So granted this should have probably been part 1 or 2 your feedback has given me a little insight into what questions are really at the forefront of your mind. So you know you want to lead a more plant based lifestyle and you want to know where to begin. The first thing you should not think is that one day you will wake up and just be vegan. It doesn’t really quite work like that. For most of us who are choosing to become plant based eaters we grew up in a very meat based culture probably eating almost any and everything associated with the American Standard Diet. I was fortunate enough to grow up learning what it was like to eat different than others as my mother and I didn’t eat pork, but for others the concept of restriction may seem daunting.
Psyching Yourself Out
90% of your eating choices are psychological. You find comfort in foods that you grew up with. The thought of not being able to eat your favorite cookies, cakes, and family recipes may be a little scary, but that’s because you are looking at it all wrong. Don’t focus on what you can’t have, focus on what you can. Eating veggies that you’ve never tried in ways you never thought is half the fun. Change your mind-set to look at this as an adventure and a journey to a new way of being.
Again it’s not a race to who can be the most vegan first lol. Go at your own pace and slowly give up meats and meat products starting with the most addictive and harmful and slowly making your way into less and less unhealthy choices. For example start by cutting all red meat (pork, beef, goat, lamb), then make your way to chicken and turkey, lastly leaving fish as your main meat intake. My advice is to allow fish to remain in your diet while you begin to wean off of dairy, eggs, and all other meat products. Make sure your fish is wild caught (it’s the healthiest) and stay on course by adding more veggies into your diet. Stay consistent with your dark leafy green intake and try adding more protein filled grains into your diet like quinoa, amaranth, brown black and wild rice, ect. When it comes to dairy try switching to goat dairy which is a bit more nutritious and start to experiment with nut milks and find which one will suit you best. One day when the time is right you will know when your body is telling you to give up certain things and before you know it you will be a vegan! Remember DON’T RUSH it’s a lifestyle NOT a competition.
Now this is a really hard one especially around the holidays sheesh can you say vegan challenge! Just trying to resist all of your favorite foods as your family encourages you to cheat with the snide comments like, “It won’t kill you.” “Just take a bite.” Or “It won’t hurt.” Yeah, that’s not helpful AT ALL,
Tips for the resistance!
- My main tip for resisting temptation is when you know that you are going to be in an non vegan friendly environment bring some back up snacks or dishes. You can share if it’s a family or friendly gathering; if you want to keep most people away from it tell’em its vegan and the non-veggie lovers will avoid your dish like the plague.
- When watching T.V. and a juicy chicken commercial comes on change the channel.
- When walking or driving down the street and you see all kinds of restaurants full on non-vegan friendly foods. Keep it MOVING!
- Pick a vegan food you absolutely love and use it as your go to meal every time you feel those cravings for that non-vegan fav kick in.
- Learn more about how your cravings are actually speaking to nutrient deficiencies and learn what foods are better options. (CLICK HERE TO WATCH a video that explains which foods we crave and why)
Jump starting with a fast
Based on the fact that it takes 21 days to form or break habits you can use the concept of a 21 day fast to release a food or food group from your diet. Its greatly suggested that we fast for atleast 21 days every season to keep our health tight anyway, so use this tool to keep you going on the right track. If you get discouraged and need a little help that okay contacting a health coach or referring to my new 21 day cleanse service can assist you in not feeling so daunted by the task. If you go at it alone do your research on fasting and how it may affect your body so you can be forewarned of what to expect. Either way using that time as a tool to strategize and plan new and exciting meals that can help you along your vegan journey is well worth the fuss.
Don’t get caught hungry!
My last tip is to become the vegan snack hoarder, stuff your knapsack or purse with all sorts of fruits, portable raw veggies, and nuts/seeds. This will be your emergency snack for when the struggle becomes oh, too real and you’re in a faceoff with your favorite blueberry muffin left in the break room at your job. Staying prepared will keep you from feeling cohersed by non-vegan foods availability into making choices that you may regret later.
So the basic gist here is stay prepared mentally and physically so that you can grow into the blossoming vegan you are at heart. Remember to listen to your body and never starve as an alternative to eating crap. Most of all stay encouraged ITS NOT A RACE and you will make mistakes along the way it’s natural, don’t beat yourself up just stay on the path and you will absolutely love yourself for it.
New to the series? Don’t forget to read
Pt. 5 How do I travel while vegan?