If for ethical or health reasons, you want to embrace a vegan lifestyle, transitioning to a vegan diet is probably going to be a daunting prospect. It can be particularly difficult if your palate as well as your system is used to a diet that includes meat, fish, dairy and honey. But relax, by no means are you alone in this. With some minor lifestyle changes and staying put to them, you can adapt yourself to a vegan diet. Here are some useful tips to help you with the transition:
1. Take it slow
Going off all animal products suddenly, after a lifetime of eating them can be difficult to adjust to in terms of your taste buds as well as your digestive systems. So cut out thing slowly: start by cutting out the red meat, then the white meat and then the dairy; or tweak that order to suit yourself and what you think will work for you.
2. Change your grocery shopping habits
Change where you shop, how you shop and change what you put on your shopping list. Look for vegan products at the shops you usually shop at, visit the Farmer’s Market to get fresh plant based produce and explore health stores.
3. Concentrate on adding not subtracting
Don’t think about what you will be cutting out of your diet. Instead think of what you’re going to be adding: exotic fruits and vegetables you haven’t tried before, whole grains that may be new to your palate and so on.
4. Find out about alternatives
There are so many vegan substitutes for traditional animal based foods such as meat and dairy. Soy chunks and other meat substitutes, soy, coconut and almond milk instead of regular milk, non dairy cheese, milk free ice cream and more! Find out about these from books, the net, friends and other likeminded people. Also find out about vegan restaurants so that you can vary things by eating out occasionally.
5. Transform old favorites
If pizza is a favorite, find out about its vegan version. If steak is a favorite, learn to create a vegan steak. In your broths, stews and casseroles, substitute the animal products with vegan ingredients.
6. Learn new recipes
This can be interesting and educational – buy a few vegan recipe books or just search the internet, for easy, tasty and ethical recipes.
7. Join a group or forum
These are great places to share tips and get information and advice. It can also be comforting to know that there are others that are finding the transition difficult.
8. Stick to it
You may slip up from time to time – it can be difficult to stick to a program that is radically different than what you’ve been used to. But stick to it, be patient with yourself and don’t throw in the towel. People who have successfully transitioned to veganism, will tell you that it may not have been easy, but it was all worth it in the end!