Being vegan is now mainstream. No longer is it an awkward dietary requirement reserved for animal rights activists, it’s a healthy way of life. Abstaining from animal products and by-products includes staying away from meat and dairy but also, avoiding health and beauty products which contain beeswax and gelatin. If you’re thinking about giving up meat and animal by-products for good, here’s everything you need to know before you do it.
Here at Selfish Darling, we always aim to impartially inform. For some people, going vegan is the right decision but for others, keeping a healthy lifestyle that includes meat and dairy is right for them. Just make sure you always seek medical advice before making drastic dietary changes and try not to completely cut out any food group from your diet.
Going vegan isn’t easy
You can’t go vegan over night! As much as you think it’s a matter of willpower, it’s not. If you’re a heavy consumer of meat and dairy, going completely cold turkey (or tofu) is going to be extremely tough. Experts suggest to cut down slowly – try going vegan one day a week and then build it up from there. As they say, it takes 21 days to form a habit so take your time and you’ll get there eventually.
It might not agree with your body type
Some body types really don’t agree with meat, fish or dairy products in general. Your body does a great job of telling you what it agrees with so you’ll know yourself what you’re comfortable with eating. It may also be the case that your body feels better having meat and fish regularly as part of your diet so going vegan might not be the most comfortable. In that case, you could try the reducing approach. Instead of cutting it out completely, cut it by a half.
It is great for the environment
You might not being going vegan for this as the primary reason, but it’s definitely an excellent benefit to veganism. Providing you make sure your vegan produce is locally sourced, cutting out meat will save a lot on imports, exports and animal farming. Although this would take a lot of man power and a complete change in world society, can you imagine the positive impact that eating only locally sourced veg could have?
You can still eat what you want!
Like we said, a plant-based diet is just as catered for as any other dietary requirement these days, especially in the West. There are so many wonderful food options for veganism; you won’t just forever be eating tofu and broccoli for the rest of your life. With vegan alternatives, and getting creative with ingredients, it’s likely that you won’t miss a thing.
You will need a lot of protein
As someone who eats all foods, a lot of the protein we consume comes from meat, fish and eggs. You still need a lot of protein in your diet so knowing the alternatives is key. Soy, quinoa, beans and legumes are all delicious alternatives that will provide you with just as much protein.
You don’t have to stop eating burgers
If you know you’ll be the sort of vegan who’s guilty pleasure is meat, don’t let that put you off. Recent technology has managed to create a type of meat substitute (known as meat analogue) that actually bleeds as a beef burger would. If this completely grosses you out, there are so many different burger options that aren’t just made of mushroom like traditional vegan options. Vegan food can be dirty too!
You may need to take supplements
Always check with a medical professional but the most common things you may need supplements for are calcium, zinc, Vitamin D and B12 and iron. Of course, it doesn’t mean everyone will need supplements on a plant-based diet – it can be just as nourishing and wholesome providing you eat a wide variety of varied food from every food group.