Becoming Vegan: Tips for Transitioning to a Vegan Lifestyle

Becoming Vegan: Tips for Transitioning to a Vegan Lifestyle

By Valerie Bloom

Vegans are people who do not consume animal products – meat, eggs, dairy, or honey. They also do their best to not use other animal-derived ingredients in household or personal care products. Their goal is to reduce – or even eliminate – animal exploitation in their lives.

People choose to become vegan for different reasons. Most of the time, it is out of concern for the lives of animals, our own health, the state of the earth’s environment, or some combination of those three.

Making the decision to become vegan can feel both empowering and terrifying! How does one make such a huge change? People come to veganism with varying degrees of familiarity with vegan cooking, support from family and friends, and understanding of their nutritional needs.

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to transition to being vegan. Some people become vegan over the course of weeks, months, or years while others become vegan overnight. The best advice is to do what feels right and achievable to you at this point in time. Becoming vegan is an individual journey, and what works well for one person may not ring true for another.

Usually, the first question aspiring vegans have is, “What will I eat?” This is a two-fold question, as it’s important to identify both a person’s nutritional needs and recipes that satisfy their personal tastes.

Regarding nutrition, it is not a particularly complicated issue for most people. The most common sources of vegan protein are soy products (such as tofu and tempeh), beans, nuts, seeds, and wheat gluten (sometimes referred to as wheat-meat or seitan). It is important to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. This advice is equally important to omnivores, but vegans tend to think about it more because their diet is under more scrutiny!

A bit of research online or at the local library should be enough for most new vegans to understand their basic nutritional needs and recognize that if a variety of foods are consumed, they don’t need to obsess over each and every meal. For those with specific health concerns related to diet (e.g., those with celiac disease, diabetes, low iron levels, etc.), it is advisable to consult with a nutritionist who is knowledgeable about veganism. The nutritionist doesn’t have to be vegan but does have to be someone who will actively support the new vegan with sound information and advice.

Figuring out what kinds of meals to prepare can feel overwhelming. But once you have a handful of “go-to” recipes, it will get much easier. It won’t take long before you ask yourself, “What should I have for dinner?” rather than, “What can I make that doesn’t have animal products in it?” Incorporating veganism into the diet will feel natural rather than alien.

Invest in a few vegan cookbooks or visit your local library to borrow vegan cookbooks, and look online to find a wide selection of vegan recipes. When choosing recipes, consider your personal tastes as well as how much time you want to spend preparing food and what kinds of ingredients are readily available at your local supermarket. There are a wide variety of vegan recipes featuring different ethnic cuisines, cooking methods, and ingredients.

Be advised that some products that appear to be vegan may not be vegan at all. There are some “fake meats” and “fake cheeses” that are vegetarian but not vegan. Check all labels for ingredients such as whey, egg whites, casein, and gelatin. You can find extensive lists of animal ingredients by looking online.

While the issue of what to eat each day is the most pressing concern, new vegans face other lifestyle choices as well. For those who own leather, wool, or other animal-derived products, a choice has to be made about what to do with them. Some people donate these items immediately; others cannot afford to buy new vegan items and decide to continue using the non-vegan items they own until they are able to purchase replacement products.

Similar decisions must be made regarding household and personal care items. It may be tempting to simply throw away various cosmetics, lotions, soaps, and cleaning products; but throwing these items in the trash does nothing other than create more waste. It would be preferable to either give these products to someone who will use them or use them yourself and then replace the items with cruelty-free products.

Some people have to decide whether or not they can afford the cruelty-free products, since they often command a higher price. If an aspiring vegan cannot afford the more expensive products, that doesn’t mean they’re not vegan; it is simply a reflection of their economic reality. Vegans do their best to reduce animal exploitation, and our best is not always ideal!

A major challenge can be the lack of support for a new vegan. Some people have supportive families and friends; others have some support, though their families and friends may not really understand their desire to become vegan; others have overtly hostile families and friends.

Seek community and support for your new vegan lifestyle. There are many vegan groups online, but you may also be fortunate enough to live in an area with an active vegan or vegetarian community. These groups can offer information, advice, and camaraderie as you transition to veganism and may continue to play an important role in your life even after you are comfortable and established in your vegan lifestyle.

Becoming vegan is a tremendous journey that benefits you, animals, and the environment. The transition to veganism may include some challenges, but they are all achievable and well worth it. Having some easy-to-prepare, tasty recipes, solid information about your nutritional needs, and a supportive community will make your transition to a vegan lifestyle much easier!

More Articles about Vegan Living

If you are interested in improving your health, helping the environment, and taking a stand against animal cruelty, please visit Vegan Journey for more articles about vegan living by this author.

