Going vegan has become increasingly popular for one reason or another, so much so that it’s almost annoyingly trendy. Barring some obnoxious reasons for going vegan (such as reading Skinny Bitch), you might want to try a vegan diet because A) it will make you healthier, and B) you love animals and would like to avoid hurting them. Clearly, your parents have been telling you to eat your vegetables your entire life — there is no way a (well-thought out) plant-based diet can be bad for you. But because here in America we tend to be obsessed with steak and cheese, going vegan can be really hard. Or it can be really easy, depending on how you go about it. So whether you’re looking to make a complete lifestyle transition, or you’re just curious to see if it’s for you, do your research first and foremost! But also read these helpful tricks I have discovered on my journey to almost-vegandom.
Get a blender. Whether you are vegan or not, blenders are your friend — they are primarily good for disguising “superfoods” (read: things that are good for your body but taste weird, like green tea or flaxseed oil), in delicious fruit smoothies. They also take the guesswork out of eating. Just stuff a bunch of fruit/spinach/protein powder/other healthy crap in the blender with your choice of non-dairy milk or ice cubes and make yourself a yummy drink which will keep you full, vitamin-ridden and feeling good about your life until the next meal. Super easy.
Don’t worry about replacing everything. Eating vegan can be very expensive, which is one reason why many people end up shying away from it. But it really doesn’t have to be — it only gets really pricey if you drop all kinds of $$$ on faux meats and cheeses, or basically anything processed or packaged. You don’t need all those direct meat “substitutes,” just get creative in the kitchen. Make your own veggie burgers and freeze them for later or whatever. All you really need to buy is a good cookbook (or five) and the rest will fall into place.
“It’s vegan, so it’s healthy.” NO. Biggest mistake. One time I decided to become all healthy and buy a “natural” deodorant, which only resulted in a horrible rash. The moral: “natural” doesn’t mean “good for you,” and “vegan” doesn’t entail “healthy.” Eating vegan junk food all day won’t make you healthy. Don’t be fooled by cute packaging filled with trees and Papyrus font. Just read the damn ingredients.
Know your weak spots. For me, those weak spots are hangovers. I can be all veggie-filled and content throughout the day and night, but one too many shots of Jager and the next morning I’m like Godzilla stomping through the land of cheese fries. The solution: have vegan snacks on hand, live in an actual city where delicious bad-for-you vegan food is readily available, or drink less. That’s basically all.
Don’t beat yourself up. It’s not the end of the world if you succumb to a piece of pizza, or forget to order your latte with soymilk. No one is perfect. It’s not like I threw out all my leather jackets upon deciding to cut out animal products. And I can assure you I’ll be eating pierogies at some point (I’m Polish, it’s required). But it’s no big deal. Going vegan should be about wanting to be healthier overall and living a more compassionate lifestyle, not becoming The Perfect Vegan and thinking you ruined your life and everything you stand for by taking that one bite of cheese. Don’t apologize for your past; just make better choices in the future.