If you’re thinking about going vegan, I have two pieces of advice. First, do it. Secondly, don’t make the mistakes I did.
expect it to immediately be awesome
Your body goes through a lot of changes when you switch your diet and that process doesn’t always feel great. Think about it. If you’ve been eating the same way for a long period of time and suddenly you eat completely differently, there’s going to be a shock to your system. I’m not saying you’ll feel bad, but if you have a weird feeling that you can’t quite figure out, don’t worry. There is a notion in the plant-based community of “Go vegan! You’ll instantly become a superhuman!” and in my experience, it doesn’t work that way. Like anything else, results come with time. Yes, it is awesome, but only after your body has had time to adjust.
have no vegan recipes on hand
You know what sucks? Having no idea what to cook because you’re vegan now and you didn’t find any recipes and you’re starving, so it feels like the world is ending. Yeah, not fun. Before you transition, select a variety of recipes and stock your kitchen. There are so many amazing recipes online to choose from, so this part should be easy, fun and save you from a hangry breakdown.
try to overhaul your diet
It’s very tempting to think that because you’re going vegan, you should take this opportunity to also cut out refined sugar and oils, or shake all your unhealthy eating habits and vow to never eat a piece of cake again. I’m sure some of you can pull it off, but for others (myself included), it’s too much change at once. Save your other dietary goals for another time. Once you get in the swing of this vegan thing, then tackle other areas of improvement.
eat too little
Because plant food is generally less calorically dense than animal products, under-eating is a possibility, especially if you’re eating a lot of vegetables and not many grains and fruits. To compensate, you need to eat a larger quantity of food. Luckily, avoiding under-eating is simple. Listen to your body and if you’re hungry, eat!
assume everywhere & everyone will be accommodating
Be prepared to order steamed vegetables and a plain baked potato. Outside of cities, vegan options at restaurants can be hard to come by. If you’re sharing a meal at the home of family or friends, there’s a chance they won’t plan the meal around your lifestyle choice. Get used to bringing your own separate food, or you can do the cooking and show them how delicious vegan food can be.
think B-12 isn’t a big deal
Having a B-12 deficiency is a big deal. It’s found almost exclusively in animal products, so if you’re following a vegan diet, you’ll have to get it from a supplement. I didn’t take a B-12 supplement until a few months after becoming vegan and of course when I realized how crucial it is, I regretted not having done research sooner.
I hope this spared you from some amateur vegan mistakes! If you follow a plant-based diet, please share your tips in the comments.