Updated: Mar 2
Being vegan has numerous benefits such as health, ethics as well as the environment.
It is not unusual to feel overwhelmed by this whole "vegan" thing, so we engaged vegan nutritionist and fitness coach Steve Pilot to offer expert advice and tips for those seeking to go vegan sustainably because it may be hard for those accustomed to meat and dairy products.
The number of vegans is growing steadily, bringing with it a compelling case for ethics and our surroundings, emphasizing a diet that does not include animal products such as eggs, dairy, marine life, and meat.
To sum it up, industrially farmed animals may pose a risk to human health because of what they are fed.
Should I dive right in or gradually make the switch to Vegan?
There is no right answer as to whether to dive right into it or transition gradually because that decision is usually validated by how sustainable it is to you.
Experts suggest a tour of the world of veganism to get a taste of vegan foods and identify alternatives to specific meat and dairy foods.
The easy availability of vegan foods can make the process somewhat less burdensome.
Even though a sudden switch may work for some, a gradual transition is arguably better.
A sudden switch could lead a new vegan to feel aggravated, so a gradual change helps to build one's vegan knowledge base as well as allow for vegan growth in a sustainable manner.
Coping with Meat loving Friends, Family, or Associates
Be nice to them even if they behave like jerks and mock you for being vegan.
Try as best you can not to lose your cool when they make fun of you for being vegan.
You may even get taunted to eat meat and get meat offers.
Instead, counter their mockery and jerky jokes by graciously offering them a tasty vegan treat.
Offering them a delicious vegan treat is a beautiful gesture to prove to them that vegan foods are yummy as well.
Empathy will come a long way in dealing with negative or somewhat aggressive attitudes.
Sometimes their comments may be misplaced or ignorant.
It helps to have a vegan-inspired sense of humor and reference statements like I didn't think I would ever go vegan.
Should I be concerned about not getting enough protein?
The misconception that vegans suffer from protein deficiency is persistent but remains a mere misconception.
Plenty of vegan foods are very rich in protein.
Beans, lentils, peas, soy products, nuts like peanuts, and almonds, to mention a few.
Lack of protein in a vegan diet should not be cause for concern because, in a real sense, plant foods can provide all the amino acids (essential proteins) coveted as body-building blocks.
Will I Get Sufficient Vitamins and Minerals?
When transitioning to vegan, do not neglect the fact that your body will still need vitamins and minerals.
Plant foods rich in vitamin B12 are fortified dairy alternatives, breakfast cereal, yeast extract, and dairy-free spread.
You may also take vitamin B12 supplements that are available in pharmacies and from health-food vendors.
Steve indicates that calcium is available in fortified yogurts, calcium-laced tofu, linseed bread fortified with calcium, and fortified milk.
Make fruits a part of your diet to ensure you get enough vitamin C and fortified cereals for vitamin A.
Nearly all the vitamins and minerals needed by the body are existent in plant-based foods even then, remember to catch some sun rays for your dose of vitamin D.
Is a Vegan Diet Affordable?
In essence, vegan foods are cheap however if you like to go to high-priced supermarkets that pack foods in vegan-labeled packs, you will likely spend a bit more.
Fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods are in most cases cheaper than processed foods.
It is a myth that vegan foods are expensive.
Eating plant-based foods will have you saving money and feeling healthier.
Prepping your meals beforehand can help you stay disciplined and give you the best results.
Visiting Friends or Eating Out.
When visiting your non-vegan friends, make sure they respect your decision to be vegan and consider prepping a vegan meal for you.
If you would like to eat out with friends, choose places that cater to both vegan and non-vegan people so that you and your non-vegan friends can have your time as friends while still respecting each other's dietary preferences.
It helps to frankly let the host know your dietary preferences or offer to bring a vegan meal for non-vegans to also sample.
Not communicating in advance may result in irritable situations.
How do I deal with craving meat?
Having indulged in meat-eating for several years, decades, or even your life so far, you probably are accustomed to scents and flavors associated with beef, chicken, or fish.
