Vegan for Dummies: How to Start Your Vegan Journey

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How to go vegan and start your journey of a meat-free diet.

Going vegan is actually pretty easy, as most of a vegan diet consists of fresh fruits and veggies, legumes, beans and grains. All of which, you no doubt already eat daily anyway.

Where people get lost along their vegan journey, is attempting replace meat with other protein rich foods on the first day or week.

And more often than not, most people trying to be vegan, will crash and burn after a few weeks due to the pressure of not eating any meat at all on the first week.

The key thing is, not to pressure yourself into going cold turkey from all animal products; whether that be meat or dairy-based – and start with small steps on your journey.

So, let’s go through a few things, to help you start your vegan journey.

Do your research:

Research the facts about being vegan and talk to either a nutritionist or dietician to determine how best to start your vegan journey. Many people starting out as vegans don’t realise how important some vital ingredients are in your daily diet; such as the iron from salmon or the protein from red meat.

And after a few weeks of being vegan, can find themselves being tired, angry or even over-emotional. Do your research and speak with a professional to work out the best diet plan.

Get support from other vegans:

There are many online forms and support groups of vegans, where you can chat with other vegans who are either starting out or have been vegan for year.

This is especially important if you are the only one of your friends or family going vegan, as you can feel isolated when starting out. Especially if your friends and family don’t understand why you are choosing to be vegan; whether ethically or for health. Gaining the support of others will help you stay motivated on your journey.

Start small when reducing meat from your diet:

Don’t cut all meat out on the first day. It’s best to start small and start introducing other replacements of protein and iron rich foods into your diet to see how you feel as you change your diet from meat to vegan.

Start by only eating red meat once or twice a week; or if you hardly eat that much anyways, then go fortnight. Maintain a healthy diet of chicken and fish; these should be the last meats to cut from your diet and slowly reduce those down to only once a week also.

Always pre-prep your food:

Prepping your food for the week; or at least for the next few days will ensure you maintain your transition into a vegan diet. If you leave it till last minute, you will be less inclined to stay on path with your vegan diet and more inclined to turn to a quick meat dish to satisfy your hunger.

A good way to start is making vegetables soups and curries with rice and freezing them. That way, you can focus on creating fresh ideas for breakfast and lunch and then when you get home, you’ll already have dinner sorted, to help you stay motivated.

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Rebecca Wilkinson

CONTRIBUTOR

Rebecca is a pescatarian, who may yet one day become a vegan. She loves all things health & travel with a weakness for coffee, and is often found scouring the city for the latest tastes in breakfast smoothie bowls. If you can't find her, or she's not answering her mobile - it's probably because she's hiding in a yoga studio, working on her zen.

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