If youve been considering turning vegan, you're probably riddled witha billion questions. First things first, lets try and understand the philosophy behind veganism.Vegans dont eat meat, fish, poultry or any other products that come from animals. This includes not consuming dairy products such as milk, butter and cheese. By extension of this philosophy, vegans also abstain from using animal products or by-products. In essence, veganism is against the use of animals for food, clothing, shelter or entertainment. Vegans do not use leather wallets, shoes, belts, beeswax or silk. Before taking the plunge, here are a few questions you should seriously ask yourself.
1. Why Do You Want To Be Vegan?
There are three main reasons people choose to turn vegan: Environmental, Health and Animal Welfare. Think carefully about what drives you to make this change in your life. Most people who contact me want to become vegan for the health benefits, says Vanessa Croesman, photographer and recipe developer for www.VeganFamilyRecipes.com, who with her husband has been a vegan for three years. However, it's important to remember that being vegan doesn't automatically mean being healthy. Oreos, Swedish Fish, and Doritos for example are vegan. If you eat these all day, you obviously won't be doing your body any good, she explains. If you are on a vegan diet and want to be healthy, it is important to research what one can eat and what you can restrict.If you want to turn vegan to promote environment protection or animal welfare, you should know what products use animals or undergo animal testing. Apart from food and clothing, you must also look at your cleaning products and cosmetics. It's a comprehensive way of life, designed to remove your role and support for the killing of animals, and it governs many choices that you make, from the food you purchase, to the clothes you wear, to the companies you support, says Jeff Taraday, Wellness Coach and author of www.theplanteater.com, Nutrition Advisor and board member of Groceryships.
2. How Convinced Are You About Your Decision?
Veganism is not just a change in diet and not giving up a few products, but a complete change of lifestyle. It requires you to take difficult decisions and be different. If you want to be a vegan, you must be prepared to make serious changes to your life and live by a whole new philosophy. Being a vegan may not be for you, if you are considering it only because someone suggested it to you or because you want to be different from the people around you.
3. Are You Willing To Be Different?
Many actively want to be non-conformists while others are not big on standing out in a crowd. If you were to become vegan, you will be among the minority at a party or family dinners. The food served will be mainly for the meat-eaters and you will find yourself searching for anything on the menu that doesnt include things that used to once walk; even simple things such as cheese, yogurt and baked goodies that include butter and eggs.You will be bombarded with questions about your preferences and you will find yourself defending your choices. Making this choice would also lead to you not being able to eat at a lot of restaurants, which could restrict or come in the way of your social life and demand that you dedicate more time to cooking and planning your meals well in advance.
4. Do You Have Deficiencies?
Meals without meat may be healthy in a lot of ways, but it could also lead to or add to certain deficiencies such as Vitamin B12 that comes from animal products or omega-3 fatty acids that come from seafood and calcium that comes from eggs. Consult an expert or a physician and start supplements to avoid deficiencies. It also helps to research plant-based foods that have more of these elements.
Vegans Share Their Tips Based On Their Personal Experience
Taking the decision to turn vegan overnight may not be for everyone and can be an extremely difficult commitment to stick to. Here are ways you can start and gradually reach your goal or decide that its not meant for you.
PS: Head to our Foodsection for healthy recipes and thelatest food trends.Here are some more recipes and tips for a Vegan Diet
Ready To Go Vegan? Great Idea! But Think It Through Clearly
- My process was extremely gradual, says Sahara Ketabi, a certified Holistic/Sports/Ayurvedic Nutritionist, whose upcoming book Eat Right For Your Mind-Body Type gives a vegan approach to Ayurveda, the world's oldest health system. She says, I began by cutting out red meat, then chicken, then dairy, then eating sushi every once in a while. The more plant-based I ate, the better I felt, so I let my intuition be my guide.\\"
- But if you dont feel like cutting out animal products from your life entirely, that is perfectly fine. If you aren't really ready to go completely vegan, start with small diet changes first. Leave out dairy products or eggs, then gradually omit other non-vegan food groups. Alternatively, start with buying only vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics and toiletries, says Vanessa Croesman.