Everything You Need To Know About Starting A Vegan Lifestyle
So, you’ve finally decided to make the switch to a vegan lifestyle. Congratulations! Being a vegan is one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll make in your life. Through this one act, you’ll be one step closer to removing anything in your life which involves animal cruelty. A vegan lifestyle carries many health benefits, from better hair and nails to better sleep and digestion. If you're new to vegan diets, you probably don't know where to start. Fret not! This article will give you a few pointers on how you can transition to a vegan diet.
Step 1: Educate yourself on veganism.
There are many different plant-based diets within veganism, like pescatarian diets and Whole Foods Plant-Based Diets (WFPBD).
If you prefer a more interactive experience, you could watch a few vegan documentaries, like Seaspiracy, Forks Over Knives and Food Inc. These give you an insider’s look into why veganism is important.
Step 2: Make a list of foods you can eat.
You can’t start making a concrete meal plan until you know exactly what you can and cannot eat.
For starters, vegans avoid eating any foods which contain ingredients derived from animals. These include:
- Meal and poultry. Foods like beef, lamb, pork chicken and duck are off the table.
- Fish and seafood. Yes, a proper vegan diet acknowledges that sea creatures feel pain too. As a result, all types of fish, squid, scallop and lobster cannot be part of a vegan’s diet.
- Dairy. Even though these can be derived without hurting the animal, they still involve some sort of exploitation. Milk, yoghurt, cheese, ice cream and butter can’t be part of your diet either.
- Eggs. This includes any type of egg, from chicken eggs to ostrich, quails and even fish eggs.
- Bee products. Honey, bee pollen, royal jelly.
- Animal-based ingredients. Some ingredients you might now know originated from animals include whey, casein, L-cysteine, lactose, gelatine, or fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids.
Of course, many of these foods have vegan alternatives. For example, you can easily find beeless honey in many supermarkets, where you’ll also find meat alternatives like cultured meats and mock meats. Instead of using butter, you can use margarine, which is made from vegetable oil.
Tips: If you’re uncertain if your ingredients have meat in them, you can visit https://doublecheckvegan.com/ to know for sure. Even alcoholic beverage can have traces of meat! Yes, vegan liquor is a real thing. To verify if your liquor is vegan, visit https://www.barnivore.com/.
Plant-based meats. These refer to veggie burgers and hotdogs as well as other mock meats. Most plant-based meats try to mimic the mouthfeel and flavour of regular meats. Examples of these include tempeh, tofurkey and the beef used in Beyond Meat burgers.
Cultured meats: These are lab-grown meats, so they avoid the slaughtering of animals altogether. It starts by collecting cells from animals in a painless way. These cells are then taken to labs, where they're grown into meats. You can find cultured meats from many animals, including duck, chicken and cows.
Step 3: Plan your meal.
While it’s good to be spontaneous every once in a while, the average person who’s busy with work just doesn’t have time to come up with something every day. This is why you should plan your meals and cook them in advance. This way, you’ll never come home late from work to find there’s nothing to eat and be tempted to order a pizza.
Step 4: Try it out and see what works for you.
Stick with the meal plan you made and observe any differences. Do you feel more energetic, or do you feel stuffed after each meal? Take note of these changes and tweak your diet accordingly. Remember, there’s no such thing as a “one-size fits all” diet. Each person’s body has its own nutritional needs, so don’t compare yourself with others.
You might consider joining some challenges like the 10-week Go Vegan by Vegan Outreach, or just a movement like “Meatless Monday”. Challenges like these will help you to go through these changes without feeling alone and becoming overwhelmed. You’ll also have someone to discuss any fears or challenges you’re facing along your journey.
Frequently Asked Questions About Vegan Diets:
1. How long does it take to adapt to a vegan diet?
Like any other change in life, it’ll take time for your body to get used to the new diet. We recommend giving yourself at least 21 days to form a new habit.
You could start small and start slow, by changing one meal a day into a vegan meal for, say, 2 weeks, and gradually increase it as you feel more comfortable.
2. What will I gain from this?
Vegan diets have long been associated with a long list of health benefits. People who switch over often find that they're more energetic since they've cut out processed meats from their diet. Others find that they have a healthier digestive system and clearer skin due to fewer inflammatory foods.
3. Can a vegan diet help me lose weight?
Yes! Since vegan food tends to contain less fat than foods with traces of meat in it, you’ll find that you can lose weight naturally in the beginning. Of course, to see consistent results, you’ll have to look into all the other factors involved in weight loss, like whether or not you’re in a caloric deficit.
Remember, changing your diet won’t be easy. Even people who’ve led vegan diets for years find themselves craving non-vegan food from time to time. If you do make a mistake, just pick yourself up and keep going. If you’re considering going back to a meat-based diet, take a deep breath and remember why you started this journey in the first place.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article. For more related articles, visit Japan Vegan Town Blog.