How do you start a vegan lifestyle? 5 tips to begin

Yesterday I went to see Keegan Kuhn and Kip Andersen’s new documentary: “What the health” (the sequel to Cowspiracy). I adopted a vegan lifestyle some years ago so I already knew about the many advantages of a plant based diet. I knew about the incredible health-benefits. I knew how unhealthy animal related food is. I knew all about the objections that people have against it. I knew about misunderstandings concerning proteins, basically I thought I knew all there is to know. I was wrong. After seeing this film I was shocked, appalled and disgusted about what it brings to light. Shocked about the way health-associations operate, appalled about the food industry and disgusted about what happens in the meat and poultry industry.

On the other hand I was delighted to see that more and more people become aware of the benefits of a plant based diet and more and more people work very hard to get the message across and make a change!

When I started writing about my plant based life my main motivation was frustration, I wanted people to understand and accept my choice of going vegan. That frustration gradually turned into having fun. By sharing my plant based experiences with others I learned so much. It gave me more satisfaction and it brings out the best in me. And although I still meet a lot of resistance and objections in my surroundings, I intend to keep on doing what I do. In fact, after seeing this film I am more inspired than ever. I would like everyone to experience to greatness of a plant based lifestyle.

But how do you make that change to a plant based lifestyle?

Let me help you by sharing 5 basic principles you can use to get started:

1. You know that plant based foods mean that you do not eat meat-fish-dairy products (nothing that is animal related) but you also need to know what you can eat? The picture below makes that perfectly clear (adapted from Forks over Knives)

2. Do not start by changing everything at once (I didn’t!). Start by one or two plantbased days a week. Get familiar with plant based food, explore the many vegetables. You can also start by replacing one product at a time. For instance change your milk into a non-dairy milk like; oatmilk, ricemilk, soymilk, almondmilk, coconutmilk, there are plenty of choices, pick the one you like best.

3. Keep it simple! Breakfast with fruits and nuts, lunch of oatmeal with a non-dairy milk or a nice salad with avocado or sourdough sandwich with humus or a nut-spread. Dinner of rice with a nice curry made of coconut milk and vegetables to your own liking, it is all plant based and really easy!

4. Changing your lifestyle means stepping out of your comfort zone, not only for you but also for the people around you. Face criticism with your head held up high. Try to see it as an adventure, not as a deprivation or a sacrifice. Be proud of yourself, you are taking charge of your life and your health, this is your decision and you are entitled to make it!

5. It takes time for your body to adjust, approx. 30-40 days. That means you can have a hungry feeling when you stop eating meat/fish. You can solve that by eating nuts (preferably unsalted), seeds, dates, dried figs. Make sure you carry them with when you are on the go (a small container or bag will do the trick). Nowadays there are lots of vegan candy bars made of dates and vegan chocolate or nuts for sale in supermarket. They do not come cheap but hey, you save money by not buying meat/fish and those bars can help you through the tough moments in the beginning.

I hope to have inspired you and helped you to get going. Should you have any question or issues you want to discuss further, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am happy to be of any assistance if I can.

Still not convinced that a plant based lifestyle is for you, go and see the film. It is on a European tour at the moment. You can check the schedule at http://www.whatthehealthfilm.com

Good luck!