how to go vegan
Food Drink

9 Ways To Adopt A Vegan Diet And Actually Stick With It This Time

What helped me transition into veganism so seamlessly was the fact that I cut out certain foods when I felt ready.

187

Whether it be for ethical, health, or environmental reasons more and more people each day are converting to a vegan lifestyle. But, going in blind and expecting to become an expert overnight on how to maintain a proper vegan diet is completely unrealistic, which is why a lot of people end up falling off the wagon completely.

I know after watching slaughterhouse videos or reading about all of the carcinogens and antibiotics found in meat and dairy or watching documentaries about the environmental damage caused by animal agriculture that it's tempting to go vegan on the spot. For the record, veganism is a plant-based diet that eliminates the consumption of all animal products including meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, honey, and gelatin (essentially crushed up animal bones/ cartilage commonly found in marshmallows and gummy candies). So, yeah, going vegan cold-turkey (no pun intended) is not going to be easy. If you think you're up for the challenge, great, but I believe gradually eliminating certain foods from your diet and reading up about your new nutritional needs are much more effective strategies in order to stay vegan long term.

Going vegan was one of the best choices I've ever made, so hopefully, these next few tips and tricks are able to help out anyone looking to try a new diet that is both healthy AND delicious!

1. Gradually eliminate certain non-vegan foods

It's hard to give up some of your all-time favorite foods, trust me, I know. What helped me transition into veganism so seamlessly was the fact that I cut out certain foods when I felt ready. I went pescatarian (no meat except fish) before I went vegetarian and it took me two and a half years of vegetarianism before I felt ready to become fully vegan. Take your time and do things at your own pace. If you rush this process, it's tempting to just revert back to an omnivorous diet because you made too big of an adjustment too quickly.

2. Find vegan replacements

While I was vegetarian I ended up doing a lot of research and trying out a lot of vegan replacements for non-vegan foods, so that when I went fully vegan I already knew what to reach for. Turns out you don't have to give up your burgers, chicken nuggets, or scrambled eggs anytime soon. It's a process of trial and error and not every product you try from your supermarket's vegan section is going to be amazing, but there are some amazing brands and products out there that taste even better than their non-vegan counterparts. My personal favorites include the entire Gardein line, Quorn's vegan line (their spicy "chicken" patties are my all time favorite), Amy's vegan soups and burritos, Annie's fruit snacks, Kite Hill's yogurts, and any brand of non-dairy ice cream (really, I've never met a vegan ice cream I didn't absolutely love).

3. Go to local vegan restaurants

Besides having an entire delicious menu of foods you are able to choose from as a vegan, vegan restaurants (or restaurants with extensive vegan menus) also are great ways to get inspiration for vegan recipes you can make at home. Most vegan restaurants don't serve meals that are overly complicated to make and they are always coming up with creative new ways to prepare plant-based meals.

4. Read menus ahead of time

If you are planning to go out with your non-vegan friends for a bite to eat, check out the menu of the restaurant you are going to or call ahead of time to make sure there's something on the menu that you are able to eat. The vast majority of restaurants these days have at least a couple of vegan options, and if not, they are almost certainly willing to accommodate your needs to the best of their abilities, just be sure to check first. As a college student, this also includes checking out your dining halls for vegan options and getting in touch with a school nutritionist if you're not seeing any vegan options. If you're really in a bind, one of my favorite apps of all time is called Happy Cow and it essentially alerts you of restaurants that have vegan options within a 25-mile radius of your location so that everyone in your friend group is able to get food that satisfies them no matter where you are.

5. Don't get upset if you mess up

Every single vegan has accidentally eaten something containing animal products at some point or other. If you realize that you ate something non-vegan by mistake, don't beat yourself up over it. It happens to everyone and it doesn't make you somehow any less of a vegan.

6. Learn how to cook

Honestly, this is a tip that any young person should pick up. Sure, convenience meals and frozen dinners are necessary every once in a while (and, yes, plenty of great ready-made vegan meals do exist), but they're downright unhealthy and are high in fat and sodium. Frozen dinners are also ridiculously expensive. Look up recipes online or buy a vegan cookbook. You would be amazed at all the ways fruits, vegetables, grains, starches, legumes, and fungi can be combined to make meals and snacks that both taste good and are good for you.

7. Make sure you're eating enough

This is probably the number one biggest problem new vegans struggle with. Literally, in every single YouTube video where people try to go vegan, they complain about "being hungry" or "feeling lethargic," and that's simply because they aren't eating enough. Meat and dairy are far more calorically dense than fruits and veggies, so you need to eat more to make sure you're taking in enough calories. Incorporate more grains, starches, and beans into your diet so that you feel full after eating and stay satisfied until your next meal. Obviously, if you have any concerns, speak to a certified nutritionist about your diet to make sure you are eating enough and are getting enough nutrients out of the food you are eating.

