So, you've seen and heard enough to convince you and you've made the decision! Woohoo! This is likely to be single best decision you have ever made in your entire life.
But, I know what you're thinking, you wanna know how to go vegan – What on earth happens from this point?! What will I eat? Surely non-leather shoes will fall apart? What will I tell my friends? Isn't this going to be too limiting/inconvenient/difficult?
Rest assured that in this modern world we live in, it is so easy, the majority are now becoming aware of the multiple reasons behind changing our lifestyles, and there are cruelty free alternatives for everything!
How Am I Going To Cope?
In the initial stages of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, when trying to incorporate new habits, we can tend to view things from a perspective of lack. We recognise what we are no longer ‘allowed' to do, instead of recognising what we are no longer ‘choosing' to do.
We must change our perspective to one of abundance, focusing on how incredibly fortunate we are to be living in an era where we are able to live healthy and happy lives without it being at the misfortune of anyone or anything else.
How Will I tell My Friends & Family?
First of all, get over the V word. When the topic comes up, just say it straight, “I'm vegan now”. It's no big deal, you've just made the decision to live in harmony with nature. There is so much stigma attached to it and it can feel frustrating letting others know of your decision to be vegan simply because we imagine what their preconceived ideas will be about it.
Suddenly all of our friends and family become nutrition experts with grave concern for our health. Eat four donuts in front of them and be met with approval, eat four bananas and suddenly you'll need to be taken to hospital for potassium poisoning! Don't take offence, appreciate their concern and laugh about it together.
It can feel very tempting to blurt out all of the information that we have learned in a desperate bid for not only their approval of our decision, but in the hopes that they will see sense and decide to go vegan too. However, I can say from experience that this isn't the best approach. Remember that we are all learning.
Every moment of every day we are learning and we choose to follow our own paths based upon our current understandings of life. For this reason it is best to simply lead by example and it won't be too long before you are met with genuine questions from intrigued friends and family. Now's your chance to offer sincere answers and show them how easy it is too.
What Will I Eat?
You can be a vegan and live off chips and fizzy drink quite easily, but this does nothing for your health and it does nothing to promote the message of a compassionate lifestyle to others. People want to look good and feel good so show them how to do it.
Nature has provided all that we need to look and feel amazing without the need for any packaged rubbish, and it all tastes amazing too!
Eat a variety of plant foods, including lots of legumes (beans/peas/lentils), grains, vegetables and fruit with some nuts and seeds thrown in for good measure.
Planning a healthy vegan diet is no different from taking any other approach to health: it requires planning. This doesn't mean it's difficult, it simply means that in order to fuel our bodies on whole, natural foods we must plan ahead what we are going to eat.
The modern day world is designed to play up to our in-built mechanisms of pleasure seeking, which it delivers with combinations of intensely flavoured frankenstein foods which disrupt our hormones. Eating healthily is honestly easy once you get in to the habit of it.
Buy in bulk, in advance and have your ideas for your meals which you're going to eat all week planned out so that you can buy the correct ingredients (we order on a Sunday evening for home delivery each week).
Get started with the 6 Secrets of Healthy Eating Revealed.
Plan some of your meals from the Recipes section.
Or, why not take advantage of our new FREE 7 Day Vegan Fitness Meal Plan eBook!
What Will I Wear?
This is a fairly easy one actually and mainly only comes down to footwear. This is obviously a matter of personal preference but speaking from experience the majority of running shoes don't have any leather although there are some faux leathers which have a very thin layer of actual cow skin on the top so look out for those.
Some shoes used to be made using a glue which used crushed up insects (pretty weird how ingrained the use of animals is in everything isn't it!), but this doesn't seem to be the case for most brands now, but check with the individual manufacturer if you're unsure.
If you're looking for more traditional styles of shoes or boots there are numerous vegan brands now too, or you could always opt for the super cheap shoe shops which have various shoes without leather.
There are also plenty of brands which make canvas shoes for a casual shoes and don't forget good old-fashioned wellington boots for rainy periods! It goes without saying to avoid wearing fur, silk and leather!
What else to look out for?
Cleaning products, cosmetic products such as hair dyes, and make-up will usually have been tested on animals, but thankfully there are loads of environmentally friendly products which have not been tested on animals now (just look out for the rabbit symbol which means they are cruelty free).
There are other bits which you'll pick up along the way, but try not to overwhelm yourself with them in the early days and just concentrate on establishing one habit at a time.
Remember that it is actually impossible to go through life without ever causing any harm, the aspiration is to harm as little as possible. You're going to make mistakes occasionally, so just get over that and remember why you're making these changes.
You will make accidental mistakes, you may have slip-ups and you may even discover that a certain food item which you thought was vegan actually has a food colouring in which is made from crushed insects. This lifestyle change isn't to win brownie points with others or to have vegan stand offs, competing over who is deemed the most vegan!
This is a personal endeavour because you wish to cause less harm and get some pretty decent health benefits in the process. You will learn by doing and in no time at all it will all become second nature.
Be grateful that by choosing to harm less, by default it means that you personally are harmed less too!
Viva 30 Day Vegan Plan: http://www.viva.org.uk/30dayvegan
Veganuary Vegan Starter Kit: http://www.veganuary.com/starter-kit/
Veganism is best for mind, body and soul.
Welcome to the health care revolution!