I stood in my kitchen looking at my now almost-empty fridge and had no idea what I was going to eat or cook. It was the morning after I had watched the documentary Forks Over Knives and thrown away all of the meat, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and eggs in my refrigerator. This was a huge change for me, as I had been eating some kind of animal food at every meal.
I have to admit that the next few months were rocky, as I wandered the grocery store aisles searching for plant-based options and carefully reading ingredients, experimented with new foods, and struggled to find recipes that were easy to make. (Fortunately, my husband was very supportive, even on the nights when the meals did not turn out quite like I had hoped.)
To help you on your transition to a vegan diet and lifestyle, here are four simple steps I learned during mine.
- Set your intention and be mindful of your choices.
Take a few minutes today and think about why you’ve decided to take this journey. You can write it down in a journal or create a note on your computer or phone.
Setting an intention and making a commitment to yourself early on can make the difference between continuing down the path versus stopping and turning around after only a few steps.
Change can be hard: there are new things to learn, old habits to break, unfamiliar patterns to establish. Be open to new ideas and new ways of looking at yourself and the world. If resistance comes up, sit with it and ask why it’s there. There are no right or wrong answers; this is your unique journey of discovery.
- Swap out common animal-based foods for plant-based options.
There are so many delicious alternatives nowadays, so on your next few trips to the grocery store pick up some of the following plant-based foods:
- Milk = Rice, almond, soy, hemp, or flax milk
- Butter = Earth Balance plant-based butter
- Mayonnaise = Veganaise or Beyond Mayo
- Cheeses, ice creams, and yogurts = Look for brands like Daiya, So Delicious, and Tofutti
- Eggs = Ener-G egg replacer
- Meat = Check out Beyond Meat’s chicken-like strips, sausages from Field Roast and Tofurky, and veggie burgers from Sunshine Burgers and Dr. Praeger’s
- Select trigger points.