8. Get enough vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins for you to have in your body as it helps you absorb other vitamins and minerals, especially iron. B12 also prevents certain types of anemia which can leave your body feeling weak and tired. B12 is typically found in animal products as bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract of animals produce it. Because of modern farming practices, B12 is hard to come by produce, and thus is difficult to obtain through a vegan diet. Good sources of B12 for vegans include nutritional yeast (a great substitute for Parmesan cheese because of its cheesy flavor), some plant milks, some soy products, and some breakfast cereals. If you're still worried about your B12 intake, talk to your doctor about possibly taking B12 supplements or multivitamins containing B12.

9. Start reading food labels

Seriously, this is something everyone should do anyway because it's good to know what exactly you're fueling your body with. Reading nutrition facts ensures you know if you're getting enough calories and vitamins and reading ingredient lists ensures you know whether or not a product is vegan or not. Milk and eggs have to be listed in bold at the bottom of ingredient lists as they are common allergens, but if you suspect a product may contain traces of meat or gelatin, you may have to read through the ingredients a little closer. On the flip side, you would also be surprised at the number of snacks that are actually accidentally vegan as well, so don't rule out your favorite treats before reading the label!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

For a long time, Goya has been a staple in some Latino households. People carry around jars of Adobo when they eat at friend's houses and packets of Sazón Goya can be found in almost everyone's pantry. Many BuzzFeed lists, videos, and memes aimed at Latinos reference Goya somewhere.

But in a year that just keeps hitting us with bad news, Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue said that Trump was an "incredible builder" and that the US was "blessed" to have him as president at a White House event on Thursday.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Raven Baxter Was Our Favorite Teen Fashion Icon And We're Still Recreating Her Best Looks, Here

We take a look at Disney's most fashion-forward show to recreate some iconic looks.

Disney Plus

I grew up in the early 2000s. And, like any child at the time, I was hooked on Disney Channel shows. My favorite was and is "That's So Raven."

Raven is a teenage psychic navigating life in hopes of not revealing her powers. Only her family and close friends know she has them. Her powers oftentimes get her in trouble, which is where the comedy comes in. But, they also teach her and her friends sentimental life lessons.

Keep Reading... Show less

Sobriety is so underrated, even when it comes to healthcare. The instant gratification of a substance or drink isn't exactly as gratifying as some people may think. For those of you who've never been hungover, consider yourself lucky — a hangover is biologically horrifying. A hangover is not instant gratification, so who are we kidding when people say "it just feels good." Being healthy actually feels good and won't hurt you or your bank account in the morning. The best way to be healthy is to choose sobriety.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ah, yes. The juice cleanse. Yet another popular diet trend that promises to magically solve all of your health, nutrition, and weight issues.

When you take a close look, juice cleanses aren't as magical as they are made out to be, and in fact, they might do more harm than good.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Unauthorized Plastic Surgery Is Totally Unethical, And Happening WAY More Often Than We Know ‬

Plastic surgery for cosmetic enhancements has you looking more botched than beautiful and it’s painful to see.

Coming from someone who could afford numerous cosmetic enhancing procedures I would never in a million years cut up my face or my body. I'm pretty emphatic and when I watch these brainwashed victims with bandages and chronic inflammation (swollen lips) I literally feel their pain.

Keep Reading... Show less

I've never been big on casual wear or athleisure. Most people who know me have never seen me in sweats. But, I do have those two or three pairs of sweats I can't resist climbing into the second I get home, the newest addition of which is the extra cozy Odyssey crewneck sweatshirt I got in an XL size to feel as close to being wrapped in a blanket at all times as possible.

In the past several months, I've started to expand my horizons, considering the ways in which I can bring my small wardrobe of comfortable bedroom clothing into the public. I've experimented with topping leggings and a sports bra with a denim jacket to the park, and an oversized sweatshirt worn as a dress, cinched at the waist with a belt when I'm out wearing leggings.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

How To Dress Like Your Favorite 'Insecure' Characters — Without Spending $2,000

We take a look at the fashion of Insecure season 4, and how you can create these looks yourself.

HBO

Insecure is one of my favorite shows ever. It really encapsulates what it's like being a Black 20-something, trying to navigate the many ups and downs of life. Issa, Molly, Kelli, and Tiffany are living their best lives in California while dealing with the twists and turns that come with that.

From life to relationships to careers, this show truly captures everything that runs through my mind on a daily basis. The show has a sense of realness and a strong frankness that makes you gravitate toward the characters and root for their success.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Making A Food Instagram Was The Greatest Silver Lining To Come Out Of My COVID-19 Experience

With the crazy and scary times that 2020 has brought, find comfort in the one thing everyone loves: food.

The waiter briskly moves towards us and stops just a foot away table, balancing the black serving tray stacked high with the ceramic plates that make-up our dinner. From memorization, he beings gently, but purposely, sliding everyone's orders in front of them and within seconds I'm am starring my meal.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments