If you are interested in becoming a Vegetarian or Vegan, let us start by saying, “Welcome!”
Making the switch from a being an omnivore or a carnivore to a herbivore can be a difficult task for some.
Some may switch overnight, with ease. Others may need some steps and time to adjust while they become comfortable with their new lifestyle.
We here at invegan would like to offer up some tips to making the transition easier for all who are interested.
We offer these tips to becoming a vegetarian or vegan with knowledge and honesty.
- Start Slow
- Check Ingredients
- Don’t Get Frustrated – Get Vegucated
- Enjoy and be Proud
Even if you decide overnight to make the switch to being a vegetarian or vegan, you will need to make quite a few changes. And doing something fast or radical like throwing out food is not the right way to deal. Start by substituting things where you can.
For you carnivores, you could start by eliminating an animal at a time. Substitute by taking a favorite meal of yours that may contain meat and substitute the meat with something like tofu or tempeh. If you don’t know which to try, keep in mind that tofu is softer and will absorb the flavors it’s cooked in, while tempeh is grainier and ‘meatier.’
You don’t have to know everything right away, but learning and educating yourself will help you. Just know that it takes time to experiment with different substitutions and figure out what you like and what you don’t. You’ll have to experiment with how to cook these alternatives as well as determine which substitute works best in your favorite dishes.
Read the f*ing labels! The world is out to get you and make you slip up. They are, no joke! When you start reading labels and checking ingredients you will be surprised to see how often animal proteins and protein byproducts are slipped into foods you would normally consider vegetarian.
For example, it’s very common to find lard (pig fat) in something like a can of refried beans. Some add it, some don’t. The key here is to check the label. As another example, lard is also commonly used in making donuts. Don’t worry you don’t have to give up donuts. In fact, if you live in Seattle, check out Mighty O donuts. They offer some of the tastiest vegan donuts you will ever find.
Ingredient checking is key but only goes so far when you see ingredients that sound or read like an alien language. Don’t worry though, identifying the obvious ingredients is a good first step. Eventually you may find yourself wanting to learn some of these alien ingredients… But be prepared, you may find more animal byproducts.
Don’t Get Frustrated Get Vegucated
Becoming a Vegetarian or Vegan can be frustrating. It’s easy to feel defeated when you start to read labels, check ingredients and see everyone else going on like it’s nothing. Don’t get frustrated, get vegucated! The more you learn about alternatives, they more options and desire you will have to continue your quest.
Reading about vegetarian recipes, or finding veggie options or restaurants takes effort. You will find a vast amount of resources online, and when you find other vegetarians or vegans use their knowledge to help you. Learn everything you can from those who are on the same journey. Trade recipes, talk veggie restaurants, ask about substitutions, you’ll find that most vegetarians are happy to help.
Educate further by looking up and watching documentaries like (Cowspiracy, or Forks over Knives). Read books (The Kind Diet, My Beef with Meat, The China Study). Look up your local food co-op or farmers market. You’ll be amazed at the options and people you can meet at these avenues. The point is, don’t get frustrated when you don’t know what to do or eat. Educate yourself and realize that others have been there and are out there offering a wealth of information and knowledge about the obstacles that you’re facing.
Enjoy and be Proud
You need to enjoy the journey and be proud of what you are doing. You are going to hear a lot of negativity from people that don’t understand or are simply uneducated. Don’t let them get you down. You are on your own journey. It’s easy to stereotype and remain ignorant for some, but these people are not going to help you. However, you may be able to help them at some point. Avoid arguments with the ignorant, and try not to further any stereotypes. Offer advice where you can and be proud of what you are doing. If others are negative or unhelpful to you on your journey, cut them out like you have the meat. Enjoy and be Proud!