Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tips for going vegan and new vegans

I was a vegetarian from when I was born until I was about 13, not because my parents were, I just hated it and gagged when my parents tried to force me. At 13 my friends got me to eat meat and I liked it so went full carnivore meat meat meat meat until I was almost 15 (it was about October) and I realized I was NOT healthy at all. I started looking up tons of things about nutrition and weight loss and I fell upon the vegan diet. It seemed perfect to me since it cut out 90% of all the high calorie unhealthy foods I ate and I could get more nutrients for less calories! So I decided to go vegan cold turkey (like my little pun there? =P ). I have continued learning more and more about veganism and now follow the diet not only for health but also for ethical reasons. Here are some words of advice I offer to people who have recently become, or want to become vegan.

1. Do it slowly-Yes I know this is kind of hypocritical of me to say, but for MOST people I say do it sslloowwllyy you don't want to jump right into it and not be able to handle too many changes. Begin by learning more and more vegan recipes, start by weaning yourself off of one type of food at a time to make it an easier transition.

2. Don't go from one thing to the other-What I mean by this is, don't just go from real meat to fake meat immediately (I never eat fake meat so don't feel like you have to if you don't like it). It is the same with any sort of vegan substitutions, they WILL taste DIFFERENT they will. This doesn't mean they will taste better or worse, I mean that really depends on the person but give yourself a little time to forget eexxaaccttllyy how the old stuff tasted before switching to the abundance of substitutions.

3. Mind set-This is true with ANY diet change. Your mind set is pretty much the most important thing; if you jump in thinking “oh this will suck” “oh this will be gross” etc. etc. than even if you would normally like it you will think it is just disgusting. Trust me.

4. One of the hardest parts will be other people- Some people have a harder time switching to veganism than others; but I think something we can agree on is how disrespectful and rude others can be! I mean the majority of people are rude to anyone who is different but because of all the wacko weirdo vegans out there we have a bad rep as being insane people hating animal loving tree huggers on our periods. Just try not to let anyone get to you and above ALL do not be insulting or rude back. Don't prove them right. Also try to remind them that every group of people has its crazies but it doesn't always mean the group itself is bad.

5. Don't be difficult!!-That was my HUGE goal when I went to visit America, just because you made a dieting choice doesn't mean everyone is expected to serve you your own special food on a silver plate. I made sure to keep a can of beans and a box of whole wheat noodles and a jar of hot sauce stuff from China (yes, I did totally bring a jar of hot sauce all the way from China). Whenever we were staying at relatives or friends house I asked if it would be alright if I used their stove and fixed myself my own meal. If someone specifically invites you over for dinner, just say you are a vegan and wouldn't want to put them through the trouble of cooking for you and invite them to eat at your house instead; if they say they truly don't mind cooking something for you than you are good to go; otherwise, just cook something for them. It is the same for anything, Picnics, Thanksgivings, BBQs, just bring your own vegan dishes to eat and share....or just get a LOT of vegan friends x).

6. Don't give up-Everyone makes mistakes and when you first go vegan you will probably be constantly finding yourself accidentally eating or buying non-vegan things. First thing you need to remember is to always look at the ingredients, do not be afraid to ask (for all restaurant people know you are deathly allergic ;) ) and you WILL make mistakes so don't feel like an awful person when you do. It gets easier!! It really is amazing how much stuff is NOT vegan though haha. Even the other day I was shopping for a sweater and it dawned on me that wool isn't vegan! but the sweater wasn't so I bought it and it looks awesome! =D. So just remember to keep learning about stuff and do not be discouraged by mistakes because they will happen. Good Luck!

7. As long as you do not have any absorption problems, eat lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains you will not become deficient!-Everything has protein....I have gained all my muscle from the gym AFTER becoming vegan and I eat like 1,200 calories a day and do not worry about protein. My boyfriend’s friend has already asked me like 3 times where I get my protein….”from…everything…I…eat”. Yes, anyone who is trying to get a LOT of muscle needs protein shakes and powder and stuff, as will I to get to my end goals for muscle, but that applies to carnivores too. Iron, calcium and all those other things people will bug you about are also present in a TON of non-animal plants but I will let you guys look those up yourselves ;). Other than that, the ONLY vitamin you cannot get from non-animal products is B12. Your body naturally makes enough B12 in your intestines (look it up) the problem is absorption, if you have a thyroid problem, are overweight, drink smoke or do drugs often and a few other things; it will make your body less able to absorb B12. B12 is synthetically fortified into most non-dairy milks, cereals and many other things and you can take pills for it or if you are a girl could always try swallowing xP.

That is about all I can think of for now. I hope it helped at least a little bit and good luck :).

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