I began my transition into eating healthier when I was 15 years old. I ran into a few challenges, though the transition was extremely smooth overall. It is now four years later, and I now have a full plant-based diet. I am fully confident and aware enough to spread advice and tips to others who want to start the transition themselves! Whether you’re a person that eats meat, a vegetarian, or a vegan that eats mostly wheat and soy filled products, this post is for you!
Tip 1: Take it Easy
This tip is the most important out of them all. To begin a transitioning journey, is changing practices that you have done since you were a kid. Throughout your transition, remember to be patient with yourself. Also, begin with a pace that’s best suitable for you. Whether it’s shifting your diet for only a week, 30 days, cutting out only red meat, or just going cold turkey, the best way to transition is the way that you are comfortable and confident in pursuing.
Tip 2: Learn Your Body Type
Everyone’s body is unique in their own way. We all have a special combination of DNA that allows us to be who we are, and shape the way our body functions. Learning your body type allows you to live a life style that’s aligned with your body’s specific needs.
One form of knowing your body type, is knowing your blood type. There is a diet created for each four blood types that have been proven to lead to healthier results! It was created by a naturopath Peter J. D’Adamo. He believes that the foods we eat react chemically with our blood type, and if we follow a diet designed for our blood type, our bodies will digest food more efficiently (weight loss, boost of energy, preventing disease).
Tip 3: Know Your Dosha
In a previous post, I described the Ayurvedic diet. Ayurveda is based on the mind, body, and spirit and everyone has all three doshas *Vata : air, space / Pitta : fire, water / Kapha : water, earth* What makes each person unique, is which dosha is the most dominant. That indicates which foods to focus on, and which to limit within your diet. Following Ayurveda may bring some ease if you’re unsure of how to start.
Tip 4: Try Fasting.
Fasting is a life altering practice. It allows you to learn self-discipline, connects you to messages your body sends that you didn’t notice before, reduces cravings, and heightens your energy! There are numerous ways to fast, one of the most popular being intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting, is commonly done by fasting for 16 hours of the day, and eating for 8 hours. (Ex: If the last time you ate was 7pm, you would eat again at 11am). Fasting more often easily helps you notice what foods aren’y beneficial for your body.
If you would like to know other ways fasting helps, check out a previous post!
Tip 5: Create a Goal
The easiest way to create change in your life, is to have a reason for change. Creating a goal for why your transitioning is like building a foundation. Your goal will allow you to aspire for change, and see the importance of committing to your transitioning journey.
Here are a few examples of goals that may align with you:
- Lose weight
- Clear acne
- ___ days of no meat or dairy
- ___ days of no red meat
- ___ days of no salt, no sugar, no fried foods
Tip 6: Track Your Journey
Tracking your journey allows you to physically see how long you’ve been committed. Ways you can track your transitioning time could be:
- Mood and energy levels of the day
- What I Ate Today
- Cravings I Had Today
Tip 7: Read Food Labels
During my beginning stage of being a vegan, I was so surprised by how much dairy and animal ingredients they sneak into products! From chips to granola bars to liquor, there’s plenty of sneaky ingredients that aren’t vegan.
The app is it vegan? was my best friend during my beginning stage, all I had to do was just scan the products bar code and it would tell me whether all the ingredients were vegan or not.
Theres a website that let’s you know whether the bottle of liquor you’re drinking is vegan or not!
Tip 8: Cook at Home
Trying out altered versions of your favorite foods are the best, especially when cooking with friends. Plus why eat out and question every ingredient, when you can cook and know what’s being consumed?
There are thousands and thousands of vegan blogs on the internet filled with recipes (I have one!) for you to easily try at home. YouTube videos also helped me a ton. (just search: Vegan Grocery Haul, What I Ate In A Day, Easy Vegan Meals)
Tip 9: Connect With Others
Everyday, the number of people switching their diets is increasing. You are not alone! If at any moment you have questions or need support, there are numerous people online or even local that are willing to help and share all that they know. (I’m one of them!!)
Ways to find other vegans: searching for vegan facebook groups, your cities vegan social clubs, socializing at vegan restaurants, and there’s even an app thats social media for vegans!
Tip 10: Have Fun!
Altering your diet doesn’t have to be a serious hard task, make it fun! Begin your journey with a friend and discuss challenges and what’s been exciting. Go out to local vegan restaurants and try out new foods. Go to your favorite restaurants and customize something on the menu. One of my favorite things to do was going to places I usually ordered nonvegan meals and altering it (Ex: Chik-Fil-A veggie wrap, no cheese, add beans).
After at least 21 days (that’s when the brain picks up on a new habit), your transition will shift from a challenge to a practice!
Transitioning into Veganism isn’t as complicated as you may think. All it takes is research, getting to know your body, being patient with yourself, and having optimism. Taking this step now helps you in the future. Making a choice to live healthier saves you from having diseases in the future.
I hope this post inspires you to alter your diet :)!