Sunday, September 2, 2018

10 Tips for Going Vegan

I've been 100% WFPB vegan for more than a week!  I feel great (I haven't needed a mid day nap for five days!  I did a 10k yesterday with no practice and could have done another 10k right afterwards!) and it has also cut our grocery bill a bit too.  So while I am in no way an expert at this vegan stuff, here are several things I have learned:

  1. I think it is better to switch over to a WFPB diet a bit more gradually than I did (I went 100% vegan one day which my intestines are still unhappy about).  This way you can transition slowly (maybe go all vegan with breakfast for a week then the next week vegan breakfast and lunch, then the third week go fully vegan).
  2. Get rid of all unhealthy breakfast food first (toss fake syrup, opened breakfast cereal, etc).  For unopened stuff you can always donate it to a food pantry or someone you know who would eat it.  Replace all of your unhealthy breakfast food with whole, healthy foods (fruit, steel cut oats, almond milk, etc).  The next week do the same for lunch, the third week do the same for dinner.  
  3. Don't buy any unhealthy food!  Keeping unhealthy snacks on hand "just in case" defeats the purpose.  With switching over gradually you can eat some of the lunch and dinner stuff you have before getting rid of the leftovers, but from the beginning you don't want to buy any more unhealthy food to add to your pantry even though you are still lax on lunch and dinner.
  4. Make an effort to try a new vegan recipe every day.  There is a steep learning curve for making vegan food for most people (how do you cook without milk and eggs and white flour???).  Unfortunately even well reviewed vegan recipes can be pretty awful so you have to try a lot of recipes to find the stuff you like.
  5. Try to stick to as much natural food as possible.  There are a lot of vegan foods out there that are full of oil and salt and sugar which aren't really healthy despite the word 'vegan' on it.  Fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, lentils, oats, beans, spices...stuff that looks just like it did when it came off the tree/bush/plant is the best food.  Plus highly processed vegan foods are usually really expensive.
  6. Shop everywhere for food.  You don't have to do all of your shopping at Whole Foods!  We get a lot of food from the 99 cent store (produce, bags of beans, and legumes), a lot of food from ethnic stores (all sorts of produce and whole grains, nuts, seeds, spices), some stuff from Costco (a big bag of chia seeds, good bread, good almond butter, etc).  Ideally you would grow some of your own food and forage for wild edibles as well!
  7. Stay psyched for this change by watching videos on Netflix ('Forks Over Knives', 'What the Health', 'Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead') as well as on YouTube (stuff by Dr Gregor, Dr Fuhrman, etc).  These shows are both informational and inspirational.
  8. Try to find new foods that you like from a lot of different cultures--Indian is my favorite but many ethnic cuisines focus heavily on vegan stuff (warning: it may take your taste buds a bit of time to catch up with your new diet!).  Hubby tried vegan hamburgers and vegan hot dogs because he wanted the taste of meat.  He found that there really isn't the taste of meat in things that aren't, well, meat, so changing to new and different healthy foods is a good idea.
  9. Cook in bulk.  Cooking real food takes a lot longer than popping junk food in the microwave.  Soups/stews/hummus/salad with a dozen things in it, all of these things take a while to prep, and cook in the case of soups and stews, but these items are also great for bulk cooking so that you don't have to actually cook every day.  I make a huge salad that lasts for three days, I freeze leftover soups and stews, I make a big batch of hummus and use it on everything (as a sandwich spread, as a dip, on baked potatoes, etc).
  10. I think mindset is the most important part of this.  With everything I eat, I tell myself it is for the health and betterment of my body.  Instead of feeling deprived (I'll drink a healthy smoothie but I really want a Starbucks frappuccino), I look at the way I will look and feel (healthy=slimmer, more energetic, clearer thinking, unhealthy=headaches, need a nap, sluggish in mind and body).


  1. So many people I know are vegan or went vegan after watching What The Health. I haven't seen it, but I just know this diet is not for me because it's too much food preparation that I do not have the time or patience for. Fresh food goes bad in my fridge way too often. I buy mostly frozen veggies for that reason and stock up when they are on sale. I know, it's terrible, but unless or until someone else in my little family decides they want to cook the meals, there we are. lol. If I lived alone, I could probably do it more easily, but I have a hubby and daughter that like meat. It would have to be a family decision to do this and everyone would have to pitch in. Right now I don't see that happening.

    1. I totally understand! When I am working I can barely handle take out, so the amount of food prep for all vegan homemade food would be difficult. Plus hubby still likes his meat occasionally. The only problem I have is eating out--everything has butter or eggs or milk in it!