Embarking on a vegan journey this Veganuary? Wow, you’re absolutely amazing! I’m here to guide you through this exciting and compassionate choice. Having been a devoted ethical vegan for seven years and boasting expertise in vegan nutrition, I want to ensure you seamlessly transition into this lifestyle – one that not only benefits you but also the planet and our furry friends!
Let’s kick things off with some practical steps to make your vegan experience a breeze:
Make Satisfying Meals
Transitioning to vegan meals doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor. While your new meals may not be identical to animal-based dishes, keeping an open mind will help you discover delightful new tastes.
First key to ensuring your vegan meals are satisfying is to incorporate enough protein. Aim for a minimum of 1.2g/kg of body weight per day to stay full and relish that satisfying feeling.
Next, boost your fiber intake – this magical nutrient stabilizes blood sugar, keeps you full, while adding zero calories. Opt for whole foods whenever possible to enjoy the benefits of fiber that keeps you satisfied.
Say ‘No’ to Bloating
While fiber is fantastic, introducing it gradually is the key. If you’re transitioning from a low-fiber diet, diving straight into a whole food plant-based diet might lead to bloating.
Start with low-fiber plant protein sources like tofu, red lentils, and seitan, gradually adding beans and legumes (an extra 1-2 tbsp/day each week).
Read more on why fiber is go great for your health and where to find it in this article.
Clarity of Mind
Brain fog doesn’t affect only vegans, but it’s still one of the common vegan symptoms. So keeping it off is a key to feel great as a vegan. Here’s how you can keep it at bay:
- Take a vitamin B12 supplement (250-500 mcg/day): B12 is crucial for a healthy nervous system (that includes the brain)
- Stay hydrated: drink at least 2L of water per day. Dehydration is one of the most common reasons for the brain fog and getting rid of this unpleasantry can be as easy as drinking a cup of water.
- Limit processed foods like vegan meat and cheese alternatives to 10% of your daily calories. Here’s why: I’m not totally against processed foods, but they’re devoid of nutrients and often are heavy on our digestive system. So brain fog may come as a result of both spending too much energy on digestion and lack of nutrition.
- Get your omega-3 from ground flax seeds (minimum 1 tbsp/day) or algae supplements (I use Nature’s Way 1000 mg/day – code BDA8290 will give you 5% off)
- Treat yourself to a (short) walk: fresh air has this fantastic effect, have you noticed? On the days when I feel sluggish, getting out of home and moving my body saves my day every time.
Read more on how to alleviate brain fog as a vegan in this article.
Keeping Energy Up
Maintain high energy levels by paying attention to these factors:
- Ensure you’re eating enough calories – track your meals in a calorie tracker (like Cronometer). Calories are literally our energy source. If we don’t get enough, we won’t be able
- Opt for whole foods when your stomach feels content with fiber
- Enjoy sweets after meals to prevent blood sugar spikes and withdrawals
Staying within Budget
Healthy vegan eating doesn’t have to break the bank. While superfoods are great, simple, seasonal whole foods are loaded with the nutrients your body craves. You don’t need an abundance of pricey items; your local grocery store likely has an array of budget-friendly, nutrient-rich options.
For instance, I find that making this shifts can save quite some buck while still nourishing your body (at least that’s the case here in Europe):
|Fresh leafy greens
|Frozen leafy greens
|Almonds (as a vitamin E source)
|Cashews (for creamy sauces)
|Barley, brown rice
|White, kidney beans
|Black (beluga) lentils
|Cooked in batch at home legumes
|Small packaged food in a local supermarket
|Buying dry pantry goods in bulk
Other Important Bits for a Successful VEGANUARY
Exploring New Flavors
As you embark on your vegan adventure, don’t be afraid to experiment with spices and herbs. These culinary wonders can transform a simple dish into a flavor sensation. Explore cuisines from around the world, and you’ll discover an array of plant-based delights that will make your taste buds dance. From aromatic curries to zesty stir-fries, the world of vegan cuisine is both vast and exciting!
Embracing Community Support
Transitioning to a vegan lifestyle can sometimes feel like a solo expedition, but it doesn’t have to be. Connect with the vibrant online vegan community through social media platforms, forums, and local meet-ups. Sharing experiences, recipes, and challenges with like-minded individuals can provide valuable insights and a sense of camaraderie. You’re part of a growing movement, and there’s a wealth of support available to you.
Mindful Eating Practices
Veganism goes beyond dietary choices; it encompasses a mindful and compassionate approach to the world around us. Take a moment to savor each bite, appreciating the journey of your food from farm to plate. This mindfulness can foster a deeper connection to your meals and instill a greater appreciation for the nourishment they provide. Consider practicing gratitude for the abundance of plant-based options available to you.
Knowledge is a powerful tool on your vegan journey. Take the time to educate yourself about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, not only for your health but also for the environment and animal welfare. Understanding the impact of your choices can strengthen your commitment and provide a sense of purpose. Dive into documentaries, books, and reputable online resources to broaden your understanding of veganism.
Here’re my top vegan documentaries to watch:
- Game Changers
- Forks Over Knives
- What the Health
I’ve also partially watched Earthlings and would surely suggest it to someone who’s not yet convinced about animal suffering.
Remember, the beauty of Veganuary lies not just in the destination but in the journey itself. Embrace the learning experiences, celebrate the small victories, and know that each plant-based choice you make is making a positive impact on your health, the planet, and the lives of animals. You’re on a remarkable path, and your commitment is truly commendable! Wishing you a fulfilling and joyous Veganuary adventure! 🌱🌍💚
Need a personalized support in your transition to veganism? Wanna ensure you get it all right from the start? Or maybe you wanna address some symptoms, concerns or myths one on one?
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