Going Vegan in 5 Easy Steps

As I mentioned in my last post, it took me several months to make the transition to a vegan diet. While there is no one right way, it’s reasonable to allow yourself some time to reach your goal, too. While everyone’s situation is different, below are a few suggestions that may help:

1. Assuming you are determined to improve your health by adopting a vegan diet (have I mentioned The China Study enough yet?), you may want to savor your favorite foods one last time. Use the opportunity to celebrate and make your final taste of that food  a memorable occasion. You can even take photos.
2. Start to try to incorporate vegan products, such as non-dairy milks or soy, into your diet. I started ordering cafe lattes prepared with soymilk instead of dairy milk. To be honest, I  hated it at first (thought it a waste of perfectly good espresso–and what’s worse–cost extra, too!) I also replaced my traditional breakfast yogurt with Bob’s 5-Grain hot cereal.
3. Order vegan cookbooks that match your particular ethnic tastes (some of my favorites are highlighted on this site), and pick up any ingredients you need to prepare them. Don’t worry about the cost, and try out as many recipes as you need to find something you enjoy, or at least feel you could in time.
4. Start eliminating one category of animal food little-by-little. In my case, I cut out red meat and chicken, but kept eating fish and dairy occasionally (sushi and cheese were the hardest things for me to give up). I still had a lot of cheese in the refrigerator, and I thought there were no substitutes for eggs.
5. Eventually, begin to avoid eating animal products whenever practical. However, you don’t have to have a heart attack if you learn a dish you’re eating has a trace of meat (or dairy product).  This is a benefit of becoming a vegan for health, rather than ethical, reasons.

Remember, you may lose weight at first on a vegan diet, but it will return (if you desire) once you discover vegan versions of your favorite foods. Vegan diets are generally healthier than animal diets, but it depends on the quality of ingredients and how they are prepared. For example, whole grain breads and pastas (complex carbohydrates) are much healthier choices than non whole-grain products. And oily, overly sweet, or processed foods should also be avoided, whether vegan or not.

As always, I look forward to your feedback and welcome any suggestions for making this site more useful.

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