When most people think about going vegan, their first thought is usually on food. "Vegan" food. This is often followed by anxiety, a fear of eating very "strange" foods, and all but starving to death. This couldn't be further from the truth. A vegan diet is extremely delicious and enjoyable, and filled with regular, familiar, everyday foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, rice, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds and so much more! Reprogramming how you think about veganism is an easy and necessary step to embracing a healthier way of being: When you think vegan, think good food!
The primary key to going vegan is to think more about the foods you will eat, and less about the ones you won't such as animal meat, eggs, milk, and cheese. While it's true vegans don't eat these things, focusing on them and cutting them out of your diet all at once can cause feelings of deprivation thus sabotaging your chances for success.
Changing foods slowly and sensibly is often the best way to make the transition to vegan. The more you try, the more you'll like and be drawn to, and the less room you'll have for all those foods you want to eliminate from your diet. Vegans eat meat! (but not animal meat). Vegans drink milk (but not dairy milk). Vegans eat cheese (again, not dairy cheese) But you will find you can enjoy many foods you have always enjoyed and a few that you didn't even know existed! Think of it as an adventure in the world of plant-based culinary cuisine.
Focus on adding additional fruits, veggies, whole grains, rice, and beans to your diet. Add herbs and spices that deliver exciting and delicious flavor to your dishes, and upgrade your cooking skills with a vegan cookbook or two that offer up easy-to-follow advice and recipes for new vegans such as Vegan Cookbook for Beginners, Vegan Slow Cooker for Beginners, and The 30-Minute Vegan.
While it's true French fries and Oreos are vegan, try not to lose sight of one of the most important benefits to going vegan, which is being your healthiest. While there are many "processed" food options that are vegan, making whole unprocessed food choices a priority is most beneficial.
Enjoying "processed" goodies isn't completely off the table, and vegan convenience foods aren't totally out of the picture either. They definitely have their place and can make going vegan feel pretty much effortless. However, when it comes to many prepackaged and processed foods, keep in mind that moderation is key. Learning more about nutrition when it comes to a vegan diet and your health is a wise move. Check out Vegan For Life by Jack Norris and Virginia Messina, as well as our page on Nutrition.
Reading books on being vegan can offer an enormous amount of information, guidance, and support when you're first starting out. Popular titles to get you started include: The Kind Diet:, The Ultimate Vegan Guide, and How to Be Vegan.