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So you’ve finally made the switch to the vegan life, eh? We’re glad to have you. As experienced vegans, we decided to share our insights (and mistakes).
When going vegan, everyone is keen on throwing rules at you, eat this, try that. Today we’re mixing it up and doing the complete opposite.
In this post, we’ll discuss a few key things that you shouldn’t do when going vegan. Yes, that includes making your grandma cry when you deny all her Italian delicacies.
9 Things You Should Know Before Going Vegan
If you’re aiming for a healthy diet while staying in good standing with your friends and family, you’ll want to keep in mind these things when making the switch to veganism.
It’s all a journey so don’t feel pressured to change all at once or spend hundreds of hours doing research. Even we’re still learning!
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
This goes for restaurants, lifestyle choices, sources of information, experiences--anything! Most importantly, we think this applies to food the most.
There’s nothing worse than overusing the same ingredients over and over in the same way. Being vegan doesn’t have to be boring, and it certainly doesn’t have to be difficult.
A fun thing at the supermarket is buying a new ingredient you’ve never cooked with before. An artichoke, maybe? You may end up finding your new favorite food.
Luckily these days, most restaurants have vegan options, and some restaurants are entirely dedicated to being vegan. We challenge you to try something new this week.
Take yourself out on a date (to the supermarket, maybe?). After all, you’re worth it!
2. Don’t Overdo the Processed Soy
Soy, in its natural state, is great for you. Think steamed edamame...add a little cracked sea salt--major yum. As vegans, we love soy because this little bean is a power complete, power-packed protein, meaning it contains all eight amino acids. Can we get a hell, yeah? Plus, it has tons of health benefits.
What you want to watch out for is processed soy, like the stuff that makes up fake meat and cheese. Secretly you knew it couldn’t be the healthiest thing for you. Soy contains something called isoflavones which the body mimics as estrogen...and too much of anything is a bad thing.
3. Don’t Forget About Supplements
A vegan diet is an amazing source of fiber, vitamins C and E, magnesium, and folic acid. There’s no doubt that a vegan diet is healthy, but there are just a few supplements that we could benefit from taking.
Taking a vegan Vitamin B12 (found in meats for omnivores), a vegan omega-3 fatty acid (found in oily fish for omnivores), and vitamin D (found in animal products and the sun) are great choices for supplements to keep your vegan body in tip-top shape. Check out the benefits of these three supplements here!
At Future Kind, we focus on vegan nutrition. If you want to avoid taking handfuls of vitamins each day, then consider our vegan multivitamin.
4. Don’t Replace Animal Products with Junk Food
It’s so easy to remove animal products from your diet and switch to junk food. Even Whole Foods has vegan cupcakes (and we love them with our whole heart but in moderation).
If you’re doing it for health reasons, then you know going vegan is a lot more than switching bakeries. It’s about eating a whole-food, veggie-ful, diet that will have you feeling and looking better than any $5.99 cupcake ever could.
Now’s the time to pick up your mixing bowl and spices, and get to work. Consequently, that’s exactly what we are going to talk about next.
5. Don’t Forget How To Cook
Unless you’re going raw, don’t toss out your cookbooks or erase all knowledge of cooking. In fact, you might be cooking more than ever! (But don’t worry, it can be easy!) If you have some favorite recipes, you can swap them with vegan ingredients.
There’s no reason to throw out your grill, grill seasonings, or knives. There are plenty of vegan alternatives like mushrooms and tempeh that you can use as meat substitutes. Marinate them, throw them on the grill, and enjoy a better-than-average summer barbeque this year.
6. Don’t Talk Too Much
How can you tell is someone is a vegan?
Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.
This old joke may have some truth to it but only because once you start feeling so amazing, you want to share this life-changing diet with everyone. If only everyone gave veganism a chance, they’d understand.
Anyone who talks about anything too much is going to be annoying; we’re looking at you, gluten-free crossfitters. Our point is simple: don’t be a gluten-free crossfitter.
We know it can be hard to keep the good news to ourselves, a new lifestyle is exciting, but when people start seeing you change (your diet, your mood, your weight, your skin), they’ll inquire (probably about your protein sources *eye roll*) and that’s when you can lay it on them.
That brings us to our seventh point….
7. Don’t Preach, Educate
People are very sensitive about food choices, we’ve seen it firsthand. Be delicate to grandma when you turn down her world-famous meatballs that she slaved over for 5 hours this morning because they used to be your favorite.
For some reason, just because someone's been eating one way for years, they think it’s the right way. You’ll find that these people want to challenge you.
There is another type of person you’ll meet on your vegan journey. This type of person is curious and inquisitive. They are “on the vegan fence” if you will.
Offer some vegan health knowledge, and maybe your conversation will happen to change their life (and a bunch of animal’s lives).
8. Don’t Ignore Food Labels
We find it unbelievable that people can spend just 15 minutes grocery shopping. We personally spend quite a long time perusing the aisles scrutinizing every new ingredient to see if it's worthy of entering our bodies.
If you’ve never picked up an item and analyzed it, then it’s time to meet your new best friend: the nutritional label.
As vegans, it’s important that we get as many nutrients from food as we can, before relying on supplements. It’s also important for us to know exactly what we are ingesting. Remember, dairy-free doesn’t always mean vegan, and in the US, white sugar is often refined using animal bone char *sigh*.
The nutritional label is where the company hides all the good info we want to know like fats, sugars, vitamins, etc., and if it’s derived from animals products. Use this article to guide you through the nutritional label and what to look for when grocery shopping.
9. Don’t Forget to Plan Ahead
Planning ahead is important to not only vegans but for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Stock the house with plenty of good grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds to avoid letting your cravings take over simply because ‘there was nothing to eat.’
If we’ve learned anything from the #fitfam on Instagram, its that they meal prep. Pick one day a week to plan out your meals and prepare them according to your schedule. If you know that Thursdays are really busy with Quidditch practice, prep all your meals Wednesday night and set yourself up for success.
Are you Guilty of Any of These Vegan Faux Pas?
It’s human nature to slip up once in a while, but it’s all about the journey so don’t be too hard on yourself. Being vegan isn’t about being perfect, it’s about striving for change within ourselves and our world.