I have been vegan for over five years now and I can honestly say that I don’t miss the foods that I was eating before. I ate a ton of meat, simple carbs, cream, and just plain crappy foods, along with not working out much. My husband still remembers the day that I got into the car with two blended Starbucks Frappuccino’s full of whip cream and sugar…. both for me. I wish that he would just block that out of his memory, but I can use it as motivation to continue my healthy eating habits to this day. Thanks babe!
Moving on…it was about 3 months before our wedding that I knew something needed to change about my health. I didn’t want to be unhealthy for my new husband and I knew that I eventually wanted to be a healthy example of a mom to our future children. Through some divine intervention (and my sister in law), I learned about a plant-based diet and what it meant to become vegan. I thought it would be a two-week trial, but it has completely turned my life around. I dropped around 40 pounds before my wedding and I was thrilled. My body felt better, my skin looked healthier and I haven’t looked back.
If you are thinking about becoming vegan, here are just a few tips that I have learned from my experience. (These tips can also apply to vegetarianism and becoming gluten-free)
- Don’t quit cold turkey. Yes, that pun was intended. But, honestly don’t just quit everything you are eating and make the switch. Your body is used to the foods you eat and you could put it through a shock. I tried to do this, and I ended up having to go back to eating eggs for a while because my main sources of protein were gone. So, take it slow and cut one group of food out at a time. For me, I first focused on meats because I didn’t eat them as often to begin with, then I moved on to the dairy side.
- Be sure you are replacing your proteins. This is the most important. Of course, you need veggies and fruits and grains but protein fuels us and keep our muscles strong. Quinoa, beans, lentil, and tofu are great protein replacements. Also, be prepared to be asked, “Are you getting enough protein?” or “But, what do you eat for protein?” or, “What do you eat, in general?” (Yes, I heard that multiple times.) Our society isn’t quite up to speed with the fact that you can get protein from sources other than animals.
- Vegan sweets can still cause weight gain. Just because it says vegan, doesn’t mean it’s super healthy and it’s perfectly good for you! There are plenty of vegan cookies and ice cream in the grocery stores and it’s easy to think that you can eat the whole cookie or carton because it says “vegan”. Trust me, they still have a TON of calories and sugar, which turns into fat in your body, so be careful.
- Vegans can still eat out on the town. Almost every restaurant can substitute foods for you, or has at least one dish that is vegan friendly. Back in 2010 when I first became vegan, it was more rare to find vegan friendly restaurants but our society is becoming more aware and trying to accommodate. So, don’t think that you can’t go out with friends because of your new lifestyle change!
With those few tips, enjoy your new journey and share any advice you may have experienced yourself or are experiencing now! Also, know that your experience may be completely different than mine, but have fun with it!
Thanks for reading!