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If you’re still eating the typical American diet and you think of a vegetarian, what comes to mind?
You probably think of someone not eating meat. All salads, all the time.
Now if you think of someone eating vegan, what do you think of?
CRAZY… A woman wearing handmade clothes chewing on bark yelling at people that eating meat is murder. That’s what I always thought at least.
Switching to vegan cold-turkey is tough… Maybe impossible. Think of switching to eating vegan like you’re stopping smoking or some other bad habit. First, you need to know the benefits of stopping.
Changing from meat-eater to vegan doesn’t have to be be an overnight change. (The peanut gallery and vegan purists are probably yelling at their computer screens now). But it’s true!
But really, switching to veganism is like a self-help journey. If you’re living like a college student, sleeping in, partying, eating garbage food, and studying just enough to get by you’re not going to switch to an early riser, clean eater, high-performance individual over night. It’s going to take lots of baby steps until one day you wake up and you’re a new person.
So what’s the end goal? Healthy eating. Feeling amazing. Having more energy. Sleeping at night. Being awake in the morning.
But how do you get there? How do you go vegan?
I like the “slowly but surely” method. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, and you can take that first step TODAY.
Step 1 – Establish Your Baseline
Come to grips with where you are, what you’re eating, and if this change is worth it to you.
Are you willing to change your diet to feel better in the long-term? I think you are. Just reading this blog is a great first step. You’re already on your way!
Okay, self-assessment over and moving on to step 2…
Step 2 – Baby Steps Toward Eating Vegan
What small things can you give up to start inching toward veganism and a healthier diet?
Don’t worry about giving everything up right now, but what first step can you take?
In our house it was giving up milk. This was an easy switch since our son is deathly allergic to cow’s milk. Our first step was switching to almond milk.
What small step can you take? Maybe it’s switching to coconut or almond yogurt and coffee creamer. It doesn’t have to be huge; just a step in the right direction
Step 3 – Vegan Meal Planning
Build on that momentum! You’ve given up something, so let’s add something better!
So what can you add back in? You’re reading a blog all about losing weight, making healthy choices, and eating vegan. Find a few vegan recipes that look like what you’d normally eat, pin them on Pinterest, hit the store, and give them a try.
If you’re pressed for time you can also use a meal planning service like Forks Over Knives. They even have a free 2-week trial.
If you can find just one or two vegan recipes in these articles or on our Pinterest page you’ve already made a HUGE difference in your life. And the future you will thank you.
Step 4 – Understand That You Are WORTH IT
You’ve given up some of your most unhealthy foods and added in a few new recipes but that ice cream, chocolate bar, etc is calling your name, HELP!
We totally get it.
We’re WITH YOU and here to help!!
Think of food as fuel for your body instead of a comfort mechanism. Also think of your body as a luxury foreign car. You wouldn’t put regular unleaded fuel in your Ferrari right? No way! Power that beautiful body of yours with nutrient rich, healthy, foods!
THAT PERSON IS YOU.
Remind yourself that food is your body’s fuel. And you’re not putting in regular unleaded. Only premium because that’s what you DESERVE.
Ask yourself: what would the BEST version of you eat?
If you took a picture of your plate would it say “this person cares about her body” or would it say, “yikes! – she’s about to have a sugar crash”?
One of the most common questions in this step is “What do I eat for protein after a workout?” Check out our post on 16 great examples of plant based protein sources.
Ok, let’s board the honest train for a second.
You aren’t a saint.
No one is, and there will be days that look better than others. The important thing to realize is this is a journey! The most important thing is that you are making progress. Even if it’s just a few steps, that’s great! Try to be better today than you were yesterday.
Step 5 – Remove Temptations
Don’t let certain foods enter your house!
If they aren’t in the house it’s tough to eat them! We stopped buying milk first, then we stopped buying meat. It became easier to not eat meat when it wasn’t in the house! One great way to help with this step is to meal plan and stick to your grocery list at the store. If you already have an amazing vegan dinner planned you will be less likely to stray.
Step 6 – Ask Yourself: What’s Next?
Determine what other foods you need to cut out.
For some people, this means switching to vegan cheese, yogurt, and milk. For other people it will be changing your evening snack of ice cream to fruit. For others it may include changing over to vegan butters and using egg replacers. By this point you will be feeling so great you’ll be excited to make these last few changes.
Again, if you are having a tough time finding recipes and snacks that don’t feature dairy, we are here for you! Check out our Pinterest page for great vegan snack ideas, dinner recipes, and even desserts.
This step can be tough since you probably left your favorite animal products to be cut out last. Our last animal product to cut out was cheese as we used to cook every meal with it! But trust me… there are ways around it. And I can honestly say I love our vegan queso dip even more than its Velveeta counterpart! Another example is when you’re making a burrito bowl instead of using cheese for creaminess add guacamole (or just avocado slices) to replace it. This might be the hardest step but you’re just looking for progress, not perfection!
Step 7 – Wash, rinse, repeat
By now, you’re making a few vegan meals on the regular, you’ve cut out your most unhealthy habits and replaced them with good ones. All around , you’ve made a TON of positive life changes. Can I just say, WAY TO GO!!!!
You might not be completely vegan at this point but that’s just fine! We’re all about progress but we’re also about being real people. And real people are not perfect. This blog is about imperfect people who are on a health journey! And we want to help you along the way.
If you have made it this far and you really want to, you can push through to becoming a total vegan. All you’ll need is a few more recipes, snacks, and tips. That’s what we’re here for! You might also need to get rid of a few more items from your fridge, freezer, and pantry. But then you’re THERE. The finish line is straight ahead!
We’re all about progress, but we’re also about being real people. For some readers switching to eating vegan is easy. For others it’s really hard. That’s okay! Can you get closer? Can you be healthier today than you were yesterday? Then THAT’S AMAZING!
Life is a journey. No matter where you are, no matter what you’re eating, let’s get better together.