GUEST POST: Shannon Wills: 5 Easy Steps to Becoming a Vegan

I recently received an e-mail from a reader, Shannon Wills asking if she could write a guest post for the blog. I agreed and this is what she wrote, an easy no frills guide to going vegan. Mind you everyone comes about in their own way and for their own reasons. I for example went vegan instantaneously after learning about how ‘food’ animals were treated, others more gradually. So here are some easy steps for soon-to-be-vegans.
5 Easy Steps to Becoming a Vegan

Change is never easy, especially when it comes to getting rid of habits that have been ingrained in us from childhood and cultivating new ones at the same time. And because food is an integral part of our daily lives, one that we are so passionate about, it’s doubly hard to turn over a new leaf and adopt a vegan lifestyle after eating meat and dairy your whole life. But if you really want to go vegan for any reason whatsoever (concerns over your health, care for the environment, or just because you want a change), there are ways to make the transition easier and not so much a sudden change. And here they are, five easy steps to becoming a vegan:

* Give up one at a time: If you’re used to eating both non-vegetarian food and dairy, don’t give up both simultaneously. While cold turkey works best for addictions like smoking and drinking, when it comes to food, it’s best to ease off one by one. Start with your least favorite non-vegan food, and every few days or so, add another item to the list. When you avoid going out and limit the ingredients and food items in your home to vegan, it’s easier to stick to your resolution.

* Eat what you really love: Make the switch to vegan more appealing by choosing foods that you love in this category; it doesn’t matter that they may not be the healthiest of choices, all you need to do is ensure you try to stick to vegan as much as possible. And by opting to eat what you love, you don’t crave meat or dairy so much.

* Try it for a week or fortnight: When you start out, don’t tell yourself that you’re going to become vegan for good. Instead, set smaller goals that you can achieve and feel proud about – choose to go vegan for a week or a fortnight, and then as you taste success in the short term, push yourself to go a little further. This way, you have the satisfaction of adhering to your goal and being able to give up meat and dairy little by little.

* Find substitutes: Make the change easier by finding suitable substitutes – if you enjoy coffee or tea, try soy milk or low-fat non-dairy creamers as an alternative to milk. Talk to people who are long-time vegans and get yourself a few good recipes, a list of acceptable substitutes, and the necessary supplements to prevent vitamin and other nutritional deficiencies (food from plant sources lack Vitamin B12 and iron, so you may have to use fortified vegan products or take supplementary pills to prevent deficiencies and related illnesses).

* Don’t force yourself to stay the course: If you find the going tough, remind yourself why you decided to effect the change. And if you still crave meat and/or dairy, give in to the temptation once in a while just so you prevent a binge and a complete relapse. It’s better to enjoy the guilty taste of your favorite non-vegetarian dish once in a while than go back to your old eating habits for good.

By-line: This guest post is contributed by Shannon Wills, she writes on the topic of physical therapy assistant schools . She welcomes your comments at her email id: shannonwills23@gmail.com.

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