There are a multitude of reasons why people decide to try veganism. It could be the numerous health benefits, stances on animal rights, a spiritual journey, for global warming reasons or so many other things. But just deciding to be a vegan and actually becoming a vegan are two completely different things. Being a vegan isn’t something you can do overnight. It takes a long time and a lot of hard work to eventually be able to claim that you are a real vegan. To help you out through your journey, here are five things that will help any vegan beginner.
The first step in becoming a vegan is to quit eating meat. When you do so, you have become a vegetarian. Quitting meat cold turkey is a difficult thing to do, especially if you’re used to eating hamburgers every day. The good news is that there are veggie alternatives to many of the foods you commonly eat. You can get veggie burgers, veggie hot dogs and even veggie chicken nuggets. By choosing to eat these substitutes, you still get to enjoy the foods you love without any meat.
Cutting out dairy is more difficult than cutting out meat to many. But it doesn’t have to be. If you love to drink milk with cookies or have corn flakes, you can still do that with either soy milk, almond milk or rice milk. As far as cheese goes, it’s not that simple. I’ve found cheese to be very addictive and it was the most difficult thing to give up. No cheese means no more pizza or even cheese on a vegan burger. There is such a thing as vegan cheese though, so make sure to look for it in the vegetarian section of your grocery store.
Vegans do not eat eggs. While some say eating eggs doesn’t harm a chicken, it still gives money to the people who kill them and you are contributing to keeping chickens locked in small cages. But if you thought just not buying a dozen eggs is all you need to do, you’d be wrong. You also have to look at the ingredients of what you eat to make sure it doesn’t contain eggs either.
Being vegan isn’t just about what you eat – it’s about what you wear as well. Vegans do not wear animal products such as anything with leather. That presents a problem if you have a leather purse or wallet and leather shoes. Vegans go even further though. They ensure their toothpaste, makeup and even perfume/cologne doesn’t either contain animal products or was tested on animals either.
At the beginning of your vegan journey you may be missing some vital nutrients in your system. You should be okay as long as you eat a wide variety of vegan meals. Examples of core foods of a vegan diet are: vegetables, fruits, grains, pasta, legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, and seaweed, and bread. However, just to be on the safe side, it’s important to take a multi vitamin. This way, you know you’re getting enough B-12, zinc, iron, calcium, etc.