Are you curious about getting into a vegan lifestyle? Maybe you just started out but need some help? Then check out this post for some tips and advice. Video is also included.
In general I think I avoided a lot of mistakes people might make when starting out with a vegan lifestyle. Because of that I want to share my tips for a helpful start of your vegan lifestyle. Even if you are a non-vegan, perhaps considering the lifestyle, this post could be very insightful.
You can’t ride a bike before you practice how to ride a bike, you can’t drive a car before you practice how to drive a car. Why would it be different with a vegan lifestyle? Before diving in to a vegan lifestyle I advice you to educate yourself. In order to make it as easy and natural as possible, research as much as you can about veganism. Learn about what a vegan lifestyle could means for you health wise, learn about the ethical reasons behind a vegan lifestyle and learn about why it is important for the environment.
I found some youtube videos with people talking about their experience on a vegan lifestyle. People like BananaTV, VegSource, Powsimian, Freelee the banana girl and more. I mostly enjoyed fact based educational content like this channel NutritionFactsOrg, but anecdotal videos about veganism were very informative too.
Some of the documentaries that influenced me were Supersize Me, Earthlings, Vegucated, Forks Over Knives and Cowspiracy. I would recommend you to watch Earthling for the animals, Forks Over Knives for health and Cowspiracy for the environment.
Don’t follow a vegan lifestyle because others are doing it. Look up any topic you’re interested in and find your answers. Only in this way you can create your own reasons on why to go and stay vegan.
Eat whole plant based foods
A vegan diet doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Vegans too eat junkfood like cookies, ice cream, chocolate, fake cheeses and meat, chips, cakes, fried foods, oily foods and a lot more. Oh yes, every type of junkfood has its vegan substitute.
If you want to feel good and have a lot of energy on a vegan lifestyle I recommend you to eat whole plant based foods. Foods that are in their natural state, unprocessed. Think about rice, potatoes, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits. These foods don’t come with ingredient labels and provide you with the nutrients you need.
I’m not saying to never eat something processed foods again.But just try to make the whole plant based foods a bigger percentage of your daily calorie intake. Try to stay away from processed foods as much as you can. This will help you to feel vibrant, healthy and happy.
Some people might experience feeling weak after eating plant based for a while. They blame the diet for feeling weak, say that they need animal products to feel energetic again and go back to their standard diet filled with animal products. I’m here to tell you that the problem doesn’t come from omitting the animal products, but rather that the problem comes from not eating enough food.
When comparing plant foods to animal based foods, plant foods are less calorie dense. Animal based foods on the other hand are more calorie dense. For example 200 grams of chicken accounts for 220 calories and 200 grams of spinach is just 46 calories. You will need to eat at least 900 grams of spinach to get the equivalent amount of calories you get from 200 grams of chicken. I’m not saying you need to eat 900 grams of spinach, now stay with me here.
People eating a diet with animal products tend downsize their meals, portion controlling. When switching to a plant based diet those habits remain and they end up eating a way less calories. So the key is to eat more. Eat until you are satisfied and don’t restrict your food intake. Eat in abundance to get the energy you need. There is no need for restriction on a whole foods plant based vegan diet.
Bring your own food
Before leaving the house it’s good to prepare yourself with some snacks. In this way you will have a vegan option wherever you are going. I find it easy to bring dates, bananas or mandarins with me. Clifbars and other types of calorie rich bars are also an option. Maybe you can bring yesterdays leftovers neatly packed in a tray. It saves you money and you are certain you can eat when you are hungry.
When you are invited for dinner or a party it is nice to ask if there will be vegan options available. If not, it’s clever to prepare a vegan cake or a some dish to share with everybody. In that way you are sure you can eat while being there.
The same goes for eating at restaurants. If options are limited bring some fruit or leftovers if you really need to go. But in my opinion if there is barely anything for you to eat on the menu and it doesn’t seem very vegan-friendly kindly suggest another restaurant. Or don’t go!
Bloating is very normal
I experienced an extreme amount of bloating when I got into a vegan diet. Every night I looked like I was pregnant. And the farts… Omg, the farts. It wouldn’t stop. Always at the end of the day after my dinner, my tummy would swell and machine guns sounds came out of my pants. I didn’t get too freaked out, because I kind of knew it would be temporary.
I found out that my body was adapting to the different types of foods I was eating. My diet included a lot more raw fruits and vegetables, water and fiber. My body had never before experienced that amount of wholesome nutritious food. I researched about it and came to the conclusion that with some patients the bloating would reduce itself. I started drinking even more water than before. Up to 3 liters a day.
