Updated: Oct 15, 2019
Whether it’s for your health, because you’ve recently become aware of how exactly the meat on your dinner plate is made, or you’re concerned for your planet, a lot of people are starting to join in on the movement. Time after time, numbers have shown that the mass production of the meat and dairy industry are affecting our everyday lives and numbers don’t lie. It’s because of this that I have found myself encouraging everyone in my circle to try going vegan and of course with this comes a million questions on how best to go about making this life changing transition.
I was a vegetarian for about 3 years before transitioning and have been vegan for about 4 years now, however i would like to mention that I am not a licensed nutritionist and I can only share with you what has been helpful and worked for me.
Although the way I transitioned was slow and doubtful, I have friends who were able to quit cold turkey and have never looked back. I also have a lot more friends who have tried quitting cold turkey and after a week they found themselves back in the meat business. That being said, if you feel like you’re disciplined enough to quit cold turkey then go for it, but if you’re approaching this with a doubtful mind already then I 100% recommend you try going down the list of “diets” before getting to your goal.
A great example of this is my Fiancee. When he and I met he was not aware of anything going on in the meat/ dairy industry, as most people are, but after a couple of weeks dating he became curious and finally asked “why?”. Of course my happy ass quickly went over to Netflix and played Cowspiracy and Forks over Knives for him. After watching he explained to me that it was crazy because he was technically aware of the issues, because as a grown ass man he knew we had to kill animals in order to eat them, but I believe what shocked him was how desensitized he had been his entire life to the things he was already aware of. You too will find that in your own journey of discovery the rose colored glasses will come off and you’ll start to see everything for exactly how it and not only that- but also how wrong it all is.
A month or so after educating himself more on the industry, he decided he couldn’t go back and so he started by cutting off red meat, then it was cutting off chicken, seafood, and suddenly here he was- a herbivore. Although I’d love to take all the credit; it was his desire to learn more and change his life that did it. If the desire is not there then chances are you might find yourself in a Mcdonald’s drive through ordering 3 cheeseburgers again. If starting off by having Meatless Mondays feels more comfortable for you then please do so! This journey is for you to enjoy and any little change can develop into a lifestyle.
Alright so you’ve made it this far and you’re still sure you really want to do this, how do you begin? What do you eat? Most importantly, how will you get enough protein?
Well fear not friends because baddie Mother Nature has provided us with about 20,000 different types of vegetables, about 21 different types of grains, 4 categories of lentils, and around 2,000 diff types of fruits.
Hard to believe with all this we’re still out here consuming animal corpses right?
We have to stay realistic about how far away from your old eating habits you’re comfortable with being. I am from Costa Rica, and like many other Latin countries, all my meals already consist of rice with different types of beans, maybe a side of avocado, sliced tomatoes, lemon juice, & meat. Easy enough to turn this vegan right? Swap out your steak or chicken for a plant based meat substitution. Some amazing brands are Gardien, Quorn, Boca, Field roast, and Earth Grown Vegan. All of these offer a variety of “mock meat” like chicken tenders, chicken patties, sausages, burger patties, fish fillets, and the list goes on. However, keep in mind that this is all still processed food and therefore can be pricey. If you’re looking to eat cleaner then I suggest trying to stay away from meat replacements and instead trying out different types of veggies. An easy way to stick to the entire process is by doing groceries based off things you feel like you will actually eat. If you live with your family you could request for specific veggies to be bought, or do groceries for yourself. When I was living with my family I found it easier to get my own groceries and store them in my own mini fridge, now that I’ve moved out it’s obviously a lot easier but either way is still doable.
So, what are some of your favorite veggies?
Mine are broccoli, spinach, carrots, green peppers, red peppers, orange peppers, zucchini, squash, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and my biggest one, Avocado. All of these are pretty easy to pair up with some rice (any type), some beans ( any type), some grains (any type), and a meat replacement (optional), and now you have a full vegan meal. Side note: Veggies are delicious and just like meat, when seasoned right, it will taste scrumptious! Some veggies are the seasoning itself, but for those that aren’t some sautéed onions & garlic will just about do it for anything.
If you’re not much of a cook maybe you’re interested in less of groceries and more vegan options when eating out. That’s not very hard either. Chipotle is probably one of the easiest to veganise being that they have “sofritas” which are soy based plant protein- pair that up with some rice, beans, fried veggies, corn, pico de Gallo, guacamole, lettuce, and you’ll have another vegan meal. Popular chain restaurants that can offer these options include Taco Bell, Moe’s, Del Taco, and so on.
Most restaurants offer vegetarian options that you can add sides to if you feel that wouldn’t be fulfilling enough. Remember you’re quitting the main way you’re used to gaining protein so in order to replace that you might have to consume about double the amount of food you used to.
Those are the main steps I took to become vegan, and the biggest thing is consistency. If you feel like you might want to go back to eating meat then I recommend investing in those mock meats to help you transition. Nonetheless, even going vegan for meatless Mondays is a huge step forward so don’t pressure yourself into thinking that you have to quit cold turkey.
Take this one step at a time and enjoy your process, your body and the earth will thank you.