Like many things in life, the only way to start being a vegan is to begin. It won’t happen to you; you must make the necessary changes to become one. So if you’re wondering where to start, out, ‘how do I start being a vegan‘ guide will take you step by step through what you need to know.
Understand Your Why
Going vegan is a major life change.
It doesn’t just require a change to your entire outlook on food, food sources, the ingredients to use, and how to prepare them, otherwise, you are just a dietary vegan, and not a true vegan.
Vegans also look more broadly at anything animal-related, animal byproduct-related, etc. Leather shoes, suede jackets, and a host of other products now become a no-no for vegans.
Otherwise, it can seem hypocritical to you and others.
With all the major life changes, it seems like a good idea at the time… But we often ignore the work that’s involved in getting there.
Just going to the store and picking out vegan-friendly produce requires far more thought.
Coming home with new ingredients and learning to make different meals from these raw ingredients is tough.
Knowing why you’re becoming a vegan is extremely important.
The why of it all provides the confidence and consistency when you’d otherwise begin to waver.
Perseverance is required and knowing your why or whys (even better!) allows you to endure the difficult moments and sometimes, harder days to come.
A high percentage of former vegans quit the vegan lifestyle later, so knowing your reasons for sticking with it is critical to maintaining it for a lifetime.
Eating vegan may be because you love animals and cannot face the idea of consuming animal meat any longer. Vegetarianism isn’t enough for you because it still involves consuming some foods that you disagree with.
If eating vegan is the primary motivator, make it a point to master the foods that you can and cannot eat. Know how to turn them into a healthy meal.
Avoid eating vegan TV dinners, preprepared vegan foods, and other quick solutions. Fast food diets as a vegan are just as possible as for non-vegans.
Processed vegan foods are usually higher in sodium, and fats and remove complete control over what goes into your body.
The vegan lifestyle can seem fashionable or cool. But like with puppies, it’s not only for Christmas, (or Veganuary!).
You’ll need to look at everything currently owned, and what you usually buy. Then remove anything that involves animals, animal byproducts, or similar. Other adjustments will have to be made, such as learning to shop sustainable fashion.
Some people will find it difficult to invite you over because of your new lifestyle.
They’ll feel left out of the change and not know how to treat you. That may include old friends too. Meeting and hanging out with other vegans will help you to feel comfortable with your vegan lifestyle.
Start By Meat-Free Mondays
Starting slow rather than a complete overhaul of your weekly eating plan is one approach to take.
Planning and executing new meals for one day a week is far less challenging.
It creates less of a hurdle when shopping for vegan food too. You don’t end up stuck in a supermarket aisle completely confused!
Research a Health Vegan Meal Plan
Read up on what makes a healthy vegan meal plan. From this reading, you’ll find dishes that you can replicate and later master.
For example, maybe you make great spaghetti?
Finding a meat alternative in minced form won’t be difficult. The pasta is already vegan anyway.
The tomatoes too. You could make a vegetable-based sauce to go with it or purchase a vegan spaghetti pasta sauce instead.
Once you’ve successfully prepared a new vegan version of an old favorite, repeat the process with other favorite dishes.
This is better than trying to create completely new foods that you’ve never made before and increases your confidence that “I can do this!”
Gradually build out a roster of meals that you’re confident in making.
You’re beginning to gather up a list of weekly ingredients to purchase. From there, you’ll hit your stride. Then expand out to new, exciting vegan dishes that you’ve never thought of before and are uniquely vegan only.
That’s when you can let your creativity flow.
Evaluate Your Lifestyle
Your current lifestyle needs a thorough reexamination.
Consider clothing and footwear as a place to start. Leather shoes and leather boots are out. You’ll need to replace them with vegan footwear.
You’d be amazed how many non-vegan clothing items are in your wardrobes too. They’ll also need to be replaced with vegan clothing using fabrics that have no connection to animals.
Fortunately, there are an increasing number of them and many vegan clothing brands to embrace now too.
Other aspects of the vegan lifestyle will need consideration. Many vegans become animal rights activists or more environmentally conscious.
By changing the lifestyle either all at once or bit by bit, you get to walk the talk, so to speak.
A complete conversion to a fully vegan lifestyle might take longer than you realize. It will amaze you how many animal byproducts are in everyday items.
Discovering what to avoid when shopping takes time because it’s not a small number. So, go one step at a time. Start with what you eat, and move on to what you currently own, and then future purchases. Don’t worry. You’ll get there.