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Becoming Vegan: A Few Things To Prepare You
Before you make the change, you need to ask yourself why you want to become vegan. There are several reasons people choose this diet with the two most common reasons being health and for the love of animals. My reason is a combo of the two. As a child, I didn't want to eat animals, as I got older I realized the health benefits it can offer. You have to decide your own reason. I have a friend who wanted to try it for a month "just because she wanted to see if she could." Guess what? After her month was up, she decided she liked it and is already on month four.
2. Vegan isn't automatically healthy
The vegan diet is almost always associated with a healthy diet but truth is, it's only healthy if you eat healthy. You could eat processed white spaghetti with sugar-filled tomato sauce every day for dinner and be a vegan but that's doesn't make it healthy. If you want to make it healthy, you have to do more than just cutting out the animal products. You have to make sure you're getting the correct amount of healthy nutrients by eating vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Not processed junk. The diet is only as healthy as you make it.
3. Being a vegan isn't for everyone
Although life is good being vegan, it's healthy, and it's without cruelty to animals, it's not for everyone. Be prepared for negativity and people telling you how dumb the vegan diet is. And vegans often get a bad rep for constantly trying to force our beliefs onto others. Try not to be one of those vegans. If it works for you, promote the positives, but don't be cruel to others who don't have the same mentality. It's just not nice.
4. Figure out what you're going to miss
Becoming a vegan means you're going to be giving up a lot of foods but that shouldn't scare you. There are so many great substitutes and alternatives to the carnivore diet. Although I can't promise you you'll find a substitute for steak or shrimp, I can promise that you'll find substitutes for cheese, cream sauces, burgers, tacos, stews, cakes, ice cream and more. Allow the Internet to become your best friend and Google the heck out of vegan recipes. You will be pleasantly surprised. That, I can promise.
5. Eating out
You're going to need to learn to really read the menu. For starters, if I know where I'm going out to eat, I'll pull up the menu at home and take a quick look. If it turns out my only option is going to be a small salad, I'll eat a little before I head out. But in all honesty, that rarely happens. There's almost always something you can get, or something you can adjust to make vegan. The biggest culprit is butter. You're going to have to be comfortable with asking for accommodations. If you want a side of broccoli, make sure you ask for it without butter. That's usually not advertised on the menu, you have to be proactive. Lunch and dinner are never an issue. Breakfast, or brunch, is where your options become a little more limited.
6. The protein problem
There is no protein problem, but everyone who is not a vegan will suddenly be very concerned with your protein intake. They will all ask you that magical question: But where will you get your protein? And while the fun answers include things such as, "From the souls of ex-boyfriends" and "I don't need protein because I'm actually a robot" the obvious answer is beans, legumes and VEGETABLES! If people would take a moment to think before they spoke, they would realize that animal protein isn't the only protein out there.
7. It's not just the food
Being vegan goes beyond the foods we eat. I know it can be a lot to transition to, but maybe once you get the food part down, you can work on the rest. Cruelty free products is what you want and there are plenty of options out there. I get all my products, make-ups, shampoo, detergents, soaps, etc. from regular stores. There's no special ordering and it doesn't mean you're going to be spending more money. In fact, my two favorite cruelty free make-up brands are the cheapest ones sold at CVS and Walgreens. Just do your research!
Being vegan used to be a lot harder than it is now. Veganism seems to be more trendy than it has been in the past, therefore the options have really opened up. Companies are adapting and restaurants are offering more on their menus. It's a wonderful thing. If you choose the healthy vegan route, which I hope you do, you will see and feel benefits quite quickly. Your energy levels and glowing skin will be among the first things you will notice! Enjoy, it will only get better.