When someone said they were a "vegan" 3-5 years ago, they opened themselves up to an endless foray of criticism and often ended up being the brunt of many jokes. However, times have changed, and when someone says they're a vegan, people hardly bat an eyelid. With so much information out there on the health benefits of veganism, it would be unsurprising if you, yourself, are thinking of making a shift towards this new dietary trend. Here are 4 key tips from experts interviewed by the Reader's Digest, on how to successfully make the transition.
1. Think about starting quietly
When the things that you do are constantly under the scrutiny of others, the pressure to stick to it or to do well in it can take away from the joy factor. "Don't announce what you are doing; focus on yourself and being conscious of your surroundings, body, and food addictions first," said the Vegan Vine partner and four-time NBA champion, John Salley. "Be still and strong in your ability to control your own life."
2. See it as an evolution
When starting out as a vegan, "people get so caught up in rules, they become anxious," says Terry Hope Romero, author of the book Vegan Eats World. "Relax and learn to love to cook, explore new cuisines, and be adventurous with food. Most importantly, be easy on yourself. Don't view a vegan lifestyle as the finish line, but as an evolving process of conscious eating." The Vegenista blogger Melissa Bechter says, "As my commitment to a cruelty-free lifestyle became stronger than my cravings, I found that eventually I lost my taste for animal-based foods."
3. Be resourceful
There's so much information out there about becoming a vegan. Indeed, Googling "going vegan" brings forth 40,900,000 results.The Reader's Digest interviewed experts that recommended platforms from blogs (Lunch Box Bunch, FatFree Vegan Kitchen) to non-forceful books (Main Street Vegan, Eating Animals) to groups that connect you with vegan mentors (Vegan Month). Ashayla Patterson told the Reader's Digest to tell anyone looking to convert to, "[Start] with film documentaries because seeing real people and their stories is often more compelling than reading about the virtues of veganism." Netflix have a series of film documentaries including Vegucated, Forks Over Knives, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.
4. Change the way you shop
There are many staples to a strong vegan diet including nuts, grains and beans which also last for ages when purchased in large quantities. Bechter recommended that new vegans find a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture); go shopping at farmers' markets just before they shut for reduced prices; in addition to going to VeganCuts.com for daily deals and discounts on vegan food and lifestyle products. Many vegan shopping tips are to be discovered in the book Eat Vegan on $4 a Day, by Ellen Jaffe Jones, or located at the site Plant Based on a Budget.