More than a diet, veganism is a lifestyle. A mode of being dedicated to reducing the amount of cruelty in the planet through responsible decisions and consuming habits. That said, the diet is still one of the main things people think about when they mentioned vegans, and the drastic change in eating habits can be one of the biggest barriers for an aspiring vegan.
This article will focus on just that — on what you can do to facilitate your transition into a vegan diet. Let’s start with the basics.
1. Outline your motivations
There are many reasons why someone might want to start eating vegan. You may want to, as mentioned above, start living a cruelty-free life, and that is applaudable. Or you may simply want to gain the health benefits that come from eating vegan, and that’s ok too.
Although, for the latter group, you may want to make sure veganism is the right option for you. After all, becoming a vegetarian or following a Mediterranean diet can both also give you plenty of health benefits while limiting what you can eat much less.
If veganism is your choice, then outline why. Open a Word document, or get a piece of paper, and list out all the reasons why you want to accomplish this, as well as all the good things that will happen if you do, and all the bad things that will happen if you fail. Then save this document, and open it when you need another boost in motivation.
It may feel silly while you do it, but later you’ll find that just having written that list will make your resolve much stronger, even if you don’t have to read the list to remember its contents.
2. Start slowly
You may want to be heroic and get started right away. And indeed, that’s what Penn Jillette did when he wanted to start a new diet. He began by following a radical elimination diet; for fourteen days, he ate nothing but potatoes. By the end of it, his taste buds were so used to bland potatoes, that when he ate a carrot, it tasted like a candy bar.
Anyway, if you want to try something like that, or start eating vegan right away, that’s ok. But that kind of sudden transition is rough and often leads to failure and discouragement. It’s much more reasonable for you to start slowly, and to start by adding foods, rather than removing them.
So, before you stop eating anything, start having vegan meals at least once a week. Go to a vegan restaurant, or get to cooking, and find vegan meals and recipes that you enjoy. The journey of a thousand steps starts with the first one, and if you start by adding new foods, you’ll have a much easier time removing non-vegan items off your diet later.
3. Resist the cravings
Once you do remove food items from your diet, remember to resist the urge to cheat as much as possible. You see, the same gut bacteria that help you digest certain foods also produce food cravings for that specific type of food. In other words, the longer you resist a craving, the longer the bacteria that are producing said craving have time to starve off and die, which will help you greatly reduce those cravings in the long run.
Food cravings can be very intense, so make sure to prepare yourself ahead of time. Learn about meditation, urge surfing, and stock up on natural remedies like teas and CBD, which can help reduce cravings. For the latter, make sure you only buy CBD from a certified laboratory.