Trying to Be Vegan Where Do I Start?: At the beginning 🙂
So, if you’ve been following along this week, I’ve been a little robot. I’ve been coming out with a new post EVERY SINGLE DAY, yes, every single day I’ve written a new post, in real time :D. Record-breaking, baby….So, I know you love recipes and I’m getting to those, I just don’t currently have the full bandwidth to create 7 new recipes, cook them, and photograph them every week, so the plan is 1-2 new recipes per week and the rest will be answering your questions, reviews, or maybe even interviews, who knows! You should let me know what you want to hear because I’m here to serve you!!
So today’s question comes from my survey (wanna ask a question anonymously?? Here’s the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8GMRZWM )
Where do I start?
At the beginning. Done, easy, next. JK….This is a loaded question.
I started veganism with my vegetarianism. I was a vegetarian off and on for my entire life, so I had it easy, I had a supportive family and friend group, so I was lucky in those regards, but to be honest, it still wasn’t easy! Eventually I got the hang of it, the same way I got the hang of veganism, with baby steps.
Everyone makes the mistake of turning baby steps into major steps. Everyone. I did it too. I mean it took until I was 19 from the time I was a baby to finally give up meat. I knew that I shouldn’t eat it, but I still did, why? Habits. Habits are at the forefront of my mind right now because I’m reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, but this book is painting a pretty picture about the way I run my life. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re trying out being a vegan or vegetarian. At the end of the day, adopting a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle is, at it’s core, developing a new habit, or changing a current habit that you have. So, how do you change habits?
It’s super hard, it’s not easy. Anyone who claims they became a vegan or vegetarian overnight without issue is exceptional (and by “exceptional” I mean they’re the exception. I know there’s some of you out there who said it was an easy switch that just turned on for you, but we’re not all like that, and I’m not sure I fully trust you cold-turkey-ers or shall I say cold tofurkey-ers out there). The advice I give on my blog is what has worked for me, what’s true for me and only me. So, take what I say and adapt it to your lifestyle. I always say work with your nature, not against it, so use my tips, but meld them and mold them to match your life and your needs.
How did I start? I just made a decision to stop eating meat, and I went for it. I wasn’t successful for a long time, probably my first 6, real months of trying I failed. I “relapsed” a lot (like every week I was eating something that was meat or dairy or something etc) for about 6 months, which is a sign that I took on too much too early. I did it, I ended up becoming vegan just 2 years after that, but it wasn’t easy. But that’s because my “baby” steps were ridiculous. For going both vegetarian and vegan I went cold turkey and I don’t recommend it. I’ve helped other people go vegan/vegetarian with the baby step approach and it was much smoother for them than it was for me. What I mean by baby steps is this:
- Determine the real reason why you want to go vegan/vegetarian and write it down somewhere. And this should be your real, honest reason. If you want to try out veganism because you want to copy queen B or DJ Khaled or want a banging bod and you think this will help, then you need to write that down. This will be your motivator.
- Determine the end result of your choice. Are you making this choice as a temporary thing, an experiment, or as a full lifestyle switch? Write that down.
- Next, ignore everything you’ve just done. You don’t need that at the beginning. Steps 1 and 2 will come in handy in the middle of your transition. When you’re having a bad day and want milk just because you chose to give it up, read those two items, these will shift your focus.
- Think about some dairy or meat product that you don’t consume often. So if you hate milk and almost never drink it, then stop buying milk. That’s it, that’s the key. The major secret is making life easy on yourself. Replace your milk with almond milk if that’s where you want to go, but otherwise eliminate something that’s not super essential to you at the moment.
- Once you’re used to not having milk or red meat in your fridge, then move to the next thing. Replace your butter with Earth Balance or some other vegan butter alternative.
- Keep doing that until you’re a vegan one day! I think this is the most sustainable approach. I may get some flack for this because many people want you to switch everything you’re doing and make the switch immediately, go cold turkey, but if you’re in this for the long haul, then these micro steps will bring you macro wins in the end. You’re just changing your daily routine, not shocking your system or willpower this way.
You can go cold turkey and see how it goes. If that’s the route you want to take, be as prepared as possible. Have an entire 7 day or 14 day or 22 day meal plan in place and buy your groceries that way and go for it. Just stick with it, and if you relapse, think about your strategy and really evaluate it, is it working for you? There’s no shame in taking your time. For reals.
But in the end, think about how you’ve changed other habits in your life, and use those same principles. For me, what eventually made my decision stick was the fact that I started getting used to these vegan swaps, one by one, instead of going all out all at once. Some days will be tougher than others and you might relapse or might accidentally eat something and forget there’s egg or milk in it, but don’t worry about those moments, just keep thinking about step 2: that end result choice.
Plus if there’s something you’re really struggling with along the way, contact me and I’ll try to help!! Or join my vegetariansnob facebook group. It’s quiet right now because I sort of forgot about it, but come on in and start a community of vegetarians/vegans. But in the end you don’t need motivation or shocking videos to keep you going, what you need is to make small tweaks to your habits.
Question of the day: For those of you who have made the switch cold turkey or baby steps?
P.S. Want to get started but don’t know what treats to cook? Download my 10 most popular vegan recipes here.