Hello there! Fancy seeing you here.
It has been a while since we last interacted and for that, I’d like to apologize. I didn’t mean to leave you hanging just like that. Sometimes life happens faster than you can handle it. The cool thing is that I’m back and this time round, I will not be going anywhere. In case I do. I shall definitely let you know beforehand.
Now on to today’s post.
When I decided to embrace a plant based lifestyle, I didn’t exactly have a hard time. That was for one simple reason, I was already living a mostly vegetarian lifestyle. I hardly had any red meat, hadn’t touched dairy milk in over 5 years and couldn’t stand chicken. Fish was the only thing I tried and even then I had my limits.
As you can tell, that made for a very smooth transition.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone. That’s why I decided to put together a list of some things you might need to know before going vegan or choosing to lead a plant based lifestyle.
Plan a gradual transition
Some of us are lucky enough to just go vegan or start leading
a plant based lifestyle overnight. In most cases, if you try this, you will
probably not last long especially if you don’t have a concrete plan in place.
Strong will is important.
If you would rather go the easier route, it makes more sense to ease into it. Start by cutting out dairy, then move on to red meat, then white meat and so on. Doing this will give you time to adjust and won’t take a toll on you.
You will slip up, pick yourself up
This ties in with the first point. Slipping up might happen.
The important thing is what you do after that. Living a plant based lifestyle
needs a lot of adjusting to before you can be completely comfortable. Don’t let
that stop you.
You will probably feel hungrier and feel like you need to eat every ten minutes. Just make sure you have some snacks and fruits around to aid with this. You only have to survive the first couple of days and after that, it will be a breeze. Trust me, your body will thank you.
Going Vegan doesn’t automatically mean you lose weight
A lot of people assume going vegan automatically means losing weight. Yes, you might notice a change in your weight but you should be aware that weight gain is highly influenced by your calories intake. Bad vegan food also exists. Things like saturated fats and processed sugars can be found in vegan food. Being plant based also needs discipline just like any other lifestyle.
Beans! Beans! Beans!
The assumption is, people living a plant based lifestyle
survive on beans alone. It sounds funny but I’ve had several of these
conversations. The truth is, yes you will eat a lot of beans. You might fart
here and there but it’s not as exaggerated as people think. You can even
transition by replacing your meat with beans. It’s a really nice place to
Beans are not the only source of protein. Proteins are found in a lot of plants.
Be prepared to tweak your diet
Like with everything new, it’s important to do as much
research as you possibly can. You need to prepare yourself. Because the truth
is, you will still come across a lot more things you knew nothing about. So
don’t get crazy and set everything on stone. You will need to adjust several
things until you find exactly what works for you. So don’t be scared to
experiment. Try some unconventional food pairings.
The other part would be noticing changes in your body. If you notice things like fatigue or hunger you might need to adjust your servings and how often you eat. This is just your body trying to adjust. Think of it this way, your system has been working tirelessly for years doing things it shouldn’t have had to and then you suddenly stop and introduce a whole new way of doing things. It will definitely need some adjustment period.
Make sure you still get enough protein
‘Where do you get your proteins?’ will be a question you will constantly have to answer. Don’t get annoyed, we all go through it. A lot of people have the notion that protein can only be found in animal products. That’s not the case. Just like in any other diet/lifestyle, make sure you have multiple sources for your proteins to make sure you are having enough. Incorporate different protein sources in your meals. If you are someone interested in working out and really love a post-workout protein shake, don’t fret, plant based protein shakes are readily available in our market.
You will definitely need to take some supplements. As much as a plant based lifestyle has a lot of what our bodies need to be fully functional, we need a bit of help sometimes. Things like iron deficiency as well as deficiency in some vitamins can occur. Vitamins such as B12 are only found in meat and so I’d advice getting on that as soon as you transition. You can also consult your doctor or nutritionist to see which supplements you need to get on before changing up your lifestyle.
Don’t be afraid to order off menu
When I first started this journey eating out was such a
nightmare. I couldn’t find something to eat and 90% of the time I’d have Rice
and Veggies or fries. I know, crazy, right? When we go out, I ask as many
questions as possible when making my order. Is it cooked in butter? Is the
cream made of dairy? Is it possible to have it prepared in olive oil instead?
Don’t be scared. Ask those questions. Most restaurants are very accommodating. Especially of late.
You will also eat a lot of vegetarian food, but that is where this conversation comes in. You will always find yourself ordering from the vegetarian section but some of that food is often prepared in butter, has eggs or such. Just ask. It doesn’t hurt.
It can get expensive
Living a plant based life in a place like Kenya should be
easy and affordable right? Well… not exactly. When I first became vegan food
was excessively expensive. The only store that had a variety of vegan friendly
products was Healthy U and they knew it. Something like 500g of chia seeds was
about 2500. But now that local farmers have started supplying such seeds the
price has significantly gone down. Supermarkets have started stocking up on
these products which has forced stores like Healthy U to reduce their prices.
It can still get a bit expensive but it is way better now than it was 3 years ago. With the rise of organic farmers markets, the high end stores are being forced to re-evaluate their prices and I’m here for it.
Read every label
I learnt this the hard way.
People have started reading labels a lot more wanting to know exactly what is in their food. This has made brands sneaky. They use certain terms to disguise that their products are vegan friendly. They will use different terms because they know you are looking for eggs, milk or such. Scientific terms will be used just to throw you off.
I hope you have picked a thing or two that will make your transition easier. If you are on this journey and would like to talk a bit more about it, feel free to leave me a comment.