Plant-based eating and veganism are all the rage right now but shifting eating habits can be tough at the best of times so here are my top 10 tips for going vegan - I was delighted to present these in person at the Just V Show in 2016. To get more tips and a month by month guide check out my new ebook available here.
#1 Keep an open mind
You'll be learning lots and your brain will be working over time to take in all the information that's available. Keep an open mind, learn about all the different schools of thought and take time to form your own opinions.
There's so much information out there. Find out more about what drives you to want make this change. Is it for your health? the environment? the animals? or perhaps it's a combination of all three. Check out films, books, websites, YouTube Channels and more. We have lots of super helpful resources available in our eBook here.
With so many groups and people out embarking on a similar journey or already on their journey there there's really no end of support no matter what your interests and drivers are. Check out MeetUp and Funzing for example and get talking to others, test your assumptions and ask questions - most people are only to happy to chat about their decisions and what drove them/keeps them vegan.
There's so much variety out there that there's really no reason to get bored. Most people immediately think about what they'll be cutting out, but instead quickly realise that they weren't taking advantage of all the amazing fruits, vegetables, grains and beans out there. Experimentation is key and with over 10,000 plants eaten across the globe think of this journey as one towards abundance rather than restriction.
#5 Get a repertoire of 10 recipes
Most people have 10 "go to" recipes, think about what yours are, switch in plant based equivalents where you can and take the opportunity to learn new ones. See my previous article (Sneaky Veg - Top tips for getting more veg on your plate) for some of my favourite recipe sites.
It's helpful to plan meals and snacks in advance, just until you get on your feet. Things will feel more natural as you go along and believe me it gets easier but the hardest thing is often coming up with meals when you're hungry NOW so planning in advance is a great way to keep you on track.
#7 Give up cheese
As an 'ex-cheese-a-holic' myself this was the toughest food for me to stop eating. Think of it like this though...the flavour profile of cheese is fatty and salty so try and switch in foods that give you the same type of hit e.g. avocados (fatty) and olives/capers (salty). Also, luckily for you there are now some great plant-based cheeses on the market and my favourite is Vegusto's No Moo Piquant.
#8 Give your taste buds time
Taste buds take about 21 days to completely regenerate and so let them adapt and even if you don't like something the first time, try going back and trying it again a few weeks later. Taste buds change so be patient.
#9 Don't judge
It's easy to judge others for their choices, especially if they don't align with yours. Remember that you didn't always think the way you do now and so go easy on people. Say your truth and say how it is for you but don't expect others to agree. Messages are much easier for people to take on board when they are non-judgmental and from the heart.
#10 Go easy on yourself
You might mess up from time to time but treat it as a learning experience - we can't be perfect because we live in an imperfect world. Do the best that you can and be happy that you are continually moving in the right direction.
I'd love to know how you get on - let me know and add any others tips you have down below.