 

 

 

Phuket Fit Raw Food Detox Review

My girlfriend and I have just completed a Raw Food Detox at Phuket Fit and wanted to write a review to share our experience with you.

The staff at Phuket Fit are true professionals. Everything from a courtesy pick up from the airport to answering questions and truly going above and beyond for their guests.

They are always striving to do an excellent job, which has benefited them in more ways than one. For example some of the reviews published in the news speak volumes about Phuket Fit.

The Raw Food detox program combines vegan foods with detoxification’s, cleanses, oil massages. herbal saunas, Yoga classes and more. The vegan food was delicious. The tasty nut sauces were my favorite. Whether it was the hazelnut, cashew nut or something else, they were added on the side and were always looked forward to.

Some of my favourite raw vegan dishes served at Phuket Fit, were raw pad thai and vegan skews. I also really liked these Green Smoothies that they served. The Green Smoothie includes a variety of different vegetables which are blended. Also added, are Mung Beans and Chai seeds. These are known as “super foods” because of the nutritional punch they pack. All their food was very high in nutrients whilst still being low in fat. I inquired about the ingredients and discovered that they were all organic and sourced locally. The chef who made the Raw food was very knowledgeable and a true master in the kitchen. The way she combined ingredients and came up with original recipes to please us was astounding. We really appreciated her and her great food. We took a cooking course with her on our second to last day and picked up some great tips and recipe ideas. We even got to take the food with us after the class!

The entire Phuket Fit holiday was very much appreciated by both of us and we are committed to going back again in the future. Highly recommended.

Being Vegan

Being vegan used to mean that you would spend half your life checking product labels and travelling miles to find a health-food shop that sold products suitable for you. Even finding a reasonable selection of vegan chocolate was a major hassle, nevermind trying to buy something more unusual like vegan lipbalm or vegan face paint. Well, not so nowadays! Thankfully, the advent of the internet and online shopping has changed everything as there are now a wide selection of online shops that specialise in selling products exclusively suitable for vegans. No longer do you have to make do with a limited selection of vegan products tucked away in the corner of your local health food store. Far from it. Whilst some of these online vegan retailers specialise in certain things, for example vegan confectionery or vegan bodycare products, others sell a much wider range of products altogether. Indeed, some of the exclusively vegan online shops have a range to rival a small supermarket. For example, one such online shop based in the UK, shop vegan, sells everything from vegan vitamins, vegan face paints, clothing, vegan condoms, vegan chocolate, pet treats through to cruelty-free bodycare products such as shower gel, eye cream, deodorant, moisturiser, hand cream and lipbalm. As you can see, in terms of offering a wider choice for cruelty-free shopping and making life easier for those who wish to avoid using animal derived products and ingredients, the Internet has really opened up a whole new world. Some might even point to the advent of convenient online shopping for vegan products as yet another reason why veganism is on the increase, and they might be right. After all, when shopping for animal-free products is this easy it’s it’s certainly only going to encourage more people to shop in this way and to choose a more compassionate and healthier lifestyle.

How Raw Vegan Foods Fight Aging

Wrinkles, fine lines, weakness and stiffness—all just part of the natural aging process that everyone must deal with… right? If you’ve turned on a TV, flipped open a magazine or walked by any retail store’s beauty aisle, then you’ve no doubt seen countless products intended to cover up the signs of aging.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

It may—or may not—be surprising, but the #1 way to fight aging is to live by a raw vegan diet (like this 70 year old woman who looks 35). People who follow this healthy, natural diet age slower than people with unhealthy diets—they have fewer wrinkles, are more fit, and are overall much healthier than their unhealthy diet counterparts. Many men and women in their 50s, 60s and 70s on raw vegan diets have reported people thinking that they are ten, twenty… even thirty years younger than they actually are!

But what is it about the raw vegan diet that makes it such an effective way to curtail the signs of aging? It all comes down to that age-old saying: you are what you eat. Now, some people will age faster than others due to genetics. But what you put into your body, or even what you don’t put into it, can significantly speed up the process of aging. A raw vegan diet is full of foods which are packed with fibers, vitamins, and minerals that all contribute to a healthier, younger looking body. By contrast, many non-vegan cooked foods are full of unhealthy additives, preservatives, chemicals and other ingredients that not only make you feel sluggish, but can actually contribute to faster signs of aging.

Take blueberries, for example. On a raw vegan diet, fresh blueberries are high in antioxidants, which are known to fight free radicals which can cause inflammation and cell damage to your skin. They are also high in Vitamin C, which fights wrinkles and may actually improve your memory. Now compare this to, say, a blueberry pie purchased from a grocery store made from artificial blueberry flavoring—you’ve got high fructose corn syrup, loads of added sugar, artificial colorings and flavorings meant to simulate blueberries, and so on. What benefit do these provide? None. The blueberries, fresh and raw, are the obvious choice.

