What are some tips for becoming a vegan?

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Answered by: Katherine, An Expert in the Vegetarian and Vegan Basics Category
The reasons for becoming a vegan are vast and varied, and if you're reading this, you knew that. Equally vast and varied, though, are the obstacles and questions you seem to encounter when you start. For this reason, we've put together some tips for becoming a vegan.

1. Start at the Store

If you don't bring it home with you from the grocery store, you can't eat it. There are two outcomes to this: firstly, if you don't buy animal products and junk food, you will have fewer opportunities to break the rules you set for yourself. Secondly, if you don't buy the healthy food you need, you'll be underprepared, and at the last, hangry minute, you may find yourself down the street at a 711 or elbows-deep in a milkshake. It's bad news. Get to know your produce section and the brands that are going to fit in with your dietary needs, and you'll be just fine.

2. Plan Ahead

Pick one day of the week to spend an hour planning. In that time, pick three or four breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Then write a thorough grocery list and go get the stuff you need. You'll avoid needing to make decisions in a pinch, and you'll feel like Rachel Ray, which is always a bonus. Beyond your shopping list, prepare meals, snacks, and ingredients. A pepper in your fridge is an ingredient. Slices of peppers are a snack! It's amazing! If you take a few simple steps preparing your ingredients as soon as you get home from the store, you're more likely to eat them, and they won't go bad in the fridge

3. Don't go Cold-(tofu)Turkey

Meat, dairy, and eggs can be found all over, and they were probably responsible for some of your nutritional and emotional needs up until you decided to get rid of them. For this reason, it might be your best method to eliminate them one category at a time: first meat, then eggs, then dairy, or any other order. This is more effective for avoiding cravings and digestion problems than going from one vegan day to three vegan days to seven vegan days a week.

4. Eat More

Because plant-based foods are often less calorically dense than animal products, you may be surprised by the volume of the food you're eating. Plan to have larger meals, because your body will digest this food faster, and you run the risk of being hungry more often.

5. Avoid replacements

Fake cheese, soy meat, and dairy-free ice cream all have their place in a vegan's life. At the start, though, they're not particularly helpful. If you opt for new foods rather than trying to replace old ones, you'll expand your horizons and vary your flavors, and you won't be disappointed when your old favorites just aren't what they used to be. When choosing recipes, consider ideas from other cultures or ingredients that you have never used before. It's much more fun and it'll feel more like adding than subtracting.

6. Know your body

You're making a big change. It's important that you pay attention to the way it's affecting you physically and emotionally. You can avoid a lot of issues if you make a habit out of checking in on how your body feels after certain foods, and you'll be motivated to make better, healthier choices. You'll most likely find yourself feeling better when you do this, both in your stomach and your heart.

7. Do your homework

People are going to have a lot of questions for you, and you're going to have a lot of questions for yourself. Fortunately, there are a lot answers, and a little time on the internet will get you there. Resources like cronometer.com, where you input the food you've eaten and they tell you the nutrition you're getting, will change the game.

8. Find your community

It's easy to feel isolated when you make the choice to eliminate a lot of common culture's foods. To combat this, look to the internet and larger communities to find support. They'll give you a lot of recipe ideas and reinforce your motivation to choose a plant-based diet. The only thing vegans love more than plants is talking about being vegans, so they're pretty easy to find.

9. Reward yourself

Being vegan seems like a serious choice, but it just has to be fun. Find the vegan junk foods you like for every once in a while, try adventurous recipes and restaurants, and share your accomplishments with friends. It'll keep you happy while you keep yourself healthy.

These tips for becoming a vegan should help you get going, but this is just the beginning. Thanks for reading and good luck!

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