Another thing that helped me with my bloating was proper food combining. For proper digestion certain types of foods are rather not to be combined with other types of food in a meal. In this video you can learn more about food combining. In this way you can give your digestive system a little break. For some people it works, but for some it has no real influence.
Dealing with friends and family
Your views on life differ from those around you. You start feeling bad for the choices your friends and family make because you see the devastating effects it has on their health and the planet. Friends and family are dear to us so we want to do our best to show them how they can improve their lives. Unfortunately sometimes friends and family are the hardest to make understand. They will defend themselves against your arguments with what they think is “best”.
Of course friends and family have the best interest for you. They don’t want you to get ill, because you are lacking nutrients for example. From my experience the best thing is to not argue, but just show them what a whole foods plant based diet does and why it is important to become vegan. Slowly teach them about the health effects a vegan diet can have, how it can improve the environment and save a lot of animal lives. Show them the data behind your arguments.
For example my parents thought that I was super extreme by going vegan, but now they are understanding and accepting. They aren’t vegan themselves, but they are incorporating more vegan alternatives into their lives. They agree with the fact that meat, dairy and eggs are not a health foods. Just by being an example and by showing them data. I don’t force the lifestyle upon them, but they slowly but surely make changes.
At the end of the day you want to grow and improve. You want the same for your friends and family. But at some point, if they don’t want to listen or see the value in a vegan lifestyle it is best to leave them behind. This sounds dramatic, but I mean it in a sense of that you shouldn’t spend specious time and energy in trying to make them understand if they don’t want to listen. They might not be ready for it yet. You can’t force people to change their minds, they need to do it themselves.
Surround yourself with like minded people and share your stories with people who want to listen. The internet is a wonderful place to meet vegans from all around the world. Also non-vegans who would love to listen to what you have to say. Even from your own hometown! Put yourself out there(social media) and connect with them. You will notice that you will attract the right kind of people.
Basically just show your loved ones the data, show them how you manage your vegan lifestyle and the amazing benefits. Don’t force, argue and shout. Leave behind the people that don’t serve you and don’t want to listen. Surround yourself with the ones who care and share similar views.
So much knowledge you want to share
If I could give you one tip before calling yourself a vegan it would be to educate yourself, just like I said in the first paragraph Educate Yourself. Learn as much as possible about the lifestyle. Try, fail and try again until you find the most comfortable way to be vegan. I took about a solid three months to fully understand why veganism is the best way to cause the least suffering to myself, the planet and all the living beings around me.
I started finding out about the horrors behind the meat, dairy and egg industry, the bad effects animal products have on people’s health and the destruction producing animal products cause to the environment. I felt like I wanted to share this information with everybody. To me this information was so valuable and life saving that I just couldn’t keep it to myself. I started making youtube videos about the vegan message, made blog posts, shared information on my twitter and facebook pages. All with good intentions.
You know, when you are truly passionate about something you can talk about it all the time. It just comes from within, naturally, without forcing. The thing is that some people might not like it. They don’t want to hear about it, they feel uncomfortable, they don’t want to listen. Some make comments to you in ridiculous passive aggressive ways. Their minds are not open enough to deal with the facts behind Veganism. This just represents a mirror of themselves.
For example if by sharing a link about plant based milks and their health benefits makes somebody leave crazy or angry replies in the comments; it says more about them than you. It is good to educate them in a calm way and not attack fire with fire, but if you notice there is no way of even having them think about the possibility that we can live without milk it is best to ignore them. Spend your time on people who are willing to listen and discuss. But don’t let this make you stop sharing the information you want to share! From all the people who come across a link you shared, there might be one that actually benefits from it.
Emily June – There’s no point! Elaborates on this topic as well.
Learn how to find an approach that suits you, because at the end of the day you can’t please everybody. Luckily each vegan has their own way of spreading the message. By having different ways of spreading the vegan message it will attract different kinds of people. Don’t waste your time on people who don’t want to listen. Be your authentic self and there will be people who will listen to what you have to say. You might changes their lives for the better.
Beginner Tips Video
I will be making a blog post and a video about the nutrients people seem to worry about when going vegan. Topics like protein, calcium and B12 will be discussed.
But yeah, this was it. I hope you liked this blog post and hopefully it was helpful. If you have any other tips share them with us in the comments section!