10 Things To Know Before Going Vegan
1. Don’t expect results too quickly
You won’t see results overnight. Veganism cannot immediately make your skin glow (in fact, some people are known to break out for a short period once going Vegan – but it won’t last), or make your eyes brighter, and hair glossier. These things happen over time when you have followed a healthy Vegan diet filled with an abundance of fruit and vegetables – you can’t be someone who consumes a lot of Vegan junk food and then expect to be the picture of health!
2. Veganism is not about perfection
Some people tend to get confused regarding what the aim of Veganism is – it’s not about perfection. Nobody can expect to be perfect. It doesn’t matter whether someone has been Vegan for 10 years, or 2 weeks, everyone will undoubtedly make mistakes, and that’s fine. Just because you read a label wrong and accidentally consume animal products, or if you give into temptation and consume it on purpose, this does not mean that you need to quit. Dust yourself off and try it again, and perhaps at a much slower pace the next time round.
3. Surround yourself with like-minded people
Whether you surround yourself with like-minded people online, or in person, it’ll be a massive help for you on your journey. Despite stereotypes and rumours, the Vegan community is so helpful, welcoming and willing to answer all questions if you’re genuinely interested.
4. Decide if it’s the right time
It’s cheap to be Vegan, as long as you’re just consuming the basic healthy foods such as carbs, legumes etc. however, some people (like myself) tend to make the transition to Veganism by consuming faux meats and cheeses, and these aren’t always cheap! Think about whether you are at the right point in your life to make this huge lifestyle change. I was really lucky to have such supportive parents who welcomed my change with open arms, although, not every household will be like this. Maybe you’ll have to wait to be in the right mindset, and time in your life to go Vegan.
5. Take your B12
B12 is a vitamin that plays a large role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, so of course, it’s important to make sure you’re getting your daily-recommended amount. This vitamin is actually made by anaerobic microorganisms, which are bacteria, common in the gastrointestinal tract of animals. Vegans can get their B12 from supplements, fortified foods (cereals, milk, marmite), yeasts and algae.
6. Note the changes
Make sure you note down any small changes, for example, if you feel more lethargic, or weak, once adopting the lifestyle change. It is 100% possible to be a thriving human on a plant-based diet, however, it’s something that needs research beforehand; you need to consume enough calories, and make sure you’re getting the right nutrients. Just because you feel worse after making the transition to Vegan doesn’t mean you aren’t right for the lifestyle, it just means you have to alter the diet slightly e.g. consume more carbs, iron, etc. When I first went Vegan it took a while for me to adjust to the fact that I could consume way more calories than usual, and sometimes it can actually be difficult to consume enough!
7. Prepare for longer food shopping trips
Sometimes I would spend half an hour or more in the supermarket reading labels, having to Google certain E-numbers, or asking staff questions. Searching for new Vegan treats among the many aisles of non-Vegan foods will become a regular habit; there’s nothing more riveting (for a Vegan) than finding something new that doesn’t contain animal products!
8. Watch out for e-numbers
As I previously mentioned, you need to look out for the many e-numbers that are in food products as some are not Vegan (or Vegetarian) and this will not be stated on the product. This can be a super tedious task and can be the last thing on your Vegan journey that you tackle, as I feel it’s one of the most difficult things to watch out for.
9. Prepare to eat chips and pasta for a while
My first months of Veganism (and a lot of other people’s) involved living on carbs, as it was simple and delicious. One of the most wonderful things about going Vegan is that you have a new found appreciation of the simplest foods in life. I would definitely suggest doing some Vegan cooking research a few weeks before you ditch the animal products so that you’re prepared. It took me a long time to discover the amazing world of Vegan food products and restaurants, but now that I have, it’s so easy.
10. Not everyone sheds pounds
I lost just over half a stone within a couple of months of going Vegan, and this happened without me having to limit myself – I ate what I wanted (obviously Vegan foods) when I wanted. Vegan foods tend to contain fewer calories than animal products and so I was eating the same portions as before, and yet losing weight. I know a lot of people whose bodies changed significantly for the better on a Vegan diet (just look online!), however, I also know a few people who have complained about putting on weight. Putting on weight when adopting a Vegan diet is likely down to high consumption of processed foods like fake meats and cheeses – they’re great to have occasionally, but pretty unhealthy for all of the time!