Woman eating a fruit salad

Tips for First-Time Vegans



Deciding and committing to a vegan lifestyle is a massive step but more and more people are turning to veganism either for personal beliefs or for health reasons this year. According to an industry report from Report Buyer entitled ‘Top Trends in Prepared Foods 2017’, “6% of US consumers now claim to be vegan, up from just 1% in 2014”.

For first-time vegans it can be a rough transition. You are essentially changing your entire eating and drinking habits. The best way to cope with the transition is to arm yourself with knowledge. Here are just some tips for first-time vegans:

Tip 1: Know why you’re going vegan 

It’s important to know and ask yourself why you want to be vegan. Is it for religious reasons? Is it for health reasons? Is it from personal beliefs? Knowing the reason behind the decision could make the difference.

Tip 2: Get professional advice

A few years ago a well-known vegan blogger, Tasha at the Voracious Vegan, posted a message on her now defunct blog. She told her readers she was leaving veganism. It drew the ire of many of her readers. However, she didn’t decide on this impulsively. This decision came after weeks and weeks of illness and at the urging of her doctor. Her health slowly returned once she gradually introduced meat products into her diet.

If you have a pre-existing illness or have worries, it’s a good idea to consult with your GP and a nutritionist to see what foods you can substitute so you get your protein, B Vitamins and etc. at optimum levels.

Tip 3: Ease in to it

Don’t go cold turkey (or should we say cold tofurky?). This is a life-changing decision that needs time. One of the things we can suggest is to adapt a vegetarian lifestyle first. Becoming a lacto-ovo vegetarian means you’re omitting all meat products except dairy and eggs from your diet. Then slowly omit cheese, milk, eggs, honey, and etc.

Another way of approaching it is to try being vegan for a month. This is so you can ascertain whether or not this is something you are willing to commit long-term.

One of the things the newly vegan will tell you is that they often found themselves never really feeling “full” or that they were always hungry. The connection between fat and satiety and protein and satiety are well-studied. In short, you need a little bit of fat in your diet. Learn to replace animal fat with a different type of fat (especially the good kind) from avocados, nuts and seeds.

Tip 4: Find a support group

Don’t go at it alone. Find fellow vegans in your city and meet up for tips, recipes and just talk about your shared experiences.

Tip 5: There are plenty of vegan options for dining out

Thankfully a lot of restaurants now provide great vegan options besides the usual salad. Chipotle has the Sofritas – a braised tofu wrap with poblano and chipotle peppers. A few years ago, Wendy’s was testing the Black Bean Burger at select locations and Starbucks launched a “veganized” breakfast menu.

Always ask your servers what vegan options they have and what they would recommend. For other restaurants, you may need to “hack” your order. ”Veganize” a Taco Bell taco by ordering fresco style and change the beef to beans. Know that there are food options that are “accidentally vegan” like Taco Bell’s Cinnamon Twists. In fact, there’s a whole slew of “accidentally vegan” foods we didn’t even know about.

Why limit yourself to chain restaurants when there’s literally a world of vegan foods out there. Use Happy Cow, a restaurant listing site that lists all the vegan and vegetarian restaurants in your area. Try Etiopian cuisine. Injera is a slightly sour flatbread made of teff flour and is almost always vegan. It’s delicious with Misir Wot or Spicy Red Lentil Stew. Indian cuisine also has a wealth of vegan dishes like poppadoms, vegetable currys and vegetable pakoras. But before you order, ask your server if the veggie dish was prepared with Ghee or not. Ghee is a staple in Indian cooking and is clarified butter (definitely not vegan).

If you’re really missing the taste of a juicy piece of steak and are hankering for a burger, try to check if your city has the Impossible Burger. The Impossible Burger patty is 100% vegan and is made with potato and wheat proteins. Tasters have remarked at how close they taste and look like the real deal. Just substitute the burger bun with lettuce or a vegan bun to make it vegan.

Tip 6: Be creative with your food and expand your food horizons

Cook more at home and try to experiment with ingredients like seitan (made of wheat gluten), tempeh (a fermented soy product) and different types of tofu. Learn to substitute certain ingredients you normally use like butter (use vegetable oils or margarine though some margarines may have trace amounts of dairy), eggs (silken tofu), cheese (Daiya has a good vegan cheese or choose cashew cheese), milk (try soy, almond or rice milk) and etc. Add more spices to your cooking to boost flavor. Try out unconventional ingredients like jackfruit and banana blossoms. Jackfruit is a large spiky-looking tropical fruit. This versatile ingredient is used ripe or unripe. When ripened, it tastes like candy and often served fresh but when unripe, it almost has the same texture as pork. Try to make this Jackfruit Pulled “Pork recipe from AllRecipes if you can find it in your local supermarket. Also, make sure to save the seeds. They’re great toasted or boiled (tastes a little like boiled peanuts) and they are a great source of protein (100 grams of jackfruit seeds has 7 grams of protein). Banana blossoms can be found in some Asian specialty groceries and they can be battered and fried crisp similar to a vegan fish and chips.

Tip 7: Don’t be so hard on yourself

You’ll need time and you’ll need to get used to your new lifestyle. You’ll fail and that’s ok. Just because you give in to temptation, doesn’t mean it’s over. Try again tomorrow and keep on at it until it feels like second nature.

Are you ready to become vegan? We recommend detoxing first with Simply Slender before you start. Simply Slender is a premixed master cleanse concentrate with additional superfoods like Noni, Green Tea, Acai, Goji and Mangosteen juices. Just add 2 tablespoons of Simply Slender to 8 ounce water and enjoy the drink throughout the day. You can also choose to enjoy small portions of fruits and veggies with your Simply Slender drink. Start your journey to a better and healthier you today!

References

“Top Trends in Prepared Foods 2017: Exploring trends in meat, fish and seafood; pasta, noodles and rice; prepared meals; savory deli food; soup; and meat substitutes.” - Report Buyer
“Ordering Vegan at Taco Bell.” - PETA
“Wondering What Snacks Are Vegan?” - PETA
“Vegan Starbucks: Your Guide on What to Order and How.” - PETA
“6 Ways to be Vegan at Chipotle.” - PETA
“Vegetarianism In America.” - Vegetarian Times, April 16, 2008
“Vegan Ethiopian Recipe: Misir Wot (Spicy Red Lentil Stew).” - Almost Vegan In Paradise
“FAQ.” - Impossible Foods
“Interview With an Ex-Vegan: Tasha.” - Let Them Eat Meat, February 6. 2011
“Does Fat or Protein Make You Full?” - Livestrong, October 3, 2017
“Jackfruit Pulled "Pork" Recipe.” - Allrecipes, July 14 2017
“Nutrition in Boiled Jackfruit Seeds.” - Livestrong, October 3, 2017
“Becoming Vegan: 12 Tips from the Experts” - Reader's Digest
“The 11 Yummiest Vegan Foods.” - Shape Magazine, November 1, 2012
“30 Foods You Probably Didn't Know Were Vegan.” - Spoon University, 31 August 31, 2016
“10 Must-Read Tips If You're Thinking About Going Vegan” -  SELF, September 13, 2016
“5 Tips for Going Vegan.” - The Huffington Post , June 4, 2013
“100 Quick Vegan Diet Tips.” - The Friendly Fig, September 10, 2017