle. They come home with bags of produce and no idea of what to do with it all and feel completely overwhelmed and hungry. That is an example of how not to go vegan.
To give you a little help, here are my top 4 tips for going vegan:
Plan ahead. In the beginning, t is paramount that you plan your meals in advance. Winging it is not a good idea in first month or two. This is the time to do a little research or seek out help of seasoned vegans, blogs, health coaches, etc. This is the time to get familiar with what vegans actually eat on a regular basis.
Get great recipes! Step two is to find some tried and true recipes that resonate with you. If you hate broccoli, lets skip the vegan broccoli casserole and go for something you like or that is close to what you’ve been eating. www.RubyLathon.com/recipes is a great place to find a few super healthy and yummy recipes and videos.
Find a few vegan-friendly restaurants for back-up and socializing. This is another very important step. There will inevitably be situations where you don’t have time to cook, are on the go and need to grab a bite to eat while out, or you’d just like to go out to eat and break bread with friends. While there might not be a ton of vegan restaurants in your town, there are always restaurants that are more accommodating to a plant-based diet than others. A good starting point is with ethnic restaurants that focus a bit more on veggies like Thai, Japanese, Indian or Ethiopian restaurants. I’ve found American chain restaurant a bit more difficult to enjoy a good meal because most of the food is pre-made, so substitutions are limited or not possible and they often have very limited vegetable-based options. Local ethnic restaurants do a much better job with interesting options and are able to accommodate substitutions more often. I often use the app, Happy Cow, to find vegan or vegan friendly restaurants near me.
Be patient, experiment and have fun. Do take the time to recognize that this is a big lifestyle adjustment that will benefit you for years to come. As with any adjustment, it takes time to get it right and to get into the flow. There will be some hits and certainly some misses but be ready to keep trying until you find a system that works for you. Be ready to experiment with foods you’ve never eaten before and keep an open mind in the process. If you hate a dish, don’t worry, you’ll be hungry again soon and you can try again!
Get my 28-Day Going Vegan Transition program to take the guesswork out of the process! Get 28 days of recipes, weekly shopping lists, e-books to answer your most pressing questions and a live Q&A session on January 15th. Get instant access at www.RubyLathon.com/govegan. Download it now and get our January discounted price!
Enjoy the process!