So you have made the decision to make a major lifestyle change for the good of both your body and the planet and other humans-congratulations! Now what? The good news is there is a ton of information out there right at the tip of your fingers.
The first thing you need to do is go grocery shopping! When shopping and something aren’t obvious, read the labels. There are some things that newbie Vegan’s may not realize to avoid animal derivatives (that you may not have even realized were animal derivatives) such as casein, gelatin, albumin, shellac, pepsin, carmine, isinglass, and whey.
Some foods that contain these ingredients include chewing gum, cereals, marsh mellows, candies, beer and wine (relax-not all beer and wine).
Basic Vegan Starter Kit:
- A few good Vegan cookbooks-can be digital, I like to feel a book, but it’s a personal preference.
- A kitchen scale
- A diary to keep track of your diet to ensure you are getting the right amount of protein-this can also be a smartphone item
- A cheat sheet for protein amounts in the different foods
- List of online go-to’s for restaurant choices, clothing choices and other household goods-of course put this on your smartphone so you have this when you are out and about.
- Get a cool Vegan t-shirt and water bottle to make your lifestyle statement in a fun and positive way and make you feel good about what you consciously chose to do☺
Once you get some basic supplies, I recommend getting a few different Vegan cooking books to keep you engaged and interested in your new lifestyle. There are so many delicious and satisfying recipes out there-and yes desserts too! Many Lindt chocolates that are 70% dark cocoa or more are Vegan-friendly. You’re welcome.:)
Getting enough protein is critical in ensuring you don’t become a ravenous and starving person and eat too many of the wrong foods. It is important not to carb out; I have actually know people who didn’t plan properly gain weight going Vegan because they didn’t plan their proteins correctly and ate too much of the wrong things getting their body biochemistry out of balance. Excellent sources of Vegan-friendly protein include the following: chia seeds, buckwheat, oats, spirulina, hummus (chickpeas), tofu, edamame, tempeh, hemp, brown and wild rice, beans (lentils, black beans, kidney beans) quinoa, soymilk, nuts and seeds (hemp seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, almonds). You may want to know how much protein is recommended for your Daily Reference Intake (DRI); it is 8.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or 0.36 grams per pound. The average recommended DRI for a man is 56 grams per day and for a woman is 46 grams. If you are more active you would want to increase your protein intake. Of course, we recommend consulting with a dietician or nutritionist to optimize your personal body type and goals.
Calcium is another item to make sure you keep up with properly. Excellent sources of calcium that is easy to absorb include: fortified orange juice, fortified soy milk, calcium-set tofu, bok choy, fresh or dried figs, turnip greens, collard greens, kale, mustard greens.
Getting enough B12 is another item that Vegans need to monitor. You can always take a supplement that is Vegan free, and there are some fortified food products on the market as well where you can keep the B12 in check.
If you have certain health conditions where you have dietary restrictions, allergies or concerns, we always recommend you talk with your doctor or a licensed or certified health profession that help you transition into the new planned lifestyle. They may want you to do a stepwise program or try some things a little at a time. Even if you are able to significantly reduce your animal product intake you are contributing to a positive change in your health, the environment and for the preservation of animals and helping to end animal cruelty. Going 100% Vegan is not for everyone and we understand and appreciate that. Inclusion and understanding of each other are crucial for sustainability, peace, and happiness.
As one main aspect of being a Vegan stands for eliminating animal cruelty, you also have to rethink your household. For example, what you are wearing. You need to dedicate your future purchases for being animal cruelty-free. No more leather coats, belts, bags, wallets, furniture, etc. No more any animal or reptile skins or other animal-derived products. Over time this conscious choice becomes easier and easier and you will really feel good about it. Does this mean to get rid of every non-Vegan thing you own? Well, that is a personal choice. If you want to, we suggest donating or selling the items so they don’t contribute to another landfill-goodness knows that is a whole other topic you will see me writing about. There are so many beautiful alternatives that you will have fun discovering along the way. For example, there is a new company from two entrepreneurs out of Mexico called Desserto that is making faux leather out of cactus plants and it is incredible! Adrian López Velarde and Marte Cárzarez debuted this just in 2019 and states their product has a durability of at least 10 years.
While all of this may seem a little arduous and overwhelming at first, over a short period of time you will be accustomed to this awesome lifestyle. In the beginning, however, we recommend keeping a food diary of what you are eating and the amount of protein you are in-taking. There are some online references that will help you ballpark the amount of protein. A small kitchen scale will also be helpful in making sure you are getting the proper quantities. For faster on the go food choices, you can do Vegan shakes at home with some Vegan mixes that are available at the nutrition stores are good options. Adding avocadoes, almond milk, and various fruits and even greens is a quick and easy way to start the day, have an afternoon snack or a post-workout hit.
There are also a lot of Vegan groups out there worldwide to connect with that have recipes, ideas, meetings, seminars, meetups, etc. There are sites out there that help you find absolutely fabulous Vegan restaurants anywhere in the world you are traveling. One of our favorites is #HappyCow. However, so I am not hangry I always recommend having some nuts on hand.
You can also sport some whimsical fun new Vegan Lover clothes-check out our new Vegan Lover collection at https://www.Nudogen.com and see our positive messaged clothing and accessories to wear and share. We have 100% cotton animal cruelty-free t-shirts, Vegan Lover water bottles that are BPA free-they keep cold liquids cold for up to 24 hours, and hot liquids hot for up to 12 hours. They are environmentally friendly in that the whole idea is to stop and eliminate single-use plastic while supporting your pro-planet Vegan Love!
So keep on the good path, you are not alone. Encourage others to try some of your tasty new dishes, and wear and share your Vegan Love with the world!