By Stephanie Dreyer
When I went vegan 6 years ago, I was in it 200% with full gusto and enthusiasm!
After being vegetarian for 5 years, I started eating meat. (8 months into my second pregnancy I gave into a craving for carnitas.)
I will probably never understand how I was able to disconnect from the animal cruelty that drove me to become vegetarian previously, but nevertheless, I became a meat eater again for 4 years until my third child was 1-year-old.
Feeling lethargic and uncomfortable in my body, I sought help to feel healthier and read The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone cover to cover in one sitting. I was immediately enlightened and became vegan on the spot.
This time, however, was different from when I went vegetarian. Veganism became my lifestyle, not just my diet.
I love my vegan life.
It has brought me greater health, increased compassion and joy, and has connected with me a with passion and life purpose I had been searching for my whole life.
There are so many wonderful reasons to go vegan – for our health, for our environment, and of course, for the animals.
However, veganism can also bring challenges. Looking back over the past 6 years, I’ve had plenty but realize I could have made it a lot easier on myself by doing it with a friend instead of alone, and also taking my time with the transition.
Here are three easy ways you can try a vegan diet that are painless and worry-free:
1. Don’t change a thing. Just add more plant foods to your diet.
Keep your dinner or lunch menu exactly as it is now, but add in a side of sautéed spinach or kale. Serve some roasted asparagus or broccoli along with your entree. Toss some garbanzo beans into your chicken salad. Serve quinoa with your fish. Keep adding these plant-based foods, and as they start to take over, there will be less room for the animal products on your plate!
2. Start with one meal.
Make Meatless Mondays (or Tuesdays or Thursdays) your thing, or go vegan one meal a day. As you gain confidence in your meal prep for that meal, add another. As your comfort level grows, so will your vegan meals.
3. Switch out one thing.
Trade in your coffee for a green juice one morning. Replace your turkey sandwich for a hummus and veggie wrap at lunch instead. Choose one thing each day to replace with a vegan alternative and try it. If you like how it feels, keep doing it until everything you eat is vegan.
No matter which way you decide to test drive a vegan diet, do what feels rights for you. You will enjoy it more and be more likely to sustain it if you take it at your pace and comfort level!
Stephanie Dreyer is the founder of VeegMama, a vegan lifestyle brand that shares her passion for living deliciously and compassionately; the host of YouTube’s VeegMama channel; and an author. Her children’s book, Not A Nugget, and eBook, VeegMama’s Guide To Going Vegan, are available on Amazon. (You can download a free copy of her 3-Day Vegan Meal Plan HERE. ) Stephanie is also a founding member of The Curiosity Library.