How do I become a vegan? What do I have to look out for? If you want to become a vegan full time, you probably have this questions in your head. Below are some suggestions to help you get started. This is also applicable for those who want to become a vegetarian.
There are two ways to become a vegan:
1) Take the plunge and go vegan overnight, and do research on veganism later.
2) Do a gradual shift towards a vegan diet, and do research as you go along.
1) is better for the animals and planet, tougher on you, you can make some mistakes thinking a product is vegan at first, people can fall off this track easily when they cannot deal with the situations they face on a vegan lifestyle.
2) is easier for you, and have a slower effect on the animals and planet, it can make you complacent about when you will eventually go totally vegan and make you satisfied just eating vegan 70% of the time, it can show you some of the situations you will face eventually as a vegan.
Your choice which you choose. The goal is the same. I chose the second, and I really admire those who can do it the first way - overcoming the psychological barrier overnight.
Establishing the right reason for going vegan
This is the first most important step every vegan will take. A sound valid argument is what cause us to change our diet. Usually the top three reasons are for the animals, for the planet, for our health. Compassion for animals - this is what makes many vegans stay vegan. If you can firmly establish this reason in your heart, you are deeply rooted - this reason provides the strongest foundation for staying on a vegan diet later on. Next up is for the environment, and finally health. Health, weight, etc. these reasons can help you go vegan, but are not strong to keep you on a vegan diet. Try and establish the "right" reason at the start can help.
Research, research and more research
This is certainly a step which no vegan should miss. Read, watch and learn what it takes to go vegan. It is especially important to read up on nutrition and diet, because going vegan is not simply substituting meat and dairy for faux ones. It also includes introducing other plant foods into your diet as well as plant foods fortified with vitamin B12. As your body detoxifies and become more sensitive to "good" and "bad" foods as time goes along, research steps in for you to tweak your diet along the way, introduce new plant foods, and drop unhealthy food as necessary. Researching can also help you become good at label reading to know if the food or product is vegan. It can help you cook vegan. It can let you know where to find vegan items for your vegan grub or where to eat out.
Research on other issues like animal rights and the environment, poverty and hunger, can help you when you encounter situations which you have to explain why you went vegan and it's benefits. Be prepared to repeat this whenever you meet new people. Knowing these facts can also help you debunk the myths of veganism people will bring up.
How to quit meat and dairy the gradual way...
Many methods, I will put them up after I finished that page.
What to expect...
Life's definitely not going to be the same after you turned vegan. These are some of the things you may expect to encounter... but not always. Expect some inconveniences like making plans in advance, having to do your own cooking or settle for restricted menu in a non-vegan place. Expect to drop off the usual food items and introduce new food items into your diet. Expect questions from curious people about your lifestyle. Expect to make new vegetarian friends. Expect a new found happiness. Expect perhaps one of the best decisions you have made in life.
What if you can't stay a vegan...
Don't let the word "can't" stay in your head. You can. Read the page on "Staying vegan". Be creative and think of how you can go around any situation instead of focusing on the problem. Many situations can be avoided. Other situations will require planning in advance to deal with. While some others may require a bit of compromise (but not in the sense that you eat meat or dairy).
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