Welcome to part one of the series “A Beginners Guide to Veganism”. In this series we will consider
1) Making the decision and sticking to it
2) The Vegan Shopper
3) Vegan Nutrition
4) Living in a Non-Vegan World
5) Common Misconceptions
6) Dining Out
7) Taking it Further
Part One – Making the Decision
The reasons people give for becoming vegan tend to fall into one or more of the following categories: ethical issues with causing suffering to animals, health benefits of a plant-based diet, concern for the environmental damage caused by the meat and dairy industry. I’m guessing that since you are here and reading this you have at least a passing interest in one or more of these issues.
Whatever your reason is for considering a plant-based future your first step is the same, do it.
Make a move
I’m a big believer that if you want to do something you should do it right away. Thinking about exercising? Jog around the block, now. Want to lose weight? Clear the junk out of your cupboards, now. If you want to do something but feel the need to work up to it then you are not really committed. So how do you turn vegan now? What is the first step? Simple. Go in to the kitchen and put together a dish that doesn’t contain an animal product – it is that simple. I don’t care if it is beans on dry toast or a basic salad, go and see what you can rustle up. Your aim is simply to act on your desire.
Enjoy and don’t worry
This doesn’t mean that you are going to swear off all animal products immediately but you are going to make a start. You are going to do something to reinforce that commitment. Over the first week or so do everything you can to avoid animal products. Start looking at vegan recipes – you could make a start here . Search the web and bookmark some favourite sites (starting with this one of course). For now don’t worry too much about nutrition. You aren’t going to drop down dead of a protein deficiency after a few days of a meat free diet and there is plenty of time to concern ourselves with iron and calcium rich foods. For the first week just enjoy exploring new possibilities.
Write it down and say it loud
Keep a journal of your first week transitioning to a vegan diet (this could be scribbled on the back of an envelope if you prefer, it is the writing down your thoughts that will help) and start by writing down your motivation for change. Each day write down one thing that you have done to help yourself move to a vegan diet. Along side this try and tell at least one other person that you are going to be moving towards a vegan lifestyle. Chose this person carefully. Tell someone who is going to be supportive and interested. Saying it out loud to someone will make the commitment more real and also mean that your actions will be accountable to someone else.
Get in the kitchen
Here’s a recipe to try sometime in your first week. It is simple, quick and delicious.
Mango and cashew nut stir-fry – Serves Two
1 block of firm smoked tofu
1 small red onion – finely sliced
1 red or orange pepper – finely sliced
5 mushrooms – finely sliced
Small head of brocoli – cut into florets
1/2 cup of cashew nuts
1 ripe mango – cubed
2 tbsp soy sauce
Juice of half a lime
2 cups of cooked rice
Thinly slice the tofu and fry on both sides until crispy. Set aside.
Fry the vegetables in hot oil for a couple of minutes before adding the cashew nuts and mango. Warm through and then add the soy sauce and lime juice. Mix in the cooked rice.
Shred the tofu and stir through the rest of the ingredients.
Told you it was simple.
So your first step in becoming a vegan is to make the decision and act in it. You are going to make a vegan dish, find some recipes and avoid animal products. You are going to write down how you get on and tell someone your goal.
Good luck getting started – in Part Two we will look at shopping as a vegan and start putting together a grocery list. Let me know in the comments below how you are getting on, or if you are already a vegan let me know what advice you would give someone starting out on their vegan journey.
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- I thank my Vegan diet for this. (vegtosterone.com)
- 12 Indulgent Foods That Are Actually Vegan (businessinsider.com)
- 10 Benefits of Going Vegan (ladylux.com)