I’ve been debating for the last couple of months as to whether or not I should overhaul my diet and go vegan. I feel that I’ve accomplished so much in the fitness aspect of my life. I now want to take it a step further and really improve my diet. Not as a fad or one time thing, but to truly have a well-balanced lifestyle with a plant based diet.
What does vegan mean?
According to Vegan.com: The word vegan refers to anything that’s free of animal products: no meat, milk, eggs, wool, leather, and so forth. Your sandwich, your shampoo, and your car seats are examples of items that could be vegan.
Veganism carries at least three potential advantages:
- Avoidance of animal mistreatment and slaughter
- Elimination of certain health risks
- Reduction of environmental footprint
So if I were to go vegan I would consume no meat or their byproducts…
This would be super challenging for me considering the frequency at which I eat meat and its byproducts. I can honestly say that I currently eat meat at almost every meal.. that’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast, I usually eat egg white omelets with some veggies thrown in. For lunch, I almost always have chicken except for the rare occasion that I eat fish. And for dinner, it’s chicken once again. Not too exciting I know J. My diet definitely needs more variety and primarily more variety when it comes to fruits and veggies. I’m not a huge fan of salads, so I mostly blend my fruits and veggies in the form of a green juice or green smoothie #drinkyourgreens! I have also started snacking on more fruits like papaya and pineapples. I stick to snacking on tropical fruit because imported fruits like apples and pears are so expensive here. Buying berries is almost impossible for me because they are 3x the price of what you’d spend overseas. Still I make sure to get at least 2 servings of fruit along with my green juices.
The (slow) process
I’ve researched blogs, books, and vegans on YouTube and they all note one thing in common. It is a slow transition. I am grateful to hear this because if I don’t think I’d last for more than a couple of days if I was to go cold turkey.
Start with one meatless day a week
Many people start with “meatless Mondays.” I think this is a great idea because it takes the pressure off you having to eat meatless for the rest of the week (just in the beginning stages) I actually started doing this and I honestly feel lighter and less bloated on Mondays now. My day usually looks like this:
Fresh fruit bowl
Rice and beans
Salad with one whole avocado and papaya
Stock up on vegan staples
Having some vegan basics in your pantry will give you more incentive to eat those foods. Over the past few weeks I have been slowly stocking up on the following:
- Rice (white or brown)
- Quinoa (I recently bought this but haven’t cooked with it yet)
- Nuts (almonds, pecans, and cashews to snack on)
- Dried fruit
- Flax seeds and Chia seeds
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar (this is already a favorite of mine)
- Maple syrup
Slowly start substituting plant based products into your diet
For example, instead of using cow’s milk in my cereal, I now use almond milk. It took me a little while to get used to the taste but I now like it more than regular milk. I also want to start making my own almond milk as I heard that most store bought almond milk is mostly water and contains little nutritional value.
I also need to start substituting vegan alternative for eggs and butter. However, these are rather hard to find where I live.
Find easy recipes that you can make that taste great
It’s amazing how easy it is to find easy delicious vegan recipes online. YouTube has become my go to place to watch videos of vegan food being made. I bookmark the ones I find most appealing and type out the ingredients and directions so that when I’m ready to attempt cooking them I have all the info handy. Some of my favorite Youtuber’s are: Fab Lunch, Tess Begg, Annie Tarasova, and Jess Beautician. They all do these great “What I Eat in a Day” videos.
So with all these factors in mind, I have very very slowly begun the process to becoming vegan. I set a goal for myself that by the end of the year, I would be:
- cooking least 5 vegan meals a week
- limiting my meat intake to twice a week
- making my own almond milk
- eating NO eggs or other dairy products
I think these goals are all pretty fair and that I have given myself ample time to achieve them.
So wish me luck!! If any of you reading are vegans or transitioning to veganism I’d appreciate any advice you have to share. Write me a comment or shoot me an email.