3 Steps to A Successful Vegan Journey

I spent the weekend working on Wednesday's workshop (it's going to be lit!) and catching up on Power and Atlanta (love these shows).

I also spent some time thinking about some of the steps that anyone who wants to become and stay vegan must do to have a successful journey.

Check out my 3 tips to have a successful vegan journey....

1. Determine your why

Why do you want to be vegan? What will this look like for you? These are important questions. It takes time to transition to vegan life and that’s okay.

I want you to be gentle with yourself and open your mind for change.

Here are 3 common reasons people decide to go vegan:

Health

“Vegans are approximately one-ninth as likely to be obese as meat-eaters and have a cancer rate that is only 40 percent that of meat-eaters. People who consume animal products are also at increased risk for many other illnesses, including strokes, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, multiple allergies, diabetes, and food poisoning.” (PETA)

Even though my family’s vegan journey started as a silent protest to the harsh realities of factory farming, the health benefits on this journey are amazing. We feel lighter, our skin is clearer and we have a lot more energy than we did when we ate dairy, eggs, and meat.

Environmental

“By going vegan, we can help prevent global warming, rainforest destruction, and pollution, while saving water and other precious resources. In fact, raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined. There has never been a better time to go green by eating green.” (chooseveg.com)

I remember a few years ago there was so much talk about reducing our carbon footprints by not buying gas-guzzling vehicles. Even though this is an important way to reduce our overall fuel consumption, the most effective way to reduce environmental problems is by not relying on animals for food.

Animal Rights

“…we in the West constitute a society based on violence, oppression, misery, and domination that has led to an outgoing societal trauma from the microscale to the macrocell for all of us—whether we are the oppressors, the oppressed, or both. I see this clearly in how we collectively consume and how we rationalize why it is okay if our products come from a place of suffering, violence, and equality.” Breeze Harper

I never considered animal rights as much of a reason to be vegan until I read, Sistah Vegan. This book helped to change my perspective about our responsibility to care about animals. I now realize that we don’t need meat (land and sea) and we don’t need animal products for our survival. The bottom line is, factory farming is cruel and unnecessary.

Take these steps right now....

  • Think about your why.
  • Visualize what your life will look like as a vegan and then determine your why. This will come in handy when you second guess this lifestyle. Get clear on your why and make the decision to go vegan.
  • Use this space to write down your why. This is so powerful, so don’t miss this step. It will be helpful to refer back to this when you start to second guess your decision.
 

 

2. Always be ready, so you don’t have to get ready

My dad used to say this to me when it came to my schoolwork as a kid, but I feel this quote is also relevant to vegan life. One of the biggest obstacles you may face when transitioning to this lifestyle is getting adjusted to all of the planning that takes place.

Most of us are so used to just eating whatever we want, the extra step of reading ingredients labels (to ensure there's no eggs, meat, dairy) and asking your server questions while dining out, can feel so overwhelming. I promise with consistently this will get better.

Just be sure to add time in your schedule for meal planning, grocery shopping (to get more comfortable in the store & to read food labels) and check out restaurants menus online to see what vegan options they have available before you leave the house. Feeling rushed will only discourage you, so "always be ready, so you don't have to get ready."

Happycow.net is a good resource for finding vegan restaurants near your home and while traveling.

Is it Vegan? is a great app to determine whether or not a product is vegan while grocery shopping.

Finding Vegan is a great resource to find vegan recipes around the interwebs.

 

3. Be very gentle with yourself

There’s a misconception that vegans are perfect and that we never have issues with food. I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe in perfect. It just doesn’t exist.

This lifestyle is truly a process and it takes time to get comfortable with no longer having meat, eggs, and cheese on your plate.

I want to give you a quick word of advice - Celebrate the baby steps no matter how small and always always embrace progression over perfection.

When you’re struggling with food, the only way to get back on track is by being gentle with yourself and understand that you’re human.

Write down what’s going on in your life that can be holding you back.

Is it a lack of meal planning, too busy to cook or just not feeling inspired? All of these things are normal. What can you do to make changes to your schedule that will allow for you to invest a little more time into getting back on track?

Remember, this transition is so worth it, so relax and embrace the ups and downs that may come along with being on this journey.

There was a time in my own journey that I didn't think I could move forward.

I went on vacation about 3 years ago and ate crab cake.

After eating that crab cake, I ate non-vegan cake and some other non-vegan meals.

I felt so defeated.

When I got home (after being sick for days), I continued to eat mostly vegan but still had issues getting back on track.

I think this is the side of vegan life that many don't talk about. Whether you're on the journey for a few months on a few years (like I was at the time), you realize this journey isn't perfect.

