Empowering the Switch to a Vegan Lifestyle
Melanie Blake, Certified Plant-Based Nutrition Coach & Vegan Educator
Here are the 3 most common questions I get asked about going vegan:
Why do I feel such resistance to this change?
If you’re choosing to switch to a plant-based diet for health, it may be more challenging initially. Most all of us are addicted to the foods we grew up on and of course, we loved them. When we break it down what we are really addicted to are the spices, herbs, and sauces we put on our food, the fat, the texture, and the way the food is cooked. We can replicate the foods we grew to love with other available foods that can mimic the ‘meats.’ As a new vegan or plant-based eater, we can make this new lifestyle a positive experience, an awakening, a new exciting beginning, and not one of deprivation. Your taste buds will change and you will begin to taste food and enjoy food in a whole new exciting way. Your new lifestyle consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds predominantly and which make endless and delicious meals.
What do vegans eat?
Everything and anything minus animal products and today everything is available in a vegan form. As more and more people learn about the advantages of eating vegan and plant-based, more and more companies, restaurants and food outlets are offering vegan food.
What do I do with the non-vegan items I have that I no longer want to use?
You may consider donating the animal products you have on hand to a food bank or a friend or neighbor. I recommend starting completely clean and diving into this new lifestyle. If you fall off the wagon, don’t give up. Hop back up and begin again. Don’t berate yourself or think: I’ve made a mistake, this is too hard, I can’t do this... Just start again. It’s far more difficult to break our habits and addictions if we keep allowing ourselves the harmful foods we are used to eating and which we may crave. Taking baby steps and not switching out your pre-Vegan foods will make it harder to stop your cravings for foods you’ve eaten all your life. Most people find dairy the most difficult food to give up, due to its chemically addictive hormones, such as casomorphin and estrogen. If a smoker or someone addicted to drugs were given permission to have a fix once a week while they were detoxing, the cravings would not cease and the addiction would be prolonged. This is why it’s easier to dive straight in. The first step we need to take is to stock our pantry, refrigerators, and freezers with the right foods. This is key to our success and will help to avoid making unhealthy food choices on a whim.