A lot of people ask me how I became vegan in the first place. There’s a huge misconception that becoming vegan means throwing away all pleasure when it comes to food. Firstly, it’s really not that bad. Secondly, you learn very fast how to prepare hearty, delicious, vegan food. Thirdly, I promise you’ll actually come to enjoy the process of veganism — and your body will thank you for it!
It’s important to remember that veganism is a process. It’s not an overnight venture any more than becoming a better human being is an overnight venture. It’s an evolution into a better, healthier lifestyle. And I have some advice on how to make that process a little easier.
Take your time with it
When I first became vegan, I was vegan until black tea with milk and honey. There was really nothing that was going to replace cow’s milk in my black tea. That’s how I liked it, and I let it be that way. It’s ok to take your time with removing the animal products that are a little bit harder to get out of your diet. For some people, it may be butter or ghee. For others, it might be chicken. It doesn’t matter. Let it be a process.
It’s a process!
If you’re taking baby steps everyday towards veganism, you’re always getting closer to your goal. Don’t convince yourself it has to happen overnight. Even “full-time” vegans indulge from time to time. That’s okay! It’s not about rules, regulations or identifying with being vegan. If any aspect of veganism is causing you anxiety, then you’re doing it wrong. It should be simple and out of free choice, not pressure.
Don’t tell the whole world
This is one of the best pieces of advice I can give you. If you want to become vegan, start your process quietly. The whole world doesn’t need to know about your dietary choices. Plus, stating your cause to the world invites criticism, which you especially don’t need at the beginning of this process. You also don’t need everybody pointing out when you’re “breaking the rules”. It’s your process, and you don’t have to tell anybody if you don’t want to.
Veggies, veggies, veggies!
Vegetables are packed with nutritional information, are easy to cook and are rich with flavor. As a vegan, you’ll be consuming a lot of vegetables. So focus on the vegetables that you like the most. Veggies can be used to make pizza crusts, pasta, soups and all kinds of wonderful things. In fact, some veggies such as mushrooms are perfect meat replacements.
There’s enough protein in vegetables, trust me
If you’re worried about getting enough protein intake, don’t be. For the most part, it’s a myth that only meat contains enough dietary protein. Legumes like beans and lentils contain plenty of protein. So does quinoa, hemp flour, and nuts. Once you get used to the kinds of things that will make up most of your diet, you’ll find that your stomach doesn’t rumble anymore and that you get plenty of protein.
Try cooking ethnic food
Many ethnic foods are vegan! That’s right! Many Asian and Middle Eastern dishes don’t use animal products. If they do, they usually use ghee or butter which is easily replaceable with olive or coconut oils. Just think about an Indian curry or Ethiopian lentil stew: they are easy to prepare and don’t contain animal products.
Learn new culinary skills
Becoming vegan will turn you into a master of the kitchen. As a vegan, you’ll be preparing most of your own food. This is an opportunity to learn about vegan cuisine and how you can make it delicious, nourishing and filling. Plus, it’s an excuse to go out and buy a few vegan recipe books to keep in the kitchen for inspiration!
Have fun with it!
Most of all, have fun with your vegan process. Don’t shy away from eating out and choosing a vegan option, or eating out and not choosing a vegan option. If you’re out with friends and you fancy a non-vegan glass of wine, don’t let the rules and regulations of vegan extremism get in the way. At the end of the day, you’re making a healthy choice for your life, and being healthy also means steering clear of extremes!