If you love animals and are looking to make a diet change, consider becoming a vegan. It not only saves the animals that you love, it can also be a great health benefit.
A vegan is similar to a vegetarian, but while vegetarians avoid meat (beef, pork, poultry, etc.), a vegan avoids all products derived from animals. This includes meat and things like milk and eggs. The staple diet for vegans usually includes: fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. A vegan diet is believed to boost your energy and it can reduce your risk of serious medical conditions like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. A vegan diet reduces pollution caused by the meat industry and saves you money (around $4,000) simply by cutting meat from your food budget.
The number of vegans in America continues to grow. According to a 2008 study published by the Vegetarian Times, there were one million American adult vegans. Now, according to a 2012 poll from the Vegetarian Resource Groups there are now millions of adult vegans in the U.S. (between two and nearly seven million adults). Though this diet is becoming increasingly popular there are those that are still apprehensive. But, contrary to popular belief being a vegan doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste, variety, or your favorite meals. All you need is the right research.
So, consider these Mindful tips for vegan beginners:
- Talk to your doctor. Before you make any drastic dietary changes it’s always best to talk to your doctor. You’ll need personal guidance and your doctor can definitely provide that.
- Research. Doing proper research is important for vegan beginners. Consider visiting vegan websites, reading specialty magazines, or talking with a vegan to acquire tips. PETA offers a vegetarian/vegan starter kit online. They offer tons of information like vegetarian and vegan transition tips and testimonies from celebrity vegetarians and vegans.
- Know what to avoid. Be knowledgeable about the foods that vegans do not eat. That includes: meat, dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, and butter), eggs/ mayonnaise, honey, white sugar, beer, bread, marshmallows, and some salad dressings. Learn more about the reason behind these vegan faux pas here.
- New and old meals. Finding new meals to eat is one of the most exciting parts about starting a new diet. Try eating at health conscious restaurants or try picking up vegan cookbooks. If you start missing some of your old favorites, consider transforming your old meals into new vegan favorites with faux meat and dairy products
- Give yourself a break. Completely changing your diet takes time. So, take it in steps. Consider eating vegan dishes on the weekdays and eating regular meals on the weekends until you get the hang of it. Remember don’t give up! If you accidently go off your vegan meal plan, just take a breath and try to do better at the next meal.