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how to start a vegan journey

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.

~Get the Free Vegan Starter Kit~

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Being Vegan is NOT Boring & 3 Other Myths

I understand exactly what it feels like to be overwhelmed or scared to make a big change in your life.
Let's dispel some of the myths about being vegan, so you can move forward in your journey.

 

VEGAN LIFE IS TOO MUCH TIME CONSUMING

I can understand why this is a struggle for many people.
We're all used to grocery shopping and cooking at some level - The problem is, most of us aren't used to writing a detailed meal plan and paying close attention to what we buy while grocery shopping.

This is the reason vegan life can feel time consuming in the beginning. 
I promise once you get used to those uncomfortable feelings (by pushing passed them) and get into a routine, all of this will become easier.

Hang in there!

Here's an audio with tips on how NOT to spend all weekend on meal planning.


THERE ISN'T ENOUGH VARIETY (AKA TOO MANY BORING MEALS) AS A VEGAN

Before I was a vegan, I thought we could only eat salad and smoothies. I promise this isn't the case at all!
I love variety just as much as the next person. I wouldn't be on this journey if I felt limited by my food choices.

You can make or buy everything vegan.

I even had delicious vegan shrimp at Loving Hut restaurant (I was skeptical about this one at first lol). Here's the picture I posted on Instagram back when I tried it....

In the video below, I show you the many vegan options at Target.

Whole Foods and other health food stores do an amazing job of catering to vegans when it comes to specialty products. No worries if you don't live near any of these places - sites like Amazon and Vegan Essentials make it super easy to get what you need shipped right to your door.

You can also make a homemade version of anything you can think of. Google gotcha covered on that!

For instance, if you want to make a vegan version of buttermilk, you just search "how to make vegan buttermilk" or "vegan buttermilk recipe" and so many options will come up.
By the way, you can make vegan buttermilk by mixing 1 cup of soy milk and 1 tbsp of white vinegar and allowing it to sit for 10 mins.

Start thinking about some of your favorite dishes and how you can make delicious vegan version of those meals to add variety.


YOU HAVE TO GO VEGAN OVERNIGHT

This is probably the biggest misconception on this list! No matter what anyone says, it's okay to gradually transition to a vegan lifestyle. I was a vegetarian for 2 years before started my own journey in 2010. Making the shift to vegan life is a process!

I notice when people transition overnight without being clear on their why or without a real plan, they usually give up within a couple of weeks. 

I'm not saying you should make excuses about why you can't be vegan, but I am saying that the transition may take some time.
Please be gentle with yourself, so that you gain the confidence to move forward.  

Ready Set Go Vegan will walk you through all steps to stay on a consistent vegan lifestyle.


BEING VEGAN IS TOO EXPENSIVE

What do potatoes, spinach, black beans, corn tortillas, bananas, apples, rice, spaghetti noodles and canned tomatoes have in common?
All of these items are vegan and very affordable.

I will admit that our grocery bill spiked when we started this journey, but that was because I was buying all organic for a family of 5. These days, I do buy some organics, but overall I just focus on what we can afford. Period. 

Don't let a tight budget be the reason you don't stay on this vegan journey.

Quick tips to keep your grocery bill down:

*Buy as many whole ingredients as possible - it doesn't take a million hours to cook from scratch. I promise! 

*Think about how you can make enough for leftovers (soup & chili recipes are perfect for this) to save both and time.

*Only shop at Whole Foods (AKA Whole Check- chile!) for speciality vegan products that you can't get at a regular grocery store. Do the rest of your grocery shopping at your regular store.

*Buy what you need - I know this isn't popular advice, but in my experience, you will waste money buying produce in bulk because it's hard to eat it fast enough before it spoils.

*If you prefer to buy organics, see if you can get a better deal at the farmer's market. Also, my grocery store has store brand organics that are super affordable. See if you store has this option.


Do you feel better now that we just debunked all of those myths? I hope so! There's nothing stopping you now!

~Get the Free Vegan Starter Kit~

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What You Should Do BEFORE You Go Vegan

One of the questions I get often is, "I want to go vegan...where do I start?"

In the latest video I share some tips on how to start a successful vegan journey. 

Watch the video here.....

Recap from the video....

  • Write down why you want to be vegan -There's so much power in getting it on paper
  • Make the decision that you're going vegan-Something magical happens when you make that declaration! It will open you up to explore, research and do whatever you can to make the full transition to a vegan life.
  • Recognize that this journey isn't perfect- I wish going vegan were perfect but even after 5 years it still isn't perfection for me. 
  • Plan your meals-Meal planning can be overwhelming; especially since most of us aren't used to planning our meals in detail. Use Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and vegan cookbooks from the library to get ideas.  Try to focus on what you're already eating and figure out ways to veganize those meals.

I mentioned my podcast at the end of the video...Listen to episodes here

 

~Get the Free Vegan Starter Kit~

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