With the help of celebrity endorsement and popular social media campaigns like #MeatlessMonday, more and more people are choosing to switch to veganism than ever before.
While transitioning to a vegan lifestyle can seem daunting, the idea of a big lifestyle change is a lot scarier than actually doing it. So if you think you’re ready to jump on the no-meat-eggs-or-dairy bandwagon, here are five tips to help make the transition to a vegan diet a whole lot simpler.
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1. Start slow
Becoming a vegan takes time and effort. Instead of cutting out all animal products in one go, start with meals you have always enjoyed that also just happen to be plant-based, such as a veggie stir-fry, burgers (using veggie patties), or a chickpea curry, then build on those. This will give your mind and body time to adjust to the new diet. Making gradual changes and assessing how you are feeling along the way is the key to success.
2. Eat a variety of foods
When transitioning to a vegan diet people often get hung up on what they can’t eat, instead of what they can. So it’s important to treat your taste buds to new foods and new flavours. There are thousands of vegan recipes out there from every corner of the globe so don’t be afraid to leave your food comfort zone. It’s also vital to eat a variety of foods to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need on a vegan diet. For example, you’ll get protein and fibre from beans, vitamins A, C and K from leafy greens and brain-boosting anthocyanins (a type of a type of flavonoid) from blueberries.
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3. Try a plant-based breakfast
Once you’re feeling more comfortable with the idea of veganism, try committing to eat at least one vegan meal every day. A great place to start is with breakfast. Vegan yogurt (which is made from soy milk) with granola, scrambled tofu, lentil banana protein pancakes, cinnamon and blueberry French toast or a vegan fry-up are all great options. Next, work on your lunch, followed by snacks and dinner.
4. Replace your meats
If you’re really struggling with the thought of giving up meat, try incorporating plant-based meats into your diet instead. Thanks to new technologies and innovations in food research, alternative meat products now no longer taste like cardboard. In fact, brands are producing imitations of meat that replicate the taste and texture of all your favourites with astonishing likeness – some even bleed and sizzle like the real thing. In Singapore you’ll find options such as Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Quorn, and Omnipork.
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5. Make sure you read food labels
If you’re serious about being vegan, it’s important to get used to reading the labels on everything and learn how to navigate ingredient statements, so you can identify which ingredients are vegan and which may have hidden animal products. For instance, casein and whey, which come from milk, are present in many cereal bars, breads, and granolas, while gelatin is derived from meat.