The Vegan Lifestyle: How to Be a Vegan in 7 Steps

So, you’re interested in becoming a vegan, huh? Well, this is something that will change your life forever – and in a good way! Within time, you’re going to become a far happier and healthier person. It’s an incredible experience, as long as you don’t expect immediate change and quit if you don’t experience instant results. A lot of vegans didn’t quit cold turkey (tofu?). It was over a period of time.

If you think being vegan is munching on lettuce all day, drinking soy milk, and wearing hemp, then you will be pleasantly surprised that it is much more than this.

Are you ready?

Here are seven easy steps to becoming a vegan:

1. Gradually Change Your Diet

The hardest part about becoming a vegan is the dietary aspect. After years of consuming meat, drinking cow’s milk, and eating cheesecake with milk chocolate sauce, you suddenly have to abandon these delicious food items and imbibe things derived from plants.

Yuck? Not really.

A common mistake that people who want to go vegan make is they make the change overnight. But you set yourself up for failure this way. The key is to gradually change your diet. Here are some tips:

  • Give up red meat altogether and concentrate on lean meats, like chicken and turkey.
  • Over time, cut your meat portions and adopt meatless meals every once in a while.
  • Substitute milk for non-milk alternatives; you could begin with soy and then transition to beverages like almond, rice, and coconut.
  • Try processed tofu options as you learn how to cook fresh vegan meals.
  • Experiment with non-tofu vegan options that contain protein alternatives, like lentils and kidney beans.
  • Until you master cooking with protein substitutes, try adding eggs to your meals.

This could take a year, or it could take a couple of years. It really depends how serious you are converting to veganism. It is hard to adopt a vegan diet, but it is doable – millions across North America do it. Whatever you do, do not think that this will happen overnight.

2. What’s Your Clothing Made from?

If you are becoming a vegan because of the animals, then you should also consider the clothing you wear. Just because you’re not eating cow, it doesn’t mean that you can offset by wearing cow.

A lot of clothing is made out of:

  • Feathers
  • Fur
  • Leather
  • Silk
  • Wool

Moving forward, you will need to look for clothing that uses plant fabrics, such as cotton, hemp, or linen. There are also manmade materials that you can wear, including acrylic, nylon, and polyester.

3. Wear Sustainable Shoes

The same concept applies to leather shoes, but it is a bit more difficult, especially for professional environments or if you’re on a budget.

Vegan footwear is essentially any type of shoe that is produced without animal ingredients or byproducts – again, fur, leather, silk, and wool. While sneakers are generally vegan, you cannot sport a pair of high tops at work. So, what can you wear to work or in a semi-casual setting? Thankfully, there are a variety of sustainable shoes that are vegan.

Here is what you need to know:

  • Vegan shoes are comprised of leather made from polyurethane, or PU, which is plastic bonded with a cotton backing.
  • Vegan suede is manufactured from a microfibre synthetic fabric.
  • Vegan leather is used from part-recycled resin and recycled cardboard.

The only downfall is that these shoes are expensive.

4. Visit Vegan-Friendly Restaurants

While it might be tough to find a vegan restaurant in North Bay, you can find an abundance of these types of restaurants in many major Canadian cities, such as Toronto, Vancouver, or Ottawa. Like vegan shoes, it might come with a premium, but visiting these establishments sends a message to the free market: There is a demand for vegan food and vegan restaurants.

5. Support Your Fellow Vegans

Have you watched any vegan YouTube channels? Hit the like or subscribe button! Do you know any vegan cooks who have written cookbooks? Buy a copy. Is there a vegan bakery in your neighbourhood? Drop by and pick up a cookie. Is a friend selling vegan t-shirts?

There are all sorts of ways to support your fellow vegans. And, you know what? This might be a selfish act because doing this keeps up your morale and invigorates your spirit when you’re feeling dejected and unconfident in your ability to be vegan.

6. Join Vegan Organizations

Oftentimes, a vegan can feel like an alien when they are with their non-vegan friends, leaving them feeling shunned from society and all alone.

What’s the solution?

That’s simple: Find people who share the same mindset and interests as you. This can be achieved by joining vegan organizations, whether it is food, clothing, or animal rights. Anything that has vegan in the title should be considered – that is, if you want to locate like-minded individuals.

7. Keep Learning About Veganism

One of the most interesting aspects of veganism is that you never stop learning. There is a reason why many vegans consider it a spiritual journey because you constantly learn new things, from discovering a new recipe, to learning about treatment for a health problem that has bothered you for years, to coming across a fruit that makes you sleep better.

Many people think veganism is about food. But, the longer you’re vegan, the more you learn that it is all-encompassing.

  • Gretchen is a free-spirited blogger focused on ways to improve her spiritual and emotional health. She uses the MANDALA HEALS blog to dispense advice, tutorials & guides on various topics.

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