Greens are another raw vegan food that provides particular anti-aging benefits; the Vitamin K in greens help prevent dark circles under your eyes and even help protect your skin against ultraviolet light, because they are high in lutein and zeathanthin. Compare fresh, delicious raw greens to a bacon and processed cheese salad drenched in store-bought dressing made with tons of sugar and additives. Again, the choice is obvious.

A raw vegan diet can help delay those signs of aging that so many people have come to accept as natural—not knowing that every time they sit down at the table, they are making a choice to help speed up their own aging process. The next time you sit down: make the right choice.

3 Great Health Tips For The Summer

  1. Start Juicing

Juicing is a little different than making smoothies. A juicer doesn’t just blend everything together, it removes all of the fiber. This makes vegetables far easier to drink. If you have tried blending root crops like carrots into a smoothie you will know they are not the easiest thing to drink. When it comes to juicing anything goes. You can pretty much put any vegetable in there and it will taste OK as long as you add something sweet like an apple.

Juicing does cut out the fiber content so you will want to make sure you are getting this elsewhere in your diet. Oats for breakfast and wholewheat bread are good for fiber. You can easily get your “5 a day” with just one glass of juice. Try 3 vegetables and 2 fruits at first but be careful not to add too much fruit as many (like apples) are very high in sugar.

2.  Take Up a Sport or Physical Activity as a Hobby

Lets face it, most of us just don’t enjoy running on a treadmill or lifting weights in a gym. Our intentions are good but we just never make use of those gym memberships. In the UK Brits waste an estimated £37 million a year on unused gym memberships (source- Which.co.uk).

The answer is to find something you enjoy instead. This is easier said than done, but it makes all the difference, especially if you can find a partner to join you. For couples a popular choice is rock climbing. Women can be put off at first because they don’t want to break fingernails or get muscles in their arms. You needn’t worry though because climbers usually have quite slender bodies. Climbers are taught to try and use their legs more than their arms whenever possible, so it is actually a great all over workout.

Another one popular with couples is dancing. Salsa in particular is extremely popular at the moment and is suitable for couples of all ages. Men may need a little cajoling at first but many quickly become hooked. There are many different styles of dancing so the best thing is to take a few classes until you discover the right one for you.

 3.  If All Else Fails Try Self Hypnosis

Self hypnosis is proven to be effective for a wide range of health and emotional issues. Stop smoking hypnosis is well worth trying if you are ready to quit cigarettes. Like with all forms of self hypnosis, you need to have an open mind and be ready to relax and concentrate for the audio sessions to be effective.

If you are having issues with eating then you could try gastric band hypnosis. This imitates the effect of a surgical gastric band. Of course the virtual gastric band is a far easier and less expensive route to take. It can help over-eaters to cut back on unhealthy foods. Hypnosis can also help you to get motivated to exercise, stop drinking too much alcohol and much more. Although not effective on everyone it is well worth trying for the price of a CD or Mp3 download.

Why you Should Introduce Super Foods into your Diet

We have all heard the buzz about so called super foods. The hype is most certainly
deserved in many cases. These are foods which have unusually high levels of vitamins
and other nutritional benefits. In some cases they can help with specific diseases and
other conditions.

Turmeric health benefits are particularly impressive. This is a spice most commonly found
in Indian cuisine. It is said to help with a long list of health issues from cancer to arthritis. It
is most famously known as a powerful anti-inflammatory which can help with hives and
possibly inflammation of the liver. It is best not to consume it raw however. In order to have
it absorb into the blood stream it is advisable to boil the power (or root) for 10 minutes.
Adding oil and pepper can also help with absorption.

One of the most healthy vegetables are beets. This root crop is jam packed with nutrients
and is easily incorporated into salads. It is also the ideal item to use if you prefer juicing
vegetables. Celery is another particularly healthy vegetable which is one of the few foods
that actually makes you loose weight as you eat it.

When it comes to fruits acai berries have been big on health circuits for a good few years
now. This exotic berry is packed with antioxidant properties and is a massive seller. Be
careful when buying canned acai juices though, as they are often made with the less
potent powder and may contain artificial sweeteners.

If you are a fan of smoothies then two things you should include are kale and chia seeds.
Kale is in the cabbage family and is an awesome addition to a fruit smoothie. Chia seeds
are easily added to smoothies, they can be ground down in many blenders before the fruit
is added. Flax seeds are another similar super food which can easily be sneaked in to
smoothies and other dishes.

