Upon finishing my junior year in college I decided to take complete control over my life (or try to at least). I decided to become vegan! Why? To live that healthy lifestyle we all try to live. After doing a little bit of research and just jumping right into the venture, these are a few things I learned along the way. And if you've ever thought about becoming vegan or just trying to eat clean these tips may just help you too!
1. Always read the labels.
This is number one not only because it’s an important fact about being vegan, but also because everyone should ALWAYS read the labels of things they put into their bodies. The saying "you are what you eat" reigns true!
2. The world doesn't cater to veganism
Its way harder to eat a vegan diet simply because you will always be bombarded with a juicy hamburger advertisement or a gourmet chicken meal teasing your taste buds. Hopefully if you were becoming vegan to help stop animal cruelty this would not be a problem. Otherwise, finding the motivation to search, and I mean really search, for things that are vegan and still just as delicious.
3. You still kinda need meet.
Lets be honest here. The amount of protein, Zinc, Iron and Vitamin B12 we get in meat and dairy sometimes just cannot be substituted. So how exactly can someone be vegan and still be completely healthy? Be vegan before 6! A lovely cashier at Whole Foods advised I read it for this vegan journey. Vegan Before 6 is a book written by Mark Bittman about eating healthy and loosing weight. However, if being vegan is just what you want to be there sure supplements and vitamin pills.
4. There are tons of really good meals you can eat.
Seriously. Don't just eat lettuce and beans! There are more vegan recipes on the wonderful interweb! Even the most boring recipes often times taste delicious. There are also vegan restaurants close to home that I never knew existed.
8. Vegan doesn't mean healthy.
There are still foods that pass as vegan but are full of fat. Reading the ingredients and looking for natural ingredients is important. Just because you went vegan does not always mean it is healthy.
9. Hungry? Drink water. You might be surprised
There have been many times, especially in the beginning of this vegan journey that I would just go hungry because I simply did not know what to eat, and to be honest I was craving meat. Very very badly. So to get over this hunger I drank lots and lots of water. By the time I finished 2 bottles, I forgot I was ever hungry. I realized it might have just been thirst.
10. There's meatless chicken!
Yeah, maybe everyone else knew this already but I just learned that there is meatless chicken and vegan burgers made out of beans or quinoa that still taste absolutely delicious!
To be a new to a vegan diet takes a lot of self-discipline. Staying on top of things will keep you disciplined in a variety of areas of your life.
12. Fruit smoothies are the way to go!
I've always enjoyed a fresh fruit smoothie. It’s quick, easy, and most importantly, filling. Its versatile and you’re able to customize it to your liking! Whether its mangoes, strawberries and blueberries one day to bananas, peaches, and pineapples the next, just add ice and you’ve got a fresh vegan meal.
13. Clearer skin
After finishing week one of eating clean, I noticed a huge difference in the appearance of my skin. The bumps and pimples cleared up and my completion began to even out. Most of it also has to do with my water consumption.
14. Go full force and exercise!
Since you're practicing self-discipline, why not add an exercise or two to your daily routine. Not only will you be eating healthy, but you will also feel great by getting in shape. Keep up with it and those as you've always dreamed up may not be far from extinction.
15. The first few days will be the absolute WORST!
Your mood will probably be shot down multiple times throughout the very first day of being vegan. Still stuck in old habits of eating meat, you will frequently want to pig out on your usual meals only to be stopped by the remembrance of your new quest to be vegan. One way to prevent this is by planning ahead and coming up with recipes for the first day. This will give you something to look forward to.
16. You may start hating meat
Early on in week two I noticed my craving for meat to be little to none. I began to enjoy vegan recipes I learned about by talking with experiences vegan eaters. I looked forward to making the next meal curious and excited to enjoy another new taste.
17. People will criticize how vegan you really are
Some people will say that you are "not vegan enough". What exactly does that mean? Well, some refined sugars are not vegan but that’s if we decide to look at a vegan diet on the Nano-scale. No matter what people say, don't let it discourage you. You are not a "fake" vegan eater if you put in the effort and have changed the majority of your diet, you technically eat vegan.
19. Do it with a friend to hold yourself accountable
Having my best friend by my side to tell me NO when I almost give in is great. Having each other to hold accountable helps me continue this journey until it becomes a habit.
20. Buy groceries by the week and keep a budget.
One of the most important parts of a vegan diet is going to the grocery store. Buying the right things in the right amounts is important. Buying groceries weekly help with keeping a budget and eliminating food waste. Fruits and vegetables tend to go bad quickly so buying only what’s needed for the week helps reduce costs and wastes.
21. Make flaxseeds your best friend
I’ve always heard about flaxseeds but never knew what id use it for. After trying it out it has become my newfound best friend. They’re absolutely great! If I want a snack I can eat them alone, or add it to almost any dish I make. The best part is they're super healthy!