"It takes nothing way from a human to be kind to an animal" - Joaquin Phoenix
Ok, so you’re thinking about going Vegan.
Here are a few tips for getting started with a vegan diet:
Keep An Open Mind To Dishes
One of the best parts of becoming a vegan is opening up a whole new world of cuisine possibilities. Whether it’s trying Jack Fruit for the first time or diving into a few exotic Indian dishes – you need to keep an open mind for food options. We’ve created a handful of great recipes to get you started.
Clean Out Your Fridge & Pantry
Transitioning to a more Vegan diet starts by looking in your Fridge & Pantry and removing the things that are counter to this move. You might have a fridge filled with meat products – it’s time to discard these items so you don’t get tempted in times of weakness.
Get Ready To Do Your Own Cooking
From cookbooks to YouTube videos, your ability to cook up a mean Tofu Scramble or Curry Quinoa bowl is going to be taken to a whole new level. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is not setting aside enough time to prepare and make my recipes. It always takes 10-15 minutes longer than you predict.
Don’t Be Ashamed Of This Decision
When I go to events and people ask me Why I’m having the vegetarian option; I’m not ashamed of my answer. Sure, it often opens up a handful of silly questions but don’t be ashamed of your decision to eat less meat, harm less animals, help save the planet and be healthy.
Pack Food For Road Trips
When you hit the road, make sure you have a few vegan snacks in your bag. It’s easy to go on a trip and as soon as your stomach starts growling be desperate for something to eat. Don’t let this happen. Always be prepared to ensure that these moments don’t push you to do something you’ll regret.
Don’t Stress Over Little Mistakes
If you accidentally eat a potato that had butter on it, don’t stress. You’re going to run into many scenarios where you eat a thing or two that isn’t vegan. It’s not the end of the world. You’re human. You made a mistake and you can only use this mistake to learn how to be better in the future.
Here are a few of the many benefits of going vegan:
|Nutrition Benefits||Disease Prevention||Physical Benefits||Healthy Eating||Societal Benefits|
|Reduced saturated fats||Lower Cholesterol||Healthier Skin||More organic foods||Less blood on your hands|
|Rich carbohydrates||Stable blood pressure||Weight Loss||More raw foods||Decrease animal cruelty|
|More antioxidants||Reduce colon cancer||Lower Body Mass Index||More gluten free foods||Fewer resources to grow plants than animals|
|High in fiber||Reduce Prostate Cancer||Add 3-6 years to your life||No processed meat||Reduce your carbon footprint|
|Increased vitamin C||Fights Type 2 diabetes||Increased energy||Forces healthier options when eating out||Positively impact global food supply|
|The right amount of protein||Prevent Osteoporosis||Fewer migraines||Take more lunches to work||Less air pollution|
But, where will I get all my protein?
Oh that doomed question that all vegans eventually encounter; because if you don’t eat meat, there’s absolutely no way to get enough protein into your body.
A lot of the foods that vegans eat are actually extremely rich in protein. For a typical day, a man between the ages of 19-70, only needs around 56g of protein, 46g of protein for a woman. While that sounds like a lot, let’s look at a normal day for a typical vegan.
For a vegan breakfast, one might have two slices of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, a glass of soymilk and some soy yogurt. That right there is almost half your daily protein intake for a woman (26 grams!). For lunch, she may eat a veggie burger and for dinner some spaghetti. She’s already at 47g of protein!
If you aren’t feeling that meal plan, let’s talk alternative forms of protein. As far as legumes go, most options are extremely high in protein. Legumes are now your best friends! This includes lentils, edamame (YUM!), kidney beans, pinto beans, chick peas (try roasting them with salt & pepper), lima beans, etc. The list goes on and on. All of these protein sources have 13g or more per cup!
Don’t forget your nuts!
Nuts are a great snack and are very rich in protein. ¼ of a cup of peanuts will give you around 9g of protein, while ¼ of almonds provide around 8g. Cashews and brazil nuts are also a good choice. Seeds are rich in protein as well! Next time at the salad bar, don’t skip the sunflower (6g/¼ cup) or chia seeds (5g/2tbsps).
Let’s not forget how rich vegetables are in protein. Spinach (5g), corn (5g), broccoli (4g), brussel sprouts (4g), and asparagus (3g) are all awesome, and might I say, delicious options.
Lastly, and definitely not least, are spreads. If you aren’t obsessed with spreads yet, you have no idea what you’re missing! Tahini (8g), almond butter (7g), cashew butter (6g), peanut butter (8g) and hummus (4g) to name a few! Don’t skip this aisle of Trader Joe’s next time, you won’t be sorry! Cheers to protein!