One of the questions I get the most is, “Are you still doing the vegan thing?” There’s often some misconceptions about the vegan diet, so I thought i’d explain why I chose this diet and the four things i’ve learned since committing to it.
“Vegan” means different things to different people.
I try to be both sensitive and transparent when claiming the “vegan” title because it can have different meanings for different people. I first experienced the benefits of a vegan diet after traveling to countries who ate this way. 10 days in Costa Rica detoxed my body in a way no other diet or medicine had; I noticed an incredible difference in my digestion, energy, and sleep quality, which reversed immediately after returning to the States. I started researching benefits to the vegan diet and quickly learned there were more pros than just personal health.
Eating a vegan diet dramatically impacts the environment for the better. It’s not that eating meat or dairy is a bad thing, it’s the amount we’re eating and the unethical ways we produce it that have harmful effects on world ecosystems. It’s this unethical factor that motivates veganism as a lifestyle. Those who commit to a vegan lifestyle not only eat a plant-based diet, they also eliminate animal products like leather and silk, and reject brands who practice animal testing.
>>Resources: Cowspiracy, Grain Brain, Chasing Coral.
Plan ahead for dinner parties or eating out.
I started easing into the vegan diet by first eliminating dairy milk, cheese and all meat except fish. After a few months, I started to notice my body reacting negatively to any meal that included meat, dairy or eggs. This was when I eliminated everything else and committed to a 100% vegan diet. Since I can’t control the ingredients used at restaurants, and I want to be respectful of family and friends who host meals, I will either eat something small beforehand, research the menu, or choose the most vegan-friendly options available.
>>Click to read: Beauty Boosting Vegan Smoothie
A lot of vegan substitutes taste better.
Another fun way to enjoy transitioning into a vegan diet is by taste-testing. Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme Market, and Trader Joes all have great vegan sections. Ben and I found vegan meat substitutes that we liked more than the non-vegan version. Try meatless meatballs, vegan orange chicken and (my fave) veggie burgers with mushrooms, black beans and sweet potato. Yum!
Most people dwell on the concept of eliminating meat and cheese when the reality is most of your daily diet doesn’t include either. The truth is, most of the flavor in your daily diet likely comes from fruits, vegetables, herbs or seasonings. The top 15 flavorful ingredients in my daily vegan diet include: peanut butter, hummus, black beans, mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, avocado, rice, bread, apples, tomatoes, tofu, soy sauce, lemon pepper and sea salt.
>> Click to read: Plant Based Diet Grocery List
Veganism is like the gateway drug of green-living.
Truly, any element of green-living will cause you to think of other ways to live more clean and holistic. I started practicing yoga a few years ago, which has helped me to be more mindful of how i’m caring for my body. In addition to eating a plant-based diet and incorporating regular yoga practice, I have grown to be somewhat OCD about recycling – Ben can attest to times i’ve picked through our garbage because I noticed he wasn’t recycling.
There’s serious conviction in green-living. Once you’ve been educated on the state of the environment and the benefits of simple changes like eating vegan, recycling, and using reusable bottles, there’s a sense of guilt that comes with with living any other way. Doing these things makes you feel good in every way and stirs a fire inside to do more.
>>Click to read : 20 Simple Ways to Make a Difference – Preserve & Protect our Planet.
I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you did, please leave your thoughts in the comments below and share with your friends or family. You can also follow Freely Mi on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. As always, I am so grateful for your support – it really helps Freely Mi reach more people like you.