Many people who make yoga and meditation a part of their lifestyle, also become interested in becoming a vegetarian or vegan, if they are not already.
If you are a regular meat-eater, a slow transition into a vegan diet is often the recommended approach. This is because eliminating animal products from your life is usually more difficult than you imagine.
For example, think about the things you ate today that may contain animal products, let alone actual meat.
Did you have butter or anything with butter in it? What about dairy?
Was there milk or cheese in anything you ate today? What about eggs?
Milk and eggs are a common ingredient in something as simple as bread or pasta.
When you gradually transition to a vegan lifestyle you can slowly adapt to animal-free foods.
One complaint about transitioning to vegan is that it’s too unstructured. There’s no accountability.
The one meal at a time approach helps answer that challenge.
Let’s Start With a Vegan Breakfast
With the one-meal-at-a-time approach to a vegan lifestyle, you will start by eating a vegan breakfast. You’ll get rid of all animal products, including dairy and eggs, at this one meal.
Do this for two weeks.
Once you’ve mastered the vegan breakfast, you can add vegan lunch to your day. Some ideas for a vegan breakfast include smoothies, vegan muffins or waffles, and oatmeal.
Move on to a Vegan Lunch
After you’ve mastered the vegan breakfast and you’ve become accustomed to reading labels and planning your first meal of the day, you can tackle the vegan lunch.
Keep in mind that you need protein at each meal. Beans and nuts both offer protein. Try to create lunch menu items that make you feel satisfied and full.
This will prevent you from hitting the vending machine or eating junk food during the day.
After the vegan lunch has been established, and again, give it about two weeks before you tackle another meal, you can add vegan snacks to your day.
This is a bit easier because most people have vegan snacks anyway. You may have fruit or a snack mix to quiet midday hunger.
A Vegan Dinner Is the Main Change
Traditionally, dinner or supper is a meat-centric meal. You can approach the main meal of the day in one of two ways.
You can tackle it just like you did breakfast and lunch. Begin planning, preparing, and eating vegan dinners so you can become completely vegan at this point.
Or you can eat vegan, five or six dinners out of the week. If needed, you can leave one dinner each week for meat. Your approach to dinner depends on how you’re feeling, and your reasons for becoming vegan in the first place.
If you’re doing it for health purposes, then limit your meat eating as far as possible. If you’re doing it for moral reasons, then you’ll probably want to go completely vegan as quickly as possible.
Make the decision that’s best for you, and one you can follow.
Whether you slowly transition to a vegan diet or you go ‘cold turkey’, it’s important to understand why you’re going vegan and what your goals are.
Then you’ll be in a better position to make the best choice and decisions. It will also be easier to talk about your new lifestyle with others.
Remember to keep your end goal in mind, but be sure to go at your own pace.
Some people manage to go vegan overnight, and if that works for you, fantastic. But don’t be worried if you feel you need to take more time.
Like any lifestyle change, going vegan not only takes getting used to, but it takes time to determine how well it works for you. It’s not a one size fits all experience. You will need to take the time to read labels and learn about the different food brands.
Are you ready to do that?
It’s important now to speak about supplementation.
Are Supplements a Necessary Part of Being Vegan?
Many people who go vegan add supplements into their diet plan. And chances are if you talk to a health professional about going vegan, they’re going to definitely recommend a few supplements.
The fact is, that you don’t have to add supplements into your vegan diet if you paln out your eating. But you probably will.
Now there are a few essential nutrients that you just cannot get from plants. The biggest example of this is vitamin B12.
The only ways to get B12 in your diet are to eat meat and animal products, to supplement it, or to make sure that you get it through enriched products.
For example, soy milk is often enriched with vitamin B12. Fortified energy bars, nutritional yeast, and food made from wheat gluten all contain B12.
There are other nutrients that are harder to get on a vegan diet. They include calcium, iron, and protein. You have a choice. You can pay careful attention to your diet and the signals your body sends you, or you can supplement.
If You Choose to be a Vegan without Supplements
Talk to your health professional about how much iron, protein, calcium, and B12 you need to get daily These numbers will differ depending on your age, weight, gender, and overall health.
Be sure to keep track of those numbers. For example, know how much protein you eat at each meal and make sure it’s enough.
Know your body. Become aware of the signs and signals your body sends you when you’re low on essential nutrients. For example, fatigue or moodiness may be signs that you’re low on protein or iron.
If You Choose to add Supplements
Look for vegan supplements. Or at least vegetarian based supplements.
For example, omega-3 fatty acid supplements often come from fish. However, you can get vegan supplements with flaxseed oil.
Also, make sure that you’re getting what you pay for, and buy from a reputable source.
Whether you choose to supplement your vegan diet or not, is a personal choice.
If you’re going vegan for your health then it makes sense to ensure you’re getting the nutrients that you need to stay healthy. Way too many people have a ‘junk vegan’ diet
Don’t be afraid to ask and answer questions about your new vegan lifestyle, you will never stop learning.