Hello! Are you thinking of going vegan? Welcome to the greener side of the fence(!), just not so fast. This isn’t the kind of fence you want to take a running jump at. This is the kind of fence you want to approach slowly, calculate the angles, ask for a spotter, and then embrace the benefits of a vegan lifestyle.
If everyone who has ever tried to go vegan at some point were successful, there would be a lot more vegans. Some people underestimate the amount of work it takes, and others are simply naive, but neither of these situations will apply to you because you’re here reading this. Good job! Doing research should always be the first step.
First of All, Figure Out Your “Why”
Switching to a vegan lifestyle requires a huge change in fundamental behavior and mindset. Making a change of this magnitude intended to be maintained for the long run requires a strong, intentional, and profound change of mindset. Mind over matter, remember?
It will be challenging yet rewarding to plan a (successful) transition without clearly addressing why you want to vegan in the first place. People go vegan for different reasons, and these various reasons will drive different lifestyles. You don’t want to decide to go vegan because your friends or family are going vegan – this won’t keep you motivated.
One of the most popular motivations for following a vegan lifestyle or diet is the environment. Veganism is one of the most straightforward changes you can make to make the most impact (or least, haha). Plant-based foods require less water, less land, and emit significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere than eating animals and animal products. Recycling and turning off the tap while brushing your teeth is great and all, but if you really want to make a difference, veganism is the way to go. Some people also cite ethical reasons or even health benefits as the reason behind making the change.
So, the first step to becoming vegan? Figure out your “why.” Why do you want to follow a vegan diet? What intrigues you about this way of living? What’s going to keep you motivated when you’re craving a piece of steak?
Learn, Learn, and Learn Some More
Before even stepping foot in the kitchen, hop on Goggle and research, research, and research some more.
Familiarize yourself with veganism and everything it entails. Read many more articles like this one. Take notes, double-check your findings, cross-reference, etc. Learning the ins and outs of veganism will not only help clarify your motive for becoming vegan but will teach you all the benefits to be had, the dos and don’ts, and how to optimally nourish your body.
For example, vegan diets are sometimes lacking in certain vitamins, so what can you do to combat that? How are you going to get enough protein—will you turn to legumes, nuts, and seeds, like cashews and chia seeds? Or are you planning to experiment with proteins like seitan and vegan burgers? Learning how to make the diet work for you and what vegan dishes you like is a personal journey.
Discover the foods you’ll have to cut out, the foods recommended to incorporate, and perhaps uncover any restrictions you’re not willing to make. Read articles, watch movies and videos, scroll through blogs, ask people around you, and gather all the information you can. Knowledge is power.
We Don’t Recommend Going Vegan Cold-Turkey
So you’ve decided you want to give this whole vegan thing a go (yay!), what now?
There are two ways to move forward: going vegan cold-turkey or easing into it.
Going cold-turkey would mean dropping all animal products from your diet overnight. Such a sudden, drastic change in diet can sometimes negatively affect physical, mental, and emotional health. But the vegan side of the fence isn’t one we want to make a running jump for, remember?
Instead, we suggest any potential vegan newcomers ease into this new way of living and feeding themselves.
Transitioning to vegan means saying goodbye to a lot of foods and saying hello to a lot of new amazing foods. We suggest both of these transitions happen slowly and that you begin adding in the new foods before eliminating the animal-based ones.
Hopefully, by this point, you’ve already built up a collection of vegan ingredients, products, and recipes that appeal to you. Begin by gradually incorporating more and more of these vegan foods into your diet. Get comfortable cooking with these ingredients, experiment between different brands of products, and start finding your favorites.
Including more plant-based whole foods such as whole grains, beans, veggies, nuts, seeds, and tofu is a great place to start. Vegan protein sources like lentils, chickpeas, tempeh, and more are great additions to a tasty, nutritious vegan meal. These vegan staples are excellent sources of healthy fuel, common in many vegan recipes, and are highly affordable, too. Not sure where to start? Switch out milk for a non-dairy alternative, like Eclipse Foods, or a plant milk. Start to work in seasonings that are popular in vegan recipes like nutritional yeast, or swap out the cheese on those tacos for vegan cheese so that you can work on avoiding dairy products. Slow and steady wins the race here, people! When you’re in the grocery store, load up on nut butters, hummus, quinoa, and other plant foods—because when you already have something delicious and filling on hand, you’re way more likely to choose the plant-based food.
Once you’re happy and comfortable with more of the new foods, you can begin eliminating the animal-based ones. Again, slow and steady wins the race. Meatless Mondays or a strategy like being vegan before or after a certain time of day are good top-dips into the new lifestyle. For many, taking a laid-back approach is the least stressful and most enjoyable way to transition. Don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning and realize you’ve unintentionally been vegan for a whole week.
Go Easy on Yourself
Listen, this isn’t supposed to be a chore, pain point, or source of stress. Veganism should not be an all-or-nothing mindset. Nobody’s perfect, and no one should be scrutinizing you for what you do or don’t put into your body.
Becoming vegan is your journey, and there’s no right or wrong way to go about it. We’re not working towards perfectionism; we’re working towards better. Imperfect environmentalists are more than welcome.
It’s ok to make “mistakes.” It’s ok to accidentally eat something that wasn’t vegan, and it’s also ok to eat something knowing it wasn’t the vegan option. Be in tune with how you’re feeling and take cues from how your body is reacting; the body knows best!
In summary, go easy on yourself, take it slow, and allow “mistakes.” This shouldn’t be a stressful process, and it doesn’t have to be.
Find the Best Vegan Products That Exist
As more people have been transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, vegan alternatives have been skyrocketing. New vegan products pop up on shelves seemingly every day, and just about every food out there now has a vegan alternative. No, seriously – even eggs have a vegan alternative.
Unfortunately, not all vegan products are created equal, and not all of them are worth your while. In fact, some vegan products can even be worse for you than their “normal” counterpart due to genetically modified ingredients, artificial additives, and just generally highly processed ingredients. Just because something is vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy. And if you’re worried about how going vegan is going to affect your health or you don’t know the best way to go about it, it doesn’t hurt to speak with a dietitian.
Aside from the nutritional aspect, some companies have done better at creating tasty vegan products than others. To have the best shot at veganism being sustainable and enjoyable, you need to find the best vegan products that exist to incorporate into your meal plan, both nutritionally and taste-wise. JUST and Eclipse Foods have nailed both of these elements and offer various delicious, wholesome, and sustainable products.
Eclipse Foods has created the first plant-based “dairy” products that are indistinguishable from their dairy counterparts. When it comes to dairy-free ice cream, many miss the mark by having a weird consistency, granular texture, or lack of flavor. Not this ice cream, though. Eclipse ice cream is rich, creamy, and delicious with no sacrifice to taste, texture, nor functionality—it’s junk food, but you don’t have to worry about where it’s coming from.
Going vegan will only work if you’re 100% happy with the foods you’re eating. Life doesn’t revolve around food, but we’d also be lying to say food doesn’t play a really big role in life. Sometimes we just need to sit down with a tub of ice cream (we’ve all been there, right?), but if you’re resenting your tub of vegan ice cream because it sucks, you’ll probably quickly grow to resent veganism, too.
Give yourself the best shot at a healthy vegan lifestyle by remembering why you started, being easy on yourself, and filling your house with delicious plant-based foods. Here at Eclipse, we love helping people on this journey – we provide incredibly delicious products, and you get to enjoy and help save the planet.