There are ways and ways to go vegan.
All ways are good – and if you pick the way that fits you best (in terms of your character; the speed you feel you can move at, and where you’re at right now with regards to how much you currently eat animal products), you’ll stand more chance of succeeding.
So, before you go vegan, WHICHEVER way you do it; do these things.
Then, think about HOW you are going to do it.
Are you someone who likes to face a challenge head-on, and who has a track record of being successful at overnight change? Then number 4 is your bag. Go for it baby!
Are you currently eating a standard American (or European) meat and dairy heavy diet, and have no idea how on earth you’re going to make the transition to this amazing cruelty-free, planet-friendly lifestyle you’ve learned so much about? Worry not. Number 2 is for you. It might take longer but you’ll get there in the end. Just remember the hare and the tortoise!
Are you a whizz in the kitchen, adventurous with food, LOVE all the incredible plant-based meals you’ve previously tried – and as long as food tastes good, you’re happy? Then Number 1 is where it’s at for you!
Do you feel you’re not so bothered about the meat, but might have issues with cheese? Try Number 3. Once the meat is out of the way, you can work on the dairy.
These are all the ways to go vegan:
1. Crowd Out The Bad
I definitely recommend this way if you’re a foodie and love cooking, but feel a little overwhelmed at the idea of going vegan overnight. What you do here is not focus on what you’re eliminating, but on all the gorge new foods that have been added to your life and are now making up your meals.
It’s similar to cold turkey, but you’re framing it in a different way so that you don’t feel intimidated. While you might not have thrown all your animal products out, you want to make sure you’re eating so much great food that you don’t even think to reach for them.
Have oatmeal for breakfast; add ground flax and fruits and you’ll not have room for anything else. Find recipes that contain whole grains, beans, starchy veg (sweet potatoes, squash) and tubers (potatoes), as well as veg (here’s a good resource) – trust me, you won’t want a piece of cheese after these meals! Have pieces of fruit when you feel like it throughout the day. Drink enough water. You get the picture. If you eat enough good stuff, you won’t have room left for animal products.
2. Step By Step
There’s nothing wrong with eliminating one thing at a time. What matters most is that you’re successful in the end, and if this is the way you feel most comfortable transitioning, this is the way that’s more likely to work.
So, for example, you could start by eliminating beef. Then chicken. Then fish. Then cow’s milk. Then eggs. Give it a couple of weeks each time – make sure you fill up the space that particular thing took up with yummy food – then eliminate something else. You’ll get there.
3. Vegetarian, Vegan
This is a classic- lots of vegans were vegetarian first. If you’re somewhere in the middle, i.e. not that hung up on meat, and you love your veg already but just feel you need a little time to get used to no meat before moving on to being 100% plant-based; then this way will likely work for you as it’s worked for tons of others.
4. Cold Turkey
To have the BEST chance of succeeding with going cold turkey, do your research first. And prep, prep, prep. So the day when you think, ‘that’s it, from now on I’m vegan’ your cupboards and refrigerator will be packed with luscious treats, fresh produce, grains, beans, nuts and seeds, dark chocolate, coconut based ice-creams etc.
Even though these are pretty much all the ways to go vegan, they are fluid and can be combined or melded:
For example, a combo:
You can become vegetarian, and then reduce each dairy product one by one.
You could try the ‘step-by-step’ route and ‘crowding out the bad’ at the same time – this could well mean quicker progress.
Whoever you are, and where ever you’re at, there IS a way to suit you.
It’s not one way or the…um…highway.