So you’re thinking about living your life animal-free? Well, good for you! First, though, I do have to acknowledge that yes, it is easier said than done. It’s easier to say the word vegan than it is to actually be a vegan.
Being vegan takes extra work and effort. You have to read ingredient lists and, at first, you may be going without your favorite foods, too.
But that’s okay. The extra effort that you’ll have to take will be worth it because you have a good purpose for adopting a vegan lifestyle… You do have a good reason, right?
Having a good reason is the best part when it comes to longevity.
If you’re going vegan for your health, you can always think about the health benefits you’ll gain by eating more “cleanly.”
If you’re going vegan for the animals, you can think about the animals whose lives you’ll be saving by not eating them.
The same applies if you’re vegan for the environment, for the cost savings, etc.
As long as you have integrity then you’ll be able to keep your word to yourself.
For some people who don’t necessarily cook their own foods, thinking about becoming vegan can present a challenge. Particularly a “what am I going to eat” challenge. This is a particular can of worms that I have a lot to say. Not even about being vegan per se but the fact that I believe that everyone should be able to cook some foods.
Being able to cook is just a quality of life sort of thing. What kind of life are you living if you’re only consuming things that someone else made for you? Not only is that a waste of money, that also means that you are at the mercy of other people for one of the most important aspects of life – nutrition.
I find that preparing whole-food vegan foods is one of the simple types of foods to make. Vegetables and fruits are always super easy to make, season and eat.
Now, when it comes to reading ingredient lists, I have to say that it is much easier today than it was 20 years ago. I know this because I was reading ingredient lists 20 years ago. My mom had a health food store and I was always health conscious.
Foods today blatantly label their stuff as “VEGAN ã” And, I’m not a food snob so I find this to be a very pleasant evolution. Now, if you’re very serious about your health foods then you will probably read the label anyway.
I’m only moderately serious about my health foods so more likely than not, I only really check for the sugar content because I find that sugar is one of the most unhealthy things in modern foods.
Junk food vegans are fun to be around – they are open to all sorts new foods. A whole food vegan diet may be the healthiest but It’s also the least exciting as far as being in the food world goes. I don’t know if I’d call myself a junk food vegan per se but I do know that I enjoy all sorts of new foods.
CONFESSION: I get excited about all the new flavors of cereals, even if I’d never eat them anymore. For example, I’d never buy the new birthday cake fruit loops but the kid in me is still super excited about the new flavor!! I really do hope it tastes like all the birthday goodness in the world.
A true junk food vegan eats more banana flavored foods than they eat actual bananas. That’s not good. And keep it real – doing new things with whole fruits and vegetables is actually more exciting because that means you don’t have to go to the store to get some exciting variety of kale chips or whatever – you can make it at home.
Which is why no new vegan should become too dependent on veggie burgers and veggie chick’n nuggets, because when it comes down to it, those things are expensive and also and more importantly, you should be able to feel satisfied with a dinner that doesn’t involve highly processed soybeans or mycoprotein.
Now, if you wanna talk about soybeans, I think it’s okay every once and a while. It keeps things fresh. I think people complain about soy a lot because it’s an easy “fall guy”. You can point the finger at tofu and easily call it bad. But remember, when you point a finger, it is easily 3 more pointing back at you. So, maybe you should look at your diet and see if soy is really the worst thing that you can consume.
Anything highly processed should be eaten in moderation and that goes for everything.
For a new vegan, try everything that you can in the produce section. But don’t try to buy everything at once. Sometimes we think we have time to prepare extra squash and zucchini but in reality, it may start going bad because you got busy and forgot it was in the fridge. Don’t worry about it – it happens.
The same actually goes for bananas. But, I have a really easy recipe for banana bread if you need to get ride of some brown bananas quick, fast, and in a hurry.
So in conclusion, I think beginning vegans need to know:
- Junk food vegans should eat salad too
- Check the sugar content in processed foods
- Learn to prepare foods
- Enjoy a salad without drowning it in salad dressing
- Try your best to stay strong when someone offers you pizza or ice cream
- It’s better to cheat with a vegetarian meal than a carnivore meal
- Don’t feel bad about things that you can’t control
- Don’t let anyone make you feel bad when they say “but you had seafood last week”
- Keep your word to yourself
- When in doubt, drink some water first.
- Eat a balanced meal with lots of veggies, greens, beans, fruits, and even nuts
- Find an online community – they are literally everywhere on the internet. Including here!