How to Go Vegan: 7 Easy Steps to a Kinder, Plant-based Lifestyle by Sara Saidy
Going vegan is a process and for most people it doesn’t happen overnight. And that’s OK. I recommend taking it slow and having fun with it! Here are some tips and suggestions to help you get started:
- Start by cutting meat out one or two days a week and then gradually increase the number of days where you don’t eat meat, chicken or fish. Tempeh, tofu, seitan and jackfruit are great substitutions for meat. Avoid processed faux meats. My favorite is tempeh – a superfood made with fermented soy beans that can replace meat in most recipes.
- Consider replacing dairy with non-dairy products. There are so many great options such as rice milk, soy milk, oat milk, coconut milk and, of course, nut milk and cheeses. I love an almond latte any time of the day! Some of the vegan cheeses on the market are highly processed. Look for nut cheeses with fewer ingredients and preferably made from almonds. Miyoko’s and Kite Hill brands have a variety of healthy nut-based cheeses.
- Consider replacing butter and processed oils with unrefined extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. There are also a number of healthy plant-based butters such as Miyoko’s and Earth Balance.
- All you workout enthusiasts, read the labels on your sports’ drinks and/or protein shakes. They are generally full of fillers and whey protein. Consider healthier plant-based options such as pumpkin seed protein and pea protein.
- Next time you want to buy shoes, belts or purses, consider faux (synthetic) leather or fabric. There are a number of high-quality brands that make non-leather shoes and accessories.
- When you’re looking to add to your wardrobe, pay attention to the material that it’s made from. Avoid silk, wool and cashmere. There are many other options such as organic cotton.
- Look for cosmetic brands that only use plant-based ingredients. They are generally cleaner (contain fewer toxic chemicals). Look for the PETA and Leaping Bunny logos on the packaging. This means that they don’t do any animal testing.
And don’t forget to be KINDer to yourself. It’s OK if you fall off the wagon. It’s OK if you cheat sometimes. Remember it’s about progress not perfection! The best part is that once you start incorporating these ideas into your lifestyle, a shift starts to happen. You will feel healthier with more energy, you’ll start to lose weight, you will save money (meat is expensive!) and much more.
The most valuable shift, however, is the one that happens inside of you. Once you start living a more conscious lifestyle – one that is KIND to you, to animals and to the planet – you will ignite a light inside of you that will illuminate everyone and everything that crosses your path. So, go ahead, give it a try. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.
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