Becoming vegan successfully is something that increasingly more people attempt to do each year.
Veganism has grown into a popular lifestyle choice for many reasons.
- The revelations about the cruelties in the animal farming industry.
- The environmental impact of raising animals for food.
- The vegan diet’s health benefits.
Most individuals think that veganism is similar to vegetarianism. However, these are two completely separate ideas that only share a few resemblances.
- Vegans opt to live a life consciously aligned with nature while opposing animal exploitation.
- It is not just a diet – veganism is a life-changing process.
- Vegan life can help you realise that living in alignment with your values IS possible.
1. Have a clear understanding of why you want to become vegan
From the day we are born, our instincts are to respect all beings and have compassion for everything and everyone. Nonetheless, by the time we reach adulthood, these qualities get stripped off gradually from us. We end up completely disconnected from our natural world and what makes us part of it.
As adults, we evolve into avid users of natural resources to sustain our lifestyles.
- We become numb to the suffering of animals and use them without second thoughts – relentlessly not only for food but also to entertain us in zoos, circuses, films, sea life establishments, sports, hobbies like hunting and as pets.
- We have accepted that it is okay to use animals in fashion and exploit them for their medicinal properties and laboratory experiments.
- To develop new medicines, vaccines, and medical devices for people and animals, we unquestionably use around 5 million(!) animals, including mice, rats, fish, chickens, rabbits, dogs, and primates per year across the EU.(source RSPCA).
We are conditioned to believe that humans are the highest form of life on earth, and therefore, they have the right to use the planet’s resources as they like it.
However, in reality, there is no natural ranking of life into “higher” and “lower” forms. Humans are part of the natural chain of life and depend on the welfare of all the other creatures and the environment.
2. Tips to Successfully becoming vegan
Seeking out as much help as possible from the moment you decide to try going vegan is the best way to start.
- Ask advice from a qualified nutritionist who specialises in transitioning to a vegan diet.
- You can find my easy ‘go-to’ meal recipes that call for simple ingredients you already have in your pantry here.
These are the main animal ingredients to stay away from:
- Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy and honey.
- Avoid processed foods that contain whey, lactose, casein (from milk) and gelatine (from animal bones).
- Lard and tallow is animal fat and is not suitable for vegans.
What to eat plenty of:
- Beans, pulses, fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and seeds.
- You can literally veganise all your favourite dishes using plant-based ingredients.
- Aim to cook with wholefood plant-based ingredients.
Read the food labels! You will slowly learn a lot more about where your food comes from and how to make healthier choices. This is a hugely empowering process.
The plate method
The aim is to fill 1/2 of the plate with vegetables and fruits, 1/4 with grains and carbs, and 1/4 with plant-based proteins. You need to also include whole food fats and fortified plant-based dairy products.
The 3 main groups of food to include on your plate and can provide you with a balanced meal are:
|Food Types||Examples||Part of the plate|
|Vegetables & fruit||Try to incorporate various vegetables like broccoli, spinach, peppers, carrots, onions, garlic, tomatoes. Fruits like berries, lemons, apples etc. Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are fine too.||1/2|
|Plant-based proteins||Beans, chickpeas, lentils (cooked from scratch or canned), peas, edamame, peanuts, seitan. Soy products such as soy milk or yogurt, tofu and tempeh. Vegan meat replacement products in moderation.||1/4|
|Grains & carbohydrates||Pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, oats, couscous etc.||1/4|
Don’t forget the healthy whole-food fats (incorporated in the meal or as a side).
Examples: raw olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, nut butters such as almond or peanut butter, seed butter such as tahini, olives, coconut flesh, and coconut milk.
Finally, include plant-based dairy substitutes in the meal, on the side or as a snack (non-dairy milk, yogurts etc).
As you can see above, to successfully become a vegan does not have to be difficult, expensive, or super time-consuming. You can start by doing your own research or talking to a dietitian / a plant-based nutritionist for advice based on your individual needs.
In the 2nd part, we will discuss our best tips to transition into a cruelty-free lifestyle successfully.
Images credits: Natalie Steward and ED.
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