Tips for Becoming a True Vegan
If you want to know how to become a vegan, then you’re about to embark on a journey which will be both challenging and rewarding. The vegan lifestyle is all about avoiding animal products of any kind (this includes meat, dairy products, eggs, honey and even clothing made from animals). Vegans usually choose this lifestyle for religious, environmental, health or ethical reasons.
It is estimated that between 0.2% and 1.3% of U.S. citizens are practicing vegans. In the United Kingdom, this number ranges from 0.25% to 0.4%.
Vegan diets are also known as pure vegetarian diets or strict vegetarian diets. Experts on the subject claim that such a diet will lower your chances of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, heart attack, and both prostrate and colon cancer.
Someone living the vegan lifestyle must be careful, though. Avoiding animal products can leave the body lacking vitamin B12, vitamin D, iodine and calcium. Vegans may need to take dietary supplements to counter this, and their meals must be planned carefully.
Talk To Your Doctor
Before you embark on the vegan lifestyle, be sure to consult with your doctor. If you’ve eaten animal products for years, this can be quite a shock to your body. Your physician can recommend if being a vegan is right for you (based on your current health) and suggest tips for sticking with it.
Avoiding Animal Products
Some vegans will stop eating animal products in stages. Others will simply stop overnight. Studies show that gradually quitting is most effective and results in vegans avoiding animal products longer.
You’ll still need to get plenty of vitamins and minerals in your diet, and vegans have a number of foods available to them for this purpose. Experiment with the following products to find the ones you like the best.
- Protein powder (can be mixed with juice to provide enough protein for your diet)
- Tofu (this can be an acquired taste, but experiment with different types of preparation)
- Seitan (an expensive meat alternative)
- Nutritional yeast (high in amino acids, protein and vitamin B12.)
- Tempeh (cultured soybeans pressed into a cake. High in protein.)
- Meat alternatives (include veggie burgers, veggie bacon and veggie hot dogs)
- Cheese alternatives (few available, but vegan cream cheese does exist)
- Milk alternatives (includes soy milk, rice milk and multi-grain milks)
You need to be especially conscious of getting enough protein, iron, B12 and calcium. The following items should be a regular part of your vegan diet:
- Nutritional yeast
- Green leafy vegetables
It’s not always easy to be a vegan. If everyone goes out to a restaurant, you’ll often feel like the odd man out when you’re the only person at the table not eating animal products. Still, the health and spiritual benefits are certainly worth the commitment.
When learning how to be a vegan, it’s also a good idea to get into a routine. Find some vegan foods you like and then eat them every day. Before long, you won’t even give it a second thought.
Don’t Be Annoying
Some vegans tend to feel superior to the meat-eaters around them. Don’t be one of these people, as they give all vegans a bad name. Being a vegan is a personal choice, so try to keep your opinions to yourself.