Vegan Tips for Beginners – 3 Phases To Transition Your Lifestyle
So you want to try out this whole “vegan thing” and make some lifestyle changes?
First of all, virtual high five! Welcome!
Next… get ready to be awakened!
I believe going vegan or eating a plant-based diet is best done as a transitional process. I am here to share all the vegan tips for beginners and give you a blueprint of how to structure your transition in 3 phases!
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Why Transition Slowly
If you are consuming a Standard American Diet (SAD) or similar, chances are you were educated to believe that cow’s milk was necessary, meat was needed and carbs are the enemy… sound familiar?
Animal products are in everything because we were told that we needed them! Even things you wouldn’t think of usually have some trace of animal product. Did you know tortilla chips sometimes have milk powder on them?
To completely overhaul your entire kitchen, wardrobe and personal care items in one day is unrealistic.
Can you do it? Of course! Do people do it? Absolutely.
Personally, I don’t endorse it and I believe it is wildly unrealistic.
More realistically, I recommend this basic three phase process starting with diet.
Eliminate all meat and flesh. This includes beef, pork, poultry, fish, etc. There is a “brain fog” that I noticed I no longer had. I felt I could think clearer, faster and was more alert. Apparently, this is common with meat and dairy products. Who knew! You can also include eggs in this phase or wait to eliminate in Phase 2.
Eliminate all dairy. This might be the hardest phase for most people. Dairy is in so many things you probably didn’t even realize.. Cheese and milk being your biggest challenges but let me tell you, the results are beyond worth it. This is probably where most people notice the most positive changes, too. Weight loss, clear skin, mood balancing, no digestion issues, etc.
Eliminate all other animal by-products. This includes honey, gelatin, casein, carmine, isinglass (fish bladder) etc. These are your not as obvious animal products but equally important to eliminate. Traditional marshmallows are not vegan (gelatin), anything using carmine food dye, alcohol strained with fish bladder (wine) and most processed foods as preservatives are commonly animal derived chemicals. This phase tests your label reading skills but once you get experienced, you’ll be able to spot animal by-products from a mile away. This is something that may take years or you may be more relaxed about but educate yourself on where and how these items are made. It’s eye-opening to see what you’re actually consuming and the effects on the animals and planet by consuming these products.
Household products, Personal Care & Clothing
Do not trash everything in your house just because it isn’t vegan. I repeat, do not do this! I get it, once you are educated it is hard to look at items the same way but I don’t recommend going through your entire house and tossing anything non-vegan in one swoop. Instead I suggest throughout the 3 phase process as things run out, wear out, and get used up, look into finding a vegan alternative. Common household goods are made with materials like wool, suede, leather, silk but there are so many great alternatives so don’t worry!
It will bring you so much joy to replace these things with cruelty-free vegan items, but there is no use in doing it all at once because the product is purchased already, so there is no sense wasting it. This also gives you time to research into different products and find alternatives that will work for you and your family before rushing out and buying something just because it’s vegan.
How Long Will It Take?
How long do you spend on each phase? That really can be up to you. I would say about 4 weeks is a good time span to get a solid handle on one phase before moving to the next. The final phase might take more time since it requires recognizing odd ingredients. This is why I encourage eating fresh foods with no nutrition labels and keep it simple at first. You don’t have to worry about weird ingredients when your food is au natural. Also, keep in mind processed vegan food is still processed food. If you have any weight loss goals, relying of these types of foods will hinder your progress. It is best kept at a minimum and used to help ease the transition process.
When in doubt, I scan barcodes with my “Is It Vegan?” app, which is a lifesaver when grocery shopping! It tells you if items are vegan and what ingredients might be questionable.
As a desk reference, I love to consult “Veganissimo A to Z” by Reuben Proctor and Lars Thomsen. It’s an encyclopedia of ingredients and tells you the likelihood of it being plant-based.
I believe I am obligated to warn anyone considering the vegan process that this lifestyle transition is not without short-term drawbacks. Like any diet or major change, there will be a detox period. Your body is cleaning out years of junk, animal carcass and sludge. Just remember this is temporary and the benefits of going vegan are beyond worth it.
After a few months, vegan life will feel completely normal. Your body will feel revived and you will realize how unaware most people are about what they eat, drink, wear and use. Your consciousness about everything around you will vibrate higher. It’s really an amazing process. I loved the transition because each day I felt better and more educated about what I was putting into my body.
What do you think about going vegan or plant-based now?
Does taking it in phases seem easier and less overwhelming?
Let me know your tips or questions in the comments!
Check out these other vegan related posts!
My Top 5 Dairy-Free Junk Food Favorites