I understand that it’s a little scary when you decide to make such a change in your life. First I want to congratulate you on making a healthier choice for yourself. Remember to keep an open mind! Being a vegan is not a punishment it’s a great way to improve your health, be cruelty-free and protect the environment since you will be using less land and water to feed yourself. Here are some tips that I would like to share with you on your new journey:
1) I suggest to take your time so as to not get discouraged. Reduce your amount of meat, fish, and dairy products slowly over a few months. As time goes by you will see that you will start craving healthier options.
2) Replace animal products with plant-based proteins such as quinoa, nuts, seeds, hummus and pita, rice and beans, and peanut butter sandwiches for example, cheese with ‘faux-cheese’ (I like Daiya. They also have a great Mac & Cheese), or cashew cheese; milk with almond/coconut/soy/rice/cashew/hemp milk . Some of these can be found in most grocery stores but I do visit health food stores for more choices.
3) Stock your pantry and fridge with beans, potatoes, quinoa, rice, egg-free pasta, bread, bagels, leafy grains such as kale, spinach and collards, lots of fruits and vegetables, spices, seeds, sprouts, peanut and nut spreads.
4) Vitamin B12 can only be found in non-vegan foods therefore it is important to take a VitB12 supplement. I like to start my day with a vegan shake. I use coconut/almond milk, frozen berries and a vegan protein powder so I get 20 grams of plant-based protein, 22 essential vitamins and minerals (30% of VitB12), and a good source of fiber. You can make your own recipes – it tastes great and it’s a simple way to get lots of nutrition. Beware not all vegan powders are the same. I use the Arbonne Meal Replacement because its very nutritious and I find it’s the best tasting also, the price is very reasonable.
5) Buy locally grown fruits and vegetables. I live in Montreal so obviously we only have fresh fruits and veggies in the summer. I found an online site called Lufa Farms where they grow fruits and vegetables in greenhouses around the city. It’s an eco-friendly solution and they have lots of other vegan goodies on their site.
7) To help you to not get discouraged I suggest joining vegan groups on-line (on Facebook for example) so you can make new vegan friends that share the same values and you can exchange ideas and recipes.
8) Buy in bulk as much as you can. It’s cheaper and the packaging is more eco-friendly.
9) Check for hidden animal ingredients such as in mayonnaise (There is vegannaise that you can buy), butter (Earth Balance has a vegan butter, Becel has a vegan margarine), and chicken broth based soups for example.
10) Dine out! You can google Vegan Restaurants and you’ll be surprised how many there are! Also many restaurants now have vegan options so don’t be shy to ask. I find there are lots of vegan choices in Indian and Mexican restaurants. We even have a vegan sushi restaurant here in Montreal and it is the bomb!!
11) Enjoy the results! You will find that your hair and skin will look healthier and that you’ll have lots of energy throughout the day. It’s also a great way to lose weight and to keep it off. Also your chances of having diabetes, coronary heart problems, cancer, and arthritis will be greatly diminished.
12) Don’t be a junk food vegan. Eating fries and onion rings in fast food restaurants might be vegan but it’s not very healthy.
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