Last Updated on March 14, 2021 by admin
Going on a vegetarian diet has been one of the best decisions you’ve ever made for your health. You feel more energetic, you’ve lost some weight, and you’re happy knowing you’re helping your heart by warding off heart disease. After a few years of successful vegetarianism, you’re thinking you’d like to change your diet one more time and become a vegan. Is it that hard to switch to a vegan diet? How do you do it?
Here are some tips for switching from vegetarianism to veganism:
- Try vegan foods while still a vegetarian
- Give up food groups one at a time
- Do it with a friend or family member
- Find vegan recipes that get you excited
- Have a support group for the tough days
Ahead, we’ll elaborate on each of these 5 great tips so you can transition from vegetarian to vegan in a way that’s safe, healthy, and–very importantly–enjoyable! Keep reading, as you’re definitely not going to want to miss this.
5 Tips for Going from Vegetarian to Vegan
Begin Incorporating More Vegan Foods into Your Vegetarian Diet
Even though you haven’t transitioned into full-time veganism yet, once you’re sure that’s what you want to do, then begin adding more vegan foods to your vegetarian diet. For instance, try a cheese substitute or plant-based milk such as soymilk. Begin shopping for foods like vegan honey, butter, or ice cream.
Take things a step further and do your research, looking into less obvious ingredients that make a food vegan or not vegan. For example, did you know Oreos are vegan? Yet beer isn’t to some vegans, as it contains isinglass made from fish bladders.
Having to change your shopping and eating habits is one of the biggest obstacles to the vegan diet. If you start eating like a vegan while you’re still technically a vegetarian, making the switch won’t be so jarring.
Cut One Food Group at a Time
You know quite well that vegetarians don’t eat meat, poultry, or fish. Vegans omit all that as well as dairy, honey, eggs, and other animal products and byproducts.
Remember how hard it was for you to give up meat when you first became a vegetarian? You don’t like to think about it, but you were craving juicy cheeseburgers and fresh filet mignons for a while after changing your diet. Those cravings faded, but the first few days or weeks were hard.
Make the transition from vegetarianism to veganism easier by omitting one food group from your diet at a time. Our recommendation? Start with dairy, as that’s the big one. See if you can go for a month without eating cheese. Then challenge yourself to do the same with eggs.
If you can go through your life cheese-free or egg-free, then starting your vegan diet should be a cinch. You can of course use vegan versions or substitutes for these foods, so don’t worry, no one’s telling you to give them up forever!
Go Vegan with a Loved One or Friend
You’re painfully aware that vegetarianism can be an isolating experience. When you go out to eat with your friends at a restaurant, you can’t have a chicken breast or a meatball sub or a salmon dinner. If your family has a barbeque, you have to eat a salad or maybe some coleslaw.
The vegan diet can be even more isolating as you make stricter amendments to your diet. That sense of isolation is another of the biggest reasons that many vegans quit. Before you commit to veganism, see if you can get a friend or loved one to do the same. You two can grocery shop together, track down restaurants to eat in, and commiserate when things get hard.
Find Vegan Recipes That Excite You
Mindset is important if you want to be good at anything, and that goes for your diet as well. If you enter the world of veganism wondering how much the cheese substitute will taste like the real deal or lamenting that you can’t eat eggs anymore, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
Get excited about veganism by browsing cookbooks or searching online for recipes that you’re looking forward to trying. Save the recipes so you can make them again later, as these meals might become the staple of your new vegan diet.
Rely on a Support Group When You Need To
If you by chance couldn’t find anyone who wanted to try veganism with you, you still don’t want to make the diet transition alone. We recommend seeking out a support group for former vegetarians who became vegans.
They’ll understand all your experiences, from what it was like giving up dairy to how lonely it can feel when everyone else eats animal products and byproducts but you. Your support group can also offer suggestions on where to shop for vegan groceries or which restaurants to try. You too can help others by sharing your experiences and frustrations, as these can be learning experiences for people.
An in-person support group is best, but an online-based one is just as helpful. What matters most is that you’re fostering social connections, and you can do that in many ways with today’s technology.
Transitioning from vegetarianism to veganism isn’t necessarily going to be easy, but it is worthwhile. The tips we shared in this article should help you gradually adjust to giving up animal products and byproducts, including eggs, dairy, and honey.
Above all else, make sure that you’re patient with yourself. Few diets are as restrictive as veganism, so you have to expect at first that this way of eating is anything but easy. Don’t shame yourself for having cravings and don’t feel bad if you miss real milk or cheese. Just remind yourself why you’ve chosen to become a vegan and that should get you motivated to maintain your diet. Best of luck!