So we’re still early in January and some of you may have heard of #Veganuary- the challenge some people are embracing to go vegan for the entire month of January.
But even if it weren’t Veganuary, I’d still want to share some advice on going vegan- for those who want to try it for a week, a month, a year or a lifetime.
A lot of you message me with questions, so thought I would put this blog post out to answer other curious cats (but you can still message me with any questions if you want) 🙂
First things first, I think we should address the many shades of Veganism.
While ALL forms of veganism do help reduce animal cruelty and by extension- negative environmental impacts on the planet- going vegan does not always equal healthy.
French fries are vegan. Oreos are vegan. Processed faux-meats (PACKED with artifical preservatives) and granola bars (LOADED with sugar) are also vegan. You can eat all these things everyday and be vegan and somewhat help save the planet… but you might not feel at your best.
I want you to feel GOOD– that’s why I’m sharing this advice. If you want to go vegan, plant-based vegan is the way to go. Which means: eating as much natural, nutrient-dense foods as possible. Think about it as a new way of celebrating & consuming food, and loving your body as much as you can. You only live once- so you might as well live it feeling vibrantly healthy.
OK- now that we got that out of the way…
There is no one “right” way to transition to vegan. Please do not let anyone put you on a guilt trip because “you’re doing it wrong”- there is no such thing. Our bodies and personal stories are each different in a unique way. For some, going cold-turkey will work, for others, it will have to be a gradual transition. From what I hear, it seems that most people have the toughest time dropping dairy… but others can’t fathom the idea of giving up fish.
There really is no one rule. If you choose to go vegan because someone told you so in a dream- well you know what, that’s PERFECTLY FINE. Just START and just DO IT. And don’t give up if you don’t get it right from the first time- just keep doing.
My story is different from yours- and that’s how it should be. The point is to START. So start in a way that suits YOU, but please I encourage you to go as plant-based as possible.
Eat as much vegetables, fruits, legumes, complex carbs, grains & healthy fats as you can. You can see a list of what to stock up in your kitchen on my previous post, here.
Do it for your health so you can feel GOOD.
If you go on an Oreo & french fries vegan diet- you will NOT feel good.
Alternatively, if you live off of lettuce leaves- you will also NOT feel good.
The goal here is to FEEL GOOD. #MissionPossible
I’m sure by now, you’ve probably heard of all these perks that come with the vegan life.
The matter of the fact is that veganism comes with a ton of perks (plant-based veganism, that is). Here are some that I personally experienced, that I hear from vegan friends around me and some that are documented and that are well known facts.
- Your energy levels will go through the roof- this was definitely the #1 thing I noticed with my transition. I had way more energy than ever before and I saw it mostly in my day to day energy levels but especially in my runs- I could run longer and faster.
- Your skin will clear up- the way our skin looks reflects a lot about what we are putting into our body. I don’t know about you… but I’ve rarely met a plant-based vegan with bad skin.
- You will save shxt loads of money (part 1)- yes, smart plant-based vegan will save you money. Buy local, in season and explore the million and one ways to use legumes. If quinoa is expensive where you live- you don’t HAVE to buy quinoa. There are other alternatives- there is ALWAYS another option. You’ll save even more if you can cook (I have a ton of easy, nutritious & flavourful recipes on this blog).
- You’ll save shxt loads of money AND time (part 2)- yes, there’s a part 2 to this benefit 🙂 While this is personal, I have noticed I get sick a whole lot less since I became plant-based vegan. That means I’ve saved significant time from going to the doctors and money on medication. Be careful to not confuse what I’m saying though: I’m not saying I NEVER get sick. I’m saying I get SIGNIFICANTLY less sick than before. And by significantly, I mean significantly.
- You can taste EVERYTHING- as someone who likes to cook, this is probably my favourite thing about going vegan. While some of y’all are OK eating raw blood and eggs and stuff, that’s not the case for many. So now when I cook, I can taste everything as I go- I don’t have to wonder what my food will taste like- I can taste it while I’m preparing it.
- Better body odor & breath- this is another plus and that I noticed (not that I ever smelled bad lol). But morning breath is waaaaaay more pleasant on a plant-based vegan diet. All that meat and dairy doesn’t smell so nice when it’s sitting in your body.
- PMS gets a little better- while I’m not saying PMS will forever disappear, but it can improve by eating a plant-based diet that contains minimal processed food, sugar and dairy especially. Hyper processed foods and dairy add a lot of unnecessary PMS pain. Cactus pads are also beneficial in reducing pain- it worked for me and there’s no harm in giving it a try.
- You might lose weight- but you might not either. That’s not the point, veganism is not strictly for vanity. If you want to lose weight, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s great too. Losing weight is more about calories in & out at the end of the day. A bucket of cashews aren’t going to make you lose weight.
- Some food addictions may become a thing of the past- if you were once addicted to sugar (which was totally my case), eating a nutritious, plant-based diet will help you cut the addiction. It will take time, but it WILL happen. When your body is getting good quality nutrients, addictions to sugar salt or fat are no longer relevant. These addictions sometimes form when you’re eating a crap diet (or when you’re not eating enough- on purpose).
- No unnecessary drama in your life- AMEN! Mad cow disease, salmonella, mercury infested fish and hormone consumption no longer apply to you!
- You won’t lose your social life- eating out is not hard when you’re vegan, even if you live in a country that doesn’t cater much to vegans. There will ALWAYS be a vegetable side dish or a pasta dish on the menu (or something along those lines). I’m sure that by politely asking the waiter to adapt to your diet, the restaurant can fix something up for you. And if they don’t, they really just lost a customer. So it’s their loss, not yours.
- And obviously… everything that you’ve heard before meaning:
- Saving more animals so we won’t run out of fish by 2050 (just one example)
- Reducing animal agriculture = reducing the impact of climate change, rainforest destruction, and pollution, while saving water and other precious resources.
- Lifestyle induced disease prevention (when eating a PLANT-BASED diet)
- Fewer acts of violence: less killing = less cruelty on this planet
- And all the other good stuff that I won’t repeat because I know you’ve either seen it on a Netflix documentary or you’ve read about it online.
What’s important though is that none of these changes will happen overnight. What’s important is to set the right expectations. Changes WILL happen, and when they do, they’ll stick with you for a very long time 🙂
If you’re reading this now, my guess is you have some level of awareness or curiosity around living a more conscious, sustainable lifestyle.
Veganism is, in my opinion, not just a diet- it’s a new way of living. I think we can all agree that we’re starting to notice that if we don’t do something right now, this planet is going to end up being a shxthole. Veganism means that each and everyone one of us are empowered to have a positive impact on this planet: for our generation and the future ones. And yes, those things matter in this time & age. Going vegan means:
- 1,100 gallons of water saved in 1 day
- +/- 365 animal lives saved in 1 year
- 600 lbs of CO2 saved in 1 month
- 200 sq feet of forest preserved in 1 week
This blog post is by no means telling you to go vegan- it’s for those who are curious about it and want to learn more. At the end of the day, we can never force anyone to do something that makes them uncomfortable. You can only inspire- but my gut feeling tells me that THIS generation is empowered, informed and ready to do great things in this world!
Thank you for taking the time to read this- I know we sometimes say the internet has created a serious short-attention span. But I know that’s not the case for everyone 🙂
Lots of hugs and see you here or on Instagram.
* Also real important: vegans are not “superior” to other humans. I’ve met some really nasty vegans in my life- and just as many awesome vegans too.