Beginner’s Guide To Veganism
Veganism is not just about your eating choices – it’s more than that. It’s about where you stand with your beliefs.
You are perhaps in this space for three reasons. You are learning about veganism for general knowledge. Or, you may be considering transforming into being a vegan. Lastly, you have already made up your mind, and want to incorporate it into your lifestyle.
Wherever you are with your journey, this article is all about being brutally honest. Instead of glorifying or upselling veganism to you, we will openly discuss all the necessary information to make your transition easy.
Let’s jump right into this insightful guide to learn more.
The Real Meaning of Veganism
Before we talk about anything, we want to address a common confusion relating to veganism. Many people tend to think that veganism has to do with your eating choices only. There’s more to it. Veganism is not limited to food; it includes a lifestyle choice too.
Being a vegan means that you consciously exclude everything that involves animal cruelty or exploitation.
It also requires you to be mindful about indulging in items that are made with animals, or products that are tested on animals. It could be handbags, skincare products, make-up, personal care products, clothes, etc.
There’s no such thing as choosing your “type” of veganism. Either you are all in or slowly transitioning. But it’s important to be aware of how you choose to be one. Being vegan means, you are ethically, environmentally, and diet-wise choosing a lifestyle that truly defines its purpose.
There are people who only choose to eat vegan food – a plant-based diet. They are not vegans in the true sense. It’s great that they are contributing to an environmentally sustainable world, but it’s best to be clear about the entire concept. They could be doing it for health benefits only. Visit this website to get a better idea of everything related to plant-based eating.
If you really want to be known as a vegan, there’s more for you to find out. Hopefully, you’ll find it here.
Find Your Reason to Go Vegan
Going vegan is not just about being trendy. There are certain benefits to it too! Let’s scroll through some of the primary reasons why people are exploring veganism nowadays.
1. Save Animals
This is the most common reason why many people start transitioning into veganism. When you choose to go vegan, you are actively contributing to the reduction of animal cruelty and exploitation.
Even, if it is a small number, think about completely cutting down on eating meat for a full year. That’s not so small now, is it? So every individual attempt counts. Plus, for some people, it’s more than your diet, it’s about owning up to your ethical values.
2. Save The Planet
You can be a superhero by saving the planet. Here’s how – animal agriculture is responsible for producing more greenhouse gas in comparison to plant-based food production. It also uses more water. So, by eliminating animal-based food items in your diet, you are eating responsibly.
3. Healthy Eating
Many people don’t have enough knowledge about what a healthy plant-based diet is. Firstly, all plant-based diets are not healthy. There are various unhealthy vegan food items.
Although some people find it really hard to transition, they opt for these unhealthy processed vegan foods – which is okay. Because you don’t want to be too hard on yourself. But, it’s good to know that all vegan food does not promote healthy eating.
Vegan food includes the elimination of animal-based products, as well as refined oil and sugar. This particular food category is known as whole foods plant-based (WFPB). It has its fair share of benefits, such as treating or preventing various illnesses like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc.
There are vegan social media influencers who are coming forward to discuss their journey, inspiring many people to consider veganism. After seeing numerous physical benefits such as improved skin conditions, better digestion, and overall physical health, many people are all in to give veganism a try.
Let’s Talk Food
As mentioned, this is where it gets challenging. Going vegan is easy until you have to make changes to your diet. You have to be mindful about eliminating certain items, due to their nutritional value.
You have to smartly replace them ensuring you are still getting enough protein in your diet. However, if planned properly, you can easily reap all the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Some people manage to transition more smoothly than others. They usually just embrace the newness without planning their meals. But these people often find it hard to stick to a plant-based diet for a longer time.
The most successful way to move forward is to go vegan gradually. This approach includes phasing out animal-based food items slowly. The number one rule is to be patient. Listen to your body and make adjustments according to your tastebuds for it to work out.
Don’t immediately restrict yourself to an all-vegan diet. You could be really committed to your vegan life. But take baby steps in order to transition smoothly. Eat more plants, and start with replacing one regular meal at a time and see how you feel about it. Remember don’t starve yourself and forget to celebrate your progress.
Plan Your Meals
We always suggest doing some groundwork before shifting to a new diet. Start by researching the topic. Before implementing it, jot down your current diet chart. Look at alternatives to replace your meat intake.
Make small changes, and allow your body to get used to it gradually. For example, following a 3-day rule. Replace one ingredient every 3 days. It gives your body the time to process the change better.
Clear your fridge and start fresh. Plan your weekly grocery shopping around your new life. Opt for a healthy grocery checklist to suit your new diet. If you like to cook your meals, it’s somewhat easier to incorporate this change. Do a meal rotation, every 3 or 5 days. Remember, you are in charge of replacing items for your vegan meals, so take advantage of that freedom. If something tastes inedible to you, look for alternatives, instead of forcing yourself to feed it.
Vegan Starter Kit
Regardless of all the information available about a plant-based diet, there are gaps that often confuse people. It’s important to get yourself an appointment with a nutritionist or a dietician if you have any doubts or concerns.
You could also sign up for a vegan starter kit for a week or two to understand how it works. There are pre-paid meal plans that offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in-between snacks to help you eat a well-rounded vegan diet.
The most common concern is usually about eliminating the main source of protein. Now, how much protein your body needs depends on certain factors like your previous diet, your lifestyle, workout history, and your overall health.
There are multiple high-protein alternatives to keep your protein intake balanced. There are also vegan supplements available for you to fill up any deficits, such as protein powder.
Some of the higher plant-based sources of protein are:
- Brown rice
- Seeds (Chia, hemp, flax)
- Nut butter
What To Eat
There are plenty of options out there. Most of which can be made at home using vegan ingredients. The trick is to pick a base of grains such as oats, barley, brown rice, legumes, etc. Then, pick your toppings accordingly. Here are some of the vegan-friendly items that you can easily source to continue your journey.
- Plant-based milk
- Meat Alternatives
- Cheese alternatives
- Package items labeled as vegan
What Not To Eat
Here’s a list of items that need to be eliminated from your current diet. Although it may look like an exhaustive list, it isn’t. There are many ways to replace the following items. So hang in there.
- Ice cream
- Fish or seafood
- Natural flavors (check labels)
- Vitamin D3 (if you can get it from a vegan source, it can be included in the list)
- Processed Sugar
Up until now, we’ve primarily discussed the food side of veganism, which is perhaps the hardest part. As mentioned earlier, there’s more to just consuming plant-based food. It is a whole mindset of helping the planet.
With this beginner’s guide to veganism, you can take the first step and see where it leads you as time goes on. Remember that the whole point is to reduce harm to our planet and we see no harm in this movement.
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Photo by Daria Shevtsova
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