While only a small percentage of people throughout the world are full-time vegans, interest in the concept and diet is rising faster than any time in history. The fact that you are reading an article on Vegaprocity right now means you are one of the curious. I congratulate you on your courageous voyage towards truth and healthy living. To aid your quest, let me offer you encouragement that your initial struggle will be worth it as you begin to feel healthier, lighter and happier with your lifestyle. Here are some emotions and thoughts you may experience going vegan in week one:
Tips for your first week
Day One: Feeling nervous, overwhelmed and starved.
Tip: Plan ahead – grocery shop and compile a list of recipes to begin your delicious journey with.
Day Two: Feeling like a “hangry” caveman-monster-villain.
Tip: Do not force yourself to go hungry; listen to your body and stock up on healthy, fiber-filled snacks.
Day Three: Had a dream and you (steak), you (omelet) and you (Swiss cheese) were there.
Tip: Make sure you are getting enough protein; eat plenty of chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds.
Day Four: Feeling more satiated but kind of tired and drained.
Tip: Mind your Bs and Qs. To ensure adequate Vitamin B in your diet, look for foods fortified with Vitamin B or yeast extract.
Day Five: Feeling hopeful and thinking about food less often.
Tip: Check out the restaurant menu online before eating out to plan your vegan options. You can also call ahead if you have additional questions.
Day Six: Feeling encouraged and energized.
Tip: Mind your iron levels – incorporate spinach, green peas, beans and chickpeas into your diet.
Day Seven: Feeling lighter, healthier and happier.
Tip: Be adaptable and flexible with your diet while you figure out a balanced approach that works for you.
Now that you have made it through week one, you can scale it up! And if you did not quite make it, no need to be too hard on yourself; tomorrow is a new day. There are plenty of vegan support and meet-up groups (online if none are available locally) where you can connect with other veg-heads to share tips, experiences, good food and company.
Tips for continuing success
So now that you made it through your first week, a full congratulation is in order. You may be feeling fabulous and deciding that you want this lifestyle to stick. Here are a few tips to consider in the coming weeks:
- Wean yourself off of the additive-filled “fad” vegan foods (e.g., fake meats). Although these foods are okay in moderation, foods as close to their natural state as possible are much better for your body.
- Monitor and maintain your protein, iron and zinc levels. As mentioned above, these are your keys to feeling good and maintaining health.
- Beware of your fat and sugar intake – just because it is technically vegan does not mean it is healthy (the idea of a “junk food vegan”).
- Beware of foods that seem vegan but are not.
- Do anticipate social repercussions and pressure. People will have questions and snide comments. See these articles about the annoying things people say to vegans and how to respond and the annoying things vegans say to meat eaters and what you can say instead.
- You may want to invest in a vegan cooking class. Not only are cooking classes fun and you will get to mingle with other vegan chefs, you will learn the new skill of putting a balanced vegan meal together.
- Lastly, be kind to yourself (and others) and appreciate the wonderful choice you have made for a healthier you!