The benefits of a vegan diet are well known; it lowers your blood sugar levels, helps you lose excess weight, and reduces risk of heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes.
When people want to make the transition to the plant-based diet, they usually start by eliminating meat and going vegetarian. “Vegetarian” is the term used for people who do not eat meat but still consume eggs and dairy. “Vegan,” on the other hand, is the term used for people who do not consume any animal products at all, be it meat, fish, dairy or eggs.
For some people, though, it’s tough to give up ice cream, cake and cheese. Yes, it may be hard, but it’s possible. Here’s our guide to help you finally take that leap forward and transition from vegetarian to vegan and feel fresher every day:
Do some research in advance.
Doing well planned research on the vegan diet and how it benefits your health and the environment is a great way to motivate you to ditch eggs and dairy. The vegan diet can help you lose weight, prevents cancer, reduces risk of heart disease, makes you look younger, fights acne, reduces your carbon footprint, and helps fight climate change.
Just knowing how the plant-based diet helps with your overall health and our planet is strong enough to make some people ditch animal products altogether.
Once you’ve decided you want to make the transition, don’t delay it! Start the transition today and stay committed. Delaying it more and more means there’s a chance you may not even try the vegan diet!
Start with eliminating eggs.
Did you know that eggs are actually a chicken’s period? It’s absolutely gross! Getting rid of eggs is a great first step to take in your transition. This means no more eggs Benedict or crepes. Instead, search for vegan recipes that replicate your favourite dishes. There are also many egg replacers you can use, such as bananas or even “egg replacer” itself.
Go one week without having any eggs and see how it goes. If you’ve done well, give yourself a pat on the back and head over to the next step…
This sounds really hard, but we’re not telling you to ditch cheese altogether. There are so many vegan cheese brands and cashew-based cheese recipes that taste just like your normal, dairy-inclusive cheese. Try brands like Daiya, who have dairy-free cheese shreds, slices, and even cream cheese. This cashew-based vegan cheese recipe is super easy to make at home and will make you fall in love!
It’s important to eliminate cheese before dairy entirely because it’s a great way to tell you that you actually have the will to eliminate animal products. Once you’ve managed to go cheese-free for about a month, you know that you can thrive on plant-based products and can go ahead and cross out your other dairy favourites.
Try vegan versions of your favourite dairy products.
Have an obsession with cake, muffins and cookies? What about pudding? There are so many vegan products in the market and so many recipes that there’s no way anyone can say it’s impossible to go vegan. There’s even vegan butter and mayonnaise!
Make the transition with someone close.
If you’re someone who likes doing things with a buddy, then find a vegetarian friend or family member and ask if they’d like to make the transition together with you. You can both motivate each other to not cheat or take any breaks from the transition. But above all, you can both motivate each other to keep on going!
Everyone loves a reward or treat every once in a while. Every single time you master a step, such as go egg-free for a full week or dairy-free for an entire month, reward yourself with something you love to do or something you’d love to have.
You can go to the movies with a friend or treat yourself to an expensive vegan dinner. You can also make the reward bigger and bigger as you accomplish harder things. What would you treat yourself to if you haven’t touched an animal product in a year? Make it a goal and plan the reward; once you accomplish it, you can go ahead and claim your prize!
Buy a load of vegan recipe books.
It’s easy to look for vegan recipes online, but nothing is better than having a huge recipe book in front of you with hundreds of delicious and unusual dishes to try. During your transitioning period, head on over to the bookstore and take a look at the vegan recipe books. You may find some delicious eats that you’ll want to try making yourself. Once you’ve made a few recipes, you’ll get the hang of vegan cooking – and may even love it!
Some great vegan cookbooks include: The Oh She Glows! Cookbook, by Angela Liddon; Bold Flavored Vegan Cooking, by Celine Steen; ¡Salud! Vegan Mexican Cookbook, by Eddie Garza; Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, by famous vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli; and Vegan Cooking for Carnivores, by Roberto Martin.
If you’d prefer to find recipes online, then you can browse some great ones here.
Earthlings is powerful enough to transform any meat eater into a vegan almost immediately. It shows you the ugly side of some industries, such as the leather industry, and how animals are cruelly tortured.
Participate in Veganuary.
What’s “Veganuary”? Well, it means going vegan for the entire month of January. You can make a New Year’s resolution to go vegan, and start fresh in January. After a full month of ditching animal products, you’ll actually get the hang of the whole vegan diet.
Finally, just try out new things.
The best way to love your new vegan diet is to try out new vegan products, recipes, cosmetics, clothing, et cetera. You may not like almond milk, so try coconut, soy or cashew. Try out different brands and see what works for you. Doing the research in advance will also help you realize how possible it is to not only follow the vegan diet, but make it your lifestyle as well.
The best way to embrace the vegan diet and lifestyle is to immerse in it as much as possible. Master the art of vegan cooking, watch all of the popular documentaries, join a vegan group on Facebook, or even start blogging about your lifestyle.
Find what you love about veganism, keep up your motivation, and you’ll be a vegan expert in no time!