Advice For Going Vegan
I have been asked by many about how to go about starting a plant based diet. I hope the following words can provide some insight and guidance to help anyone who is interested in going vegan, or simply wanting to learn more about what it entails.
1. Plan ahead. Before going out to eat, look up menus online. If the restaurant of choice doesn't have any obvious vegan options then call ahead of time, and let them know your dietary restrictions. I guarantee they will have no problem making a dish suitable for you! It takes just a few minutes, I have never had an issue, and they are always able to create something delicious.
2. If you choose the restaurant, I suggest going with sushi or pizza! They are great to go to with non vegan friends to satisfy everyones desires. Every sushi restaurant I have ever gone to have had a selection of veggie rolls; avocado, cucumber, and mango being the best combination! Also, just about all pizza doughs are vegan, so ask for lots of tomato sauce and your favorite veggies on top. Pro tip: if they have avocado mash it on top as a cheese replacement, and thank me later.
3. Get educated. I decided to try going vegan on a whim. I know I would not have succeeded if I didn't inform myself on the cruel realities of the meat, dairy and egg industries. I suggest watching Cowspiracy on Netflix.
4. Prepare. When you are going to a party or event where you know the food served will not be vegan, bring something along with you. Make enough to share, people are always curious. No bake deserts, and hummus & crudités are my go to.
5. Eat more. Plant foods are generally less calorie dense so you want to be eating larger quantities in order to be satisfied. So go ahead, order that large pizza girl. ;)
6. Find what works for you. Vegan diets are as versatile as non vegan ones. Eat foods that make you feel your best, and find what works for you. Personally I don't focus too much on specific macros aka fats, proteins, and carbs but rather on including wide variations of whole plant foods in my diet.
7. Research. Read up and/or talk with a health professional about supplements you should take. We all have different needs. Personally, the only supplement I take now is a B12, I prefer to get the nutrients I need directly from food, which is easy to do on a vegan diet, despite the common misconception.
8.Don't be too hard on yourself. Being vegan in a very non vegan world can be challenging. I have accidentally consumed animal products, it happens, and the best thing to do is learn from the experience and move on. There are animal products in more things than most of us realize, educate yourself on these "hidden" animal products. Start reading ingredient labels, know what you're putting in your body, it's something we should all do regardless of our diet. Click here for PETA's list of animal derived ingredients.
9. Get inspired. Follow vegan accounts on Instagram for inspiration. My favorites are lonijane and linasaber.
10. Start substituting. There are so many amazing vegan products out there. A few of my favorites are Califia Farms almond milk, Kite Hills chive cream cheeses, and So Delicious yogurts and ice creams, the dark chocolate truffle cashew ice cream will convince even the most devout ice cream lovers! Start by trying just one product, I guarantee even the biggest skeptics will be pleasantly surprised.
Good luck and much love.
Photograph by: Katlin Aas