In my blog “Why you should consider going dairy-free”, I shared how I stopped eating dairy and the health benefits of it. By the way if you haven’t read it yet, go read! Well when I stopped eating dairy I never really insisted on going vegan. It kind of just happened. I transitioned for a year before I completely stopped eating meat. Even after a year, I don’t know everything about living a vegan lifestyle. I am definitely still learning and growing in my journey.
Now, I would be lying if I said it was easy but I’d also be lying if I said it was impossible. A lot of people think of it as a diet and it’s not. If you are curious and want to give up dairy and meat for a few days or weeks, that’s a start. But you will need to know once you start it will be a lifestyle. Your life will be centered around the food you eat, at least in the beginning. If you’re eating at a restaurant, you will need to know if they have vegan options. You’ll also need to know what grocery stores have the most vegan options and should probably learn how to meal prep. I know you may be thinking, all of this is stressful and too much work. I get it! I will be honest, it can be stressful and it can be a lot of work. But again, it’s not impossible.
There are a lot of things to know about living a vegan lifestyle. Over the year I’ve learned so much and I’ve started to notice a lot of people being curious and interested in going vegan. Well if you are considering it, here are some things you should know before doing so.
Know your why
It’s so important for you to know why you’re doing this. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, besides you. When things get tough and you question whether or not it is a lifestyle for you, knowing why you’re doing it will help you stay consistent and add meaning to it all. It is not only about eating “healthy” food, it’s about having the willpower and mentality to know you can. So before you do anything, know what your why is and everything else will fall into place.
It’s okay to transition
You don’t have to cut everything out at once. I explained I transitioned for a year before being a true vegan. It’s your decision and no one else’s. If you want to take baby steps, that is fine. Just because it takes you a little longer don’t mean you’re less than someone who cut animal by-products all at once.
Get comfortable with food labels
I never paid attention to food labels as much as I do now. Yes, you will have to look at every label. You’d be amazed of all the foods that contain dairy. So don’t assume or be fooled by the look of the food that it is vegan. Don’t be afraid to take your time at the grocery store or ask questions when you’re eating out because you have the right to know what is in your food.
Veganism doesn’t always mean weight loss
This is one of the most important things to know before going vegan. I’ve heard of so many people going vegan to lose weight and get upset when they don’t and quit. Listen, just as there is an unhealthy and healthy person who eats dairy and meat. There can be an unhealthy vegan. There are a lot of foods that are vegan such as Oreos, Twizzlers, chips and some ice cream. So you can be vegan and still eat junk food. Just make sure you’re eating those things in moderation.
You can still get protein
There is a BIG misconception is that you have to eat meat in order to get protein. You don’t have to eat animals to get your protein. Protein can come from vegetables, nuts, quinoa and beans. You just have to know what to eat to get the protein you need. Most people eat way too much protein anyways.
Be mentally prepared for the questions you will be asked. You will be asked a thousand times, what do you eat, where do you get protein, how can you not eat meat. You will get asked it all. People will make jokes at work, when you go out to eat and during the holidays. After hearing it so much, it will annoy you and make you feel alone. But that is the time you remember your why and keep it moving!
These tips are just a few things on a long list for you to know before going vegan. Have you started your journey? If so, we’d love to hear what you’ve learned on the way!