For snacks the first option is almonds. This is an ideal snack food as it slow-releases
energy. If you feel tired at all during your day, just snack on a few almonds and you will
soon feel better. They also contain large amounts of Vitamin E and manganese. Yogurt is
a fantastic snack food which can also be used for desserts. Never buy sweetened yogurt
as that contains masses of sugar. Instead add the far healthier option of honey (which
itself is a super food in many people’s eyes). Then sprinkle over fruit like cherries,
blueberries and thinly sliced almonds.

You can find more information at Top 10 Super Foods.

Best Methods for Overcoming Chronic Kidney Disease

Because healthcare costs are ridiculously priced, you have to be circumspect about your health today. Kidney diseases have become prevalent, so you better be on your toes to live a healthy life. The chronic kidney disease can make the going extremely tough. In this type of renal disease, the kidneys are damaged, paving the way for the wastes building up into the blood vessels. Complications like anemia, high blood pressure and weak bones are the primary indicators of the renal disease. If the disease is not diagnosed at an earlier stage, then the outcomes can be devastating, with kidney transplant being the only option left by that stage.

Drink Lots of Water
The efficiency of the kidneys can be enhanced by drinking lots of water. Fresh water can help the kidneys throw out the toxins, excess fluids and other wastes. The kidney disease can also pave the way for the kidney stones, so drinking enough water can put you on the right track. Lack of water can cause blockages in the kidneys, leading towards various kidney diseases, including the chronic disease. Dehydration is another cause of kidney disease, so you must be well hydrated all the time.

Knowing Your Family History is Important
For most of the people, kidney disease is primarily genetic. Prior to vying for any treatment method, you need to check out your family history. It can help the surgeon diagnose you properly. If someone in your family chain has kidney disease, or even hypertension or diabetes, then you are at greater risk of encountering the renal disease. If you are genetically prone to the kidney disease, then apart from the services of an experienced kidney surgeon, you also need to change your diet as well.

Follow the Prescription
Several health hazards are indicative of the kidney damage. Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are linked with the renal failure. Enlargement of prostate and infection in the urinary tract are other indicators of the chronic renal disease. Therefore, if you are suffering from any of the mentioned diseases, then you must see your naturopath or the expert kidney surgeon at the earliest.

Avoid Hypertension
If you are intending to overcome the kidney disease, then you have to avoid hypertension and high blood pressure at all the costs. Hypertension is one of the major contributors of the chronic kidney disease, so you must find out ways keeping you cool, calm and composed all the time. The normal blood pressure is 120/80. Persistent blood pressure readings of 140/90 are indicative of patients with excessive hypertension. Natural ways such as healthy eating and regular exercise can help you big time. Other than that, medications such as the Angiotensin Receptor Blockers and the Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors are ideal for you to overcome hypertension leading towards renal failure.

Vitamix Turboblend VS in Action

The Vitamix Turboblend VS in action. It’s currently “liquifying” a mango, beet, kale, and a banana with almond milk. What a pretty pink smoothie!
The smoothie ingredients:
Almond milk
Beet
Mango
Banana
Kale

Smoothie Ingredients

The Smoothie Ingredients

 

The finished smoothie after being mixed in the Vitamix

pink smoothie

Perfectly Pink & Delicious Smoothie!

Focus on Whole Foods

I’ve let myself get a little lax when it comes to being vegan. I’ve vowed to get that back on track starting today. I really need to focus on whole foods.

What exactly are whole foods anyway? Wikipedia defines it as: Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. Whole foods typically do not contain added ingredients, such as salt, carbohydrates, or fat. Examples of whole foods include unpolished grains, beans, fruits, vegetables and non-homogenized dairy products.

So there you have it, bread and cheese is not on the list! 🙂

The term is often confused with organic food, but whole foods are not necessarily organic, nor are organic foods necessarily whole.

My weakness is breads and cheese and neither of those is any good. My weight has climbed up a pound too. So starting today it’s back to only natural whole foods. No more breads and no more cheese.

This morning after my run I made myself a smoothie.

Almond milk
1 Banana
1 Peach
2 Kale Leaves
1 TBS Hemp seeds
1 cup of Ice

Some good stuff!

Here’s to living clean and whole foods.

Maca Root Powder

I had ordered some Maca Root Powder a while back.  The powder has a strong taste.  To me it is similar to molasses.  I was not a big fan.  But Maca has some pretty good nutrients going in its favor.

It is made up of

60-75% carbohydrates
10-14% protein
8.5% dietary fiber
2.2% fats.

Maca is rich in the dietary minerals calcium and potassium, and contains the essential trace elements iron, iodine, copper, manganese, and zinc as well as almost 20 fatty acids including linolenic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acids, and 19 amino acids. Maca also contains selenium and magnesium.

So quite a punch for that root! I have read that it helps with physical endurance.  We shall see.

I’ve begun adding in a teaspoon to my morning smoothies.  I will eventually work the amount up as I become more accustomed to it strong flavor.

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin