How to make your vegan diet last
Making the jump to veganism can seem pretty intimidating when you’re just starting out. For one, it’s a complete overhaul of your diet. You have to change up your pantry and say goodbye to some ingredients that used to be staples. New recipes need to be added to your repertoire.
Don’t get me wrong. This is an exciting time, too. You can play with food and flavors in adventurous ways and discover what makes you feel good. It gets a lot easier over time. But new vegans can have trouble sticking with the changes for the long-haul. Here are some problems you might run into and how you can get around them to make your vegan diet permanent.
1) Be kind to yourself.
New vegans can get hung up on the label and put too much pressure on perfection. You’re revamping your diet in a big way. A lot of the food you’re letting go of has been the only food you have ever eaten. That’s a big deal!
Allow yourself to slowly transition and make mistakes. Being a flawless vegan is an unrealistic standard. Go slow and do what feels right as you explore. Over time, you chip away until you find your cravings have totally changed. Who wants all that guilt in the meantime?
2) Don’t let yourself get bored.
I see it all the time. You’re rotating the same few recipes every week and have the whole vegan thing down. And you’re bored out of your mind.
It’s easy to see why. Anyone would get bored having beans and rice for every single meal. At this point, you have a good base. Add on to it. Find some accessible recipes that excite you and try them out. Experiment with spices and flavors. Take a cooking class. There are so many ways to shake things up and get out of the vegan rut.
3) Make it affordable.
There is an unfortunate conception out there that veganism is expensive. It’s understandable why. Some vegan convenience products can have a price tag that is hard to stomach, especially compared to their non-vegan counterparts. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Many vegan grocery products are some of the most affordable ones out there: think beans, rice, and veggies. People shy away from cooking because it’s time-consuming, but if you plan it right you can cook just once or twice a week. Find cookbooks and vegan chefs that are making tasty meals with affordable ingredients to inspire your shopping trips.
4) Remember why you started.
Why did you become a vegan? Was it a book you read? Maybe a way to improve your health? Whatever the reason, it must have been significant to cause such a big change. If you’re lacking motivation, re-read that book. Watch a documentary. There are powerful reasons behind veganism. Find something that reminds you why you started (or even discover a new reason) and you might get that renewed energy.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are some challenges to veganism that need bigger solutions. No matter where you are at in your journey, though, you can work on making your vegan lifestyle permanent by having an adventurous spirit and being loving to yourself and animals.