Keep moving forward and please please please don't beat yourself up if you get off track.

This will only hold you back.

How to Make A Vegan School Lunch Your Kids Will Actually Eat

 

With school just starting for so many families, I want to share some tips (and easy recipes) on how to make sure your kids are enjoying a simple vegan school lunch.

When my family started this journey in 2010, my three sons would throw most of their lunch in the trash can. 

Real talk.

They complained that I never sent anything "good" and that no one wanted to trade with them because they didn't recognize hummus and kale chips.

This was very disappointing to say the least.

I wanted my boys to have as many fresh fruit and vegetables options as possible in their lunch bags -- and of course no meat, eggs or dairy.

 

Here's a simple formula that will make life easier for all...

Main Entree + Fruit/vegetable + Treat/junk food + Drink = Vegan School Lunch

The above formula gives balance and will allow you to give your kids healthy options and their favorite familiar treats that are vegan.

 

Examples of what each category in the formula looks like:

Main Entree: Peanut butter & jelly sandwich, pita pockets with sautéed vegetables and shredded vegan chicken strips (Beyond Meat is a decent brand sold at Target) and a bean burrito

Fruit/Vegetable: Grapes, apple slices & peanut butter, carrot sticks and hummus, mini salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, shredded carrots) with balsamic vinaigrette

Treat/Junk food: Plain potato chips, pretzels, and Oreo cookies

Drink: Water, chocolate almond milk and 100% fruit juice

 

This is just the beginning! The goal of this post is to give you the confidence to start (if you haven't already) with a vegan lunch that your kids will enjoy.

As time goes on, you will be able to get away with adding more healthy options to their lunch boxes.

Until then, be gentle with yourself and family as you navigate this better way of eating and life.

 

I did a video earlier this year with three simple and delicious vegan lunch. Check it out here....

I hope this is helpful!

What are your kids fave lunch meals?

 

Want Your Kids to Drink Green Smoothies? Check Out These Tips

I just had to snap a quick pic of Elijah drinking a green smoothie while he was catching up on YouTube vids.

I remember when he wouldn't even drink them!

Today he's loving this one with kale, mango & banana.

Green smoothies are a perfect way to get your picky eater to get more vegetables into his/her diet.

You can use raw spinach, swiss chard, lettuce, kale and other green leafy greens that are packed with high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.

💥Tips to get your kids to drink green smoothies💥

  • Use spinach and Swiss chard instead of kale to start since those vegetables aren't as strong in a smoothie.
  • Also, use less greens and more fruit in the beginning -- then gradually add more greens as they get used to it.
  • For younger kids, (who won't drink because of the GREEN color), use a plastic cup with a lid and straw instead of a glass, so they can't see it.😂😂
  • Use blueberries as your fruit to hide the green color

 

Just in case you're interested, here's the smoothie combination I used for the one Elijah is drinking above:

1/2 cup of water

1 cup kale

1 medium ripe banana

1 cup frozen mango

Blend until smooth. Add more water, if necessary.

Enjoy!

 

Share your own smoothie tips in the comments!

  

Why My Kids Aren't Vegan

One of the questions I get quite often is whether or not my hubby & kids are vegan.

In this video, I share that answer and some tips on how to start a vegan journey with your family.

Click below to watch....

When we started this journey back in 2010, I wanted everyone to be vegan.

I remember being conflicted because my two older kids would go to their dad's house on the weekends, so it was hard for them to maintain there.

These days, my kids eat vegan at home and have the option to eat what they choose while dining out.

I know this may not be the most popular way to do it, but we all have to do what works best for our family situation.

 

Tips on how to get your kids to eat more vegetables and vegan meals:

  • Add greens to your kids' smoothies--perfect with breakfast and as a snack. Spinach is a great start because you don't taste it.
  • Add an extra vegetable to the dinner plate to help crowd out some of the meat and dairy.
  • Make a vegan version of some of their favorite meals, so it doesn't feel like you're making a huge sacrifice. 
  • Get your kids involved in meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking --Kids are less likely to reject something they helped put together.
  • Be clear about why you're going vegan -- Have a conversation with your family and watch documentaries together.
  • Be gentle with yourself and your family as your transition to vegan life -- It's a process and takes time to get adjusted to this amazing new lifestyle. You can do it!

 

Resources mentioned in the video:

Store bought vegan chicken nuggets are the Gardein brand -- you can find their products in the frozen section at most grocery stores.

The homemade vegan chicken recipe is here 

 

Is everyone in your house vegan or is your approach similar to mine?

Leave me a comment