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When it comes to a sometimes intimidating diet, we like the approach of Marketing Manager for quinoa snack company ‘I Heart Keenwah’ and author of the cookbook, ‘Bake and Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans’ Natalie Slater: “Being vegan isn’t about perfection. I became vegan because I like the way I feel when I’m eating mostly plants. The food is every bit as delicious as non-vegan food but much healthier.”

Here are her top tips on how to transition to a vegan diet:

Don’t worry about what you can’t eat

And get excited about what you CAN eat: Vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and beans can all be prepared in endless ways.

Make sure to stock your pantry with vegan staples

  • Quinoa

  • Bananas

  • Flax meal

  • Chia

  • Canned chickpeas

  • Jackfruit

  • Vegetable Broth

  • Non-dairy milk

  • Nutritional yeast

  • Maple syrup

Commit to making one swap a week

Phase animal products out slowly until you’ve eliminated them from your diet. Swap is the key word here. Replace meat with more veggies or meat alternatives like tofu, seitan, and tempeh.

Replace dairy with store-bought or homemade alternatives

These are all foods that I keep in my kitchen that are inexpensive and nutritious.

Look for vegan snacks

The vegan food market is booming, especially as more consumers are seeking healthier, cleaner foods.

In response, brands are producing more vegan snacks.

Remember, just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself! A quick online search will reveal many innovative and delicious vegan-friendly snacks that you can find at your local grocer or online.

Join the community

Start following vegan Instagram accounts and blogs for recipe inspiration and daily motivation. Look for vegan meet-ups in your area, and join nonjudgmental Facebook groups like ‘What Fat Vegans Eat’, ‘Veganuary’, and ‘This Rawsome Vegan Life’.

Explore

Borrow flavours from vegetable-heavy cuisines like Thai and Indian. Spend some time reading vegan recipe blogs and cookbooks, and try cooking one new dish every week.

Get ready to talk

People are going to ask you questions about your vegan diet, so have some canned replies ready. Here are some of the most common questions vegans get asked:

Q: Where do you get your protein?

A: The same place elephants, rhinoceroses, and cows get their protein — from plants!

Q: What do you eat?

A: Probably a lot of the same things as you, like fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts. Just because I’m vegan doesn’t mean I starve myself — I just eliminate certain foods from my diet.

Q: How can you afford to be vegan? That food is so expensive!

A: Since when are fruits and vegetables, beans and nuts expensive? Actually, the food I eat probably costs less than yours.

Get educated to stay motivated

Watch movies like Forks Over Knives and Earthlings, and read books such as Diet for a New America. The more you know, the more motivated you’ll be.

Be kind to yourself and others

Remember, being vegan isn’t about perfection; it’s about doing the best you can. Be patient with yourself, and once you become a vegan guru, remember that others are still trying. Help them; don’t judge them.

 

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mindbodygreen.com