Whether you're a vegetarian or a meat-eater going straight to the vegan lifestyle, there are things you need to know in order to make the transition a smooth one. It's important to know what you're getting yourself into and what to expect if you're going to succeed in this diet and lifestyle choice. Here are some of the most vital things to consider before you make the jump to becoming a vegan:
What does a vegan diet include?
Vegans exclude all animal products, even dairy and eggs. This means that vegans largely rely on fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes. There are also plenty of protein powders out there like Naturade's Pea Protein powder that are vegan-friendly and allow dieters to enjoy a cool, sweet and tasty shake.
Vegan doesn't always mean healthy
Many people assume that making the switch to a vegan diet means that they will be on a strict regimen of healthy foods only, which will help them to shed the pounds. However, there are a lot of processed vegan foods out there that are filled with unhealthy ingredients. You'll be able to maintain a healthy diet as long as you stick with simple, whole foods.
Don't get down on yourself
When making this diet and lifestyle change, you can't expect to adapt easily and right away. There are going to be certain things that you'll have to get used to and plenty of bumps along the road. Sometimes, it can take as long as several years to go vegan, whether it's due to lack of knowledge or not having the right ingredients to whip up dinner. Megan Salisbury, a 33-year-old social work student in Phoenix, told the New York Times that she prefers a vegan diet but can only really manage it about 75 percent of the time. Things like limited options in the cafeteria and pricey food choices tend to hold her back.
You'll have to learn to alter cooking techniques
Vegan ingredients and cooking techniques are different than those for meals. Substitutions like oil-based spreads, chia seed eggs or nutritional yeast can deliver an unexpected nutty or cheesy flavor to the dish that you didn't expect. It takes time to learn what ingredients and substitutions work best and which should be left out.
Support is everywhere
There are so many individuals who are making the jump into veganism, and the web is filled with individuals who are willing to support you and hold your hand on this journey to a new diet and lifestyle. Thanks to everything from books, movies and online forums that share delicious vegan dishes, it's easy to find a helping hand wherever you go.