Becoming vegan slowly is a great way to approach veganism. Cut down on your consumption of animal products by removing the ones you don’t like that much. Then, gradually work on swapping all animal-based ingredients and meals with plant-based alternatives. This is a great way to start healthy eating habits: One meal at a time!
I found some excellent tips at seriouseats.com to help you transition to healthier eating habits. If cooking at home, give yourself extra time, particularly at the beginning. For most people, designing meals 100% around vegetables will be a completely foreign concept requiring much more kitchen time, even for a seasoned pro.
Take a look at your pantry. Is it full of meat-based condiments, dried pasta and white rice? If so, you’re not going to have a fun time trying to cook. Make sure your pantry stays stocked with plenty of beans and whole grains, hearty greens like kale, spinach, and collards, and vegan-friendly sauces.
Avoid convenience foods. If all you subsist on as a vegan is frozen pizza, frozen vegan burritos, vegan burger patties and ready-made meals, you will not be a happy eater. Regular frozen foods are bad enough; Vegan ones are simply abysmal.
Here’s a list of foods that are fair game when you are following a vegan diet:
- Nut butters
- Plant-based milk, such as almond milk or coconut milk
- Plant-based oils
- Grains, including bread, quinoa, and rice
- Legumes, including beans, lentils, and chickpeas
To follow the healthiest vegan diet possible, remember that eating whole and minimally processed foods is the goal.
Protein gives our body structure as part of our muscles and bones. It is also essential for fighting infection, speeding up chemical reactions, making hormones, transporting oxygen, growth and repair.
Plant proteins contain all the essential amino acids. Our bodies cannot make protein-building blocks. Although the quantity and quality of the proteins vary, many plant-based foods make useful contributions to our overall intake of this nutrient.
You can obtain a good mix of amino acids every day by enjoying a variety of balanced diets and ensuring your meals contain sources of good-quality protein.
Healthy proteins are in quinoa, pulses, lentils, chickpeas, peas, beans, tofu, nuts and seeds, chia seeds, buckwheat, oats, brown and wild rice, and vegetables.
Protein in Vegetables:
- Asparagus has almost 2 grams of protein per six spears
- Avocado has over 1 gram per half avocado
- Broccoli nearly 3 grams per 80 grams of broccoli
- Brussels sprouts have around 2 grams per 80-gram serving
- Cauliflower has 1.5 grams per 80-gram serving
- Artichokes over 1 gram of protein per 80 grams of artichokes
- Kale almost 2 grams per 80-gram serving
- Spinach 2 grams per 80-gram serving
- Sweet corn over 2 grams for every three heaping tablespoons.
Don’t try to go vegan overnight. It’s always best to educate yourself first. Learn what healthy foods are and why they are good for you.
Start making one meal a day; this will help you not to be discouraged by overwhelming yourself with trying to be vegan for every meal and every snack. It takes time to break old and unhealthy cooking habits.
Over time, you will learn how to cook more meals and make them taste good without making them unhealthy. This is a long process, but you will learn, and soon it will become easy.
Disclaimer: I do not encourage or discourage the vegan diet. I do encourage anyone interested in the Vegan Diet to decide if this way of eating is best for them.