Encountering meat-inclined flavors is likely to ignite a craving in some people.
Today it is possible to emulate meat, chicken, or fish flavors.
Such recipes are also available on YouTube, the internet, and or cookbooks.
When the craving is no longer unbearable, you may stop using meat flavors and aromas when cooking your meals.
Eating Plant-Based Foods can Be just as Interesting as eating Meat.
Consider foods you are familiar with and replicate vegan alternatives.
If you like burgers, you can make mushroom burgers that could easily be mistaken for chicken burgers.
Regardless of whether you are vegan or not, vegetables are an integral part of your diet.
Tweak your vegan diet and make it bespoke to your taste and style.
Planning will help you manage your weight on a vegan diet.
Managing your weight on a vegan diet does not mean confinement to a life of salad, carrots, and lettuce.
Regardless of your age, health, and wellness are attainable if you embrace a well-planned vegan diet.
Diets should comprise sufficient nutrients and calories to reach nutritional goals and healthily manage weight.
Being vegan does not mean you must starve or deprive yourself, but rather replenish your body's nutrients using plant-based foods.
Planning will help to manage weight by rationing carbs, proteins, and fat as per your weight goals.
What options do I have?
A lot of new vegans find themselves in a spot conducting a comparison between being vegan and still being an interesting and adventurous person.
Growing some of your fruit and vegetables is a great way to keep you at the forefront of your vegan diet.
A few cookbook recipes and ingredients from the local store will make your meals delicious.
You may even do without tailored vegan shops as you can pick vegan ingredients here and there, mostly in your local supermarket.
Knowledge is power, a proper understanding of one's vegan foods can make being a vegan feel like child's play.
Will becoming Vegan affect my Love life?
It does not matter if your partner or spouse is non-vegan.
What counts is that they appreciate and respect your decision.
It does not mean that you should leave your relationship because now you are vegan, and your partner is a celebrated meat eater.
Lots of relationships have thrived and flourished despite a strong difference in opinions and ideologies such as famous US Supreme court justices Scalia and Ginsburg.
Being non-vegan on its own does not diminish your spouse's love and attraction towards you.
Starting with common ground helps such as foods you both like (both happy with) and accepting the foods where you differ.
Does being Vegan endanger children?
As long as a plan is put in place to ensure a healthy balanced diet for the children, there will be no danger.
Vegan foods can provide all the nutrients for children's healthy growth and development.
Specialist advice may be required from pediatricians or nutritionists to seek advice for infants, supplements, and fortified foods.
What's Your Favorite Vegan Dish or Recipe?
Brainstorm on possible foods you like and would eat as a vegan.
If you have several, you then realize that you have been an occasional plant-based food eater (not a vegan, and there is no such thing as a part-time vegan).
Thinking about vegan dishes you love can be used as inspiration to start identifying possible vegan dishes that could be as delicious and gratifying as those and then included in your vegan dietary plan.
Also, think about quick-fix healthy vegan dishes that you can make to eat as a snack at different hours of the day.
Several cookbooks contain thousands of mouth-watering purely vegan recipes.
What should I do if I fail to stay purely vegan?
First things first, don't beat yourself up for cheating.
Appreciate that you are human and are bound to make mistakes sometimes.
Forgive yourself and try all over. You may end up eating meat as you transition to a vegan.
Remember that deliberately eating meat, poultry, or dairy products on several occasions contrary to your trying to go vegan is not a mistake.
It may be that you still crave meat.
Consider meat-emulating flavors when cooking your meals.
Seek inspiration in the reason why you decided to go vegan and find the motivation to stay vegan.
Does it help to have Vegan friends?
Having vegan friends will be an asset to you as a vegan.
You can share tips and experiences which will help you learn from each other.
On top of that, you can share different recipes and learn about the health benefits that a recipe provides.
Do not leave your non-vegan friends plainly because you are now vegan.
Friends are important and even those who taunt you may offer a lesson that could be valuable to you.