Transitioning into a vegan life doesn’t need to be difficult! It’s actually easy when you follow a process that gradually eases you into veganism.
By transitioning into veganism gradually, it allows an adjustment period for you, your body, and your friends and family. Because it’s a slow transition time, you will notice improvements to your health, energy level, and well-being.
Here’s how to succeed when you’re transitioning into a vegan life.
1 – Mentally prepare for success
Set yourself up for success by visualizing success! It sounds corny but when you mentally prepare for success, it is far more likely that you will make a go of it.
Make a mental checklist of why you decided to become vegan. Is it to improve your health? Or, do you care about animal rights? Are you trying to reduce your environmental footprint? Whatever your reason, focus in on it.
This reason will also help you explain when people challenge or question your choices. Yes, vegans are looked at by some as slightly outside of the box. But that’s okay. It’s more fun out there!
2 – Doctor’s orders
Doctor appointments suck. However, an appointment with the doctor is essential when you’re making any drastic changes that affect your nutrition. Don’t ask…tell your doctor that you’re becoming vegan. Make sure that you don’t have any challenges that you need to work around when planning your vegan diet. Your doc may also refer you for nutritional counseling to make sure you’ll understand how to meet your dietary needs.
Request an exam and baseline tests. The doctor can document your blood sugar (A1C) and cholesterol (lipids) when you start to transition to vegan. This will give you documentation of just how healthy your vegan lifestyle is. I’m willing to be that when you return to the doctor for next year’s checkup, your physical health will have improved.
3 – Time to ramp up!
Once you’ve mentally prepared for your transition to vegan and the doc is on board, it’s time to ramp up!
Start off relatively small.
Eat a vegan diet three days a week for two weeks. Then go up to vegan meals four days a week for two weeks. Add a fifth day for two weeks, then a sixth and seventh day. This gives you roughly a 10 to 12-week time frame that you’re gradually changing over to vegan dining.
Your body will become accustomed to processing a plant-based diet gradually. You will be increasing your intake of fiber and decreasing unhealthy meat fats. Your tummy will thank you for this slow period of change. You may lose a little bit of weight, even if that’s not your goal! Also, you will begin to feel better with each passing day.
4 – Meal prep
One challenge that some vegans face is meal prep. A vegan lifestyle is not very conducive to fast food chains and good meal prep is a must!
Shop for fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Opt for whole-grains instead of white grains. This means choosing brown over white rice, whole-grain pasta over white flour pasta, and whole grain bread.
When you get home from the shopping, take the time to prepare your food before you put it away.
Wash and cut down fruits and veggies into small bites so you can quickly make veggie wraps, salads, or blend healthy smoothies. Cook a large batch of quinoa or brown rice to eat later in the week.
Vegan groceries can add up quickly! Use a vacuum sealer to store your prepared foods to extend their shelf life and reduce food waste.
5 – Gain support from your loved ones
While most of your family and friends may not want to become vegan along with you, it’s very important to gain support from your loved ones.
This is not to be confused with approval. You don’t need their approval to live your life. Your loved ones don’t need to like your choice. However, you need them to be supportive and understanding.
For example, they need to know that you may decline an invitation to shop for sheepskin boots or eat at a Brazilian steakhouse. Letting them know of your decision to change over to a vegan life in advance will eliminate the need to re-explain your decisions later on.
The easiest way to gain support from your loved ones is to ask for it. Simple. You may be surprised at just how curious people are about the vegan lifestyle.
In conclusion, the transition into a vegan life is a slow and conscientious process. It will take you several weeks to make these changes that will ultimately help you reach your goal of becoming 100% vegan.
Author Bio: Nicole Vidmar is a graphic artist and the editor of My Kitchen Adviser. She’s a busy mom of two who loves to share her joy of cooking and food with others.