When I became vegan I didn’t know how to do it the right way. I thought I could just start eating fries or something like that the whole time and it would be healthy enough.
And when I got a disc herniation injury I understood that I was wrong.
Because of this injury for several months I couldn’t even sit or lie down without feeling a lot of pain. My doctors told me that I need to have surgery in order to fix it and there’s no guarantee I’d get a full recovery. I didn’t like this option at all.
So, I decided to research this topic on my own. I started to do some research and found scientific articles saying our diet can have a significant impact on our health.
I decided to give it a try. After I changed my diet my disc herniation problem went away in a matter of couple weeks without any surgeries.
So, based on my personal experience I know that switching to a plant-based diet can be challenging, especially if you are a beginner. It doesn’t mean that you can’t or don’t have to do it though.
Going vegan is a big lifestyle change. However, this change can have a lot of benefits for our health, the environment and animals if we do it right.
Life itself is challenging and in some way that’s the beauty of it. It helps us grow, become better, stronger, and unleash our potential. Otherwise, we wouldn’t even walk if we would give up after a few tries.
So, in this post I want to share with you some tips on how to go vegan the right way so you could avoid my mistakes.
Why go vegan?
One of the most important things is to know why to go vegan at all. Otherwise, you won’t be able to start or stick to it long-term.
There are many reasons of why you would want to go vegan: to improve your own health, to help save the environment or the animals, to lose weight, etc.
When I decided to go vegan I did it for the animals. I realized we are all connected in some way and therefore eating an animal is almost the same for me as eating another human.
However, a few years after I became a vegan I discovered that being a vegan is not only healthy for the animals but it’s also better for my own health.
Why go vegan for the animals
A lot of animals suffer to become food on people’s plates. Behind closed doors, the meat industry abuses animals in different ways that some of us can’t even imagine.
By leaving animal foods off your plate and becoming vegan, you reduce the demand for animal products and therefore the meat industry will kill and abuse less animals.
Why go vegan for the environment
Growing plant-based foods is much less harmful to our planet than industrial animal agriculture.
A single pound of beef takes, on average, 1,800 gallons of water to produce. Given that the average American eats around 181 pounds of meat annually, it is easy to see how meat consumption might account for so much of an American’s water footprint. 
Another study compared the effects of producing 1 kg of protein from kidney beans to 1 kg of protein from beef. It concluded that approximately 18x less land, 10x less water, 9x less fuel, 12x less fertilizer and 10x less pesticide use is needed to produce the beans. 
Why go vegan for the health
Scientific research shows that a vegan diet may be even healthier for us than an omnivore diet. Vegan diet reduces the risk of many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and others.
You can read more about the impact of our diet on our health in these blog posts:
Which diet is the healthiest: omnivorous, vegetarian, vegan
Can diet prevent and treat diabetes?
Cardiovascular disease risk factors and treatment
Is keto diet safe and effective way to lose weight?
Are eggs healthy for weight loss and in general based on science?
Are nuts good for weight loss and health
What does vegan mean?
Being a vegan means not only adopting a plant-based diet and avoiding all foods that come from animals such as meat and dairy but also avoiding clothes, beauty products, household products and other stuff that were made from animal-derived materials.
It doesn’t mean that from now on you can’t eat meat or wear leather clothes at all. You can always start small. For example, you can start by changing your diet. If you’ll like it then you can think about switching from leather clothes to some more ethical alternatives and so on.
How to go vegan for beginners
1. Find your why
As I said earlier it’s one of the most important things and not just in becoming vegan. For example, if you want to make more money you should first decide why you want it. I know it may look silly at first. We all know why we want more money. But I mean the reason that will drive you to achieving your goal no matter what. Because there will be probably a lot of obstacles on your way to making more money and if you don’t know your why then you will probably give up too soon. It’s the same with switching to a vegan diet.
2. Learn nutrition basics
If you want your diet to be healthy then you need to create a well-balanced meal plan. Actually, it’s true for any diet no matter if it’s an omnivore diet or a vegan diet. To create this meal plan you need to learn some nutrition basics.
In general though, eating every day a variety of food categories such as legumes, nuts, fruits, vegetables should be enough. However, if you plan to switch fully to a vegan diet then there are also some vitamins that you must take in order for your diet to be really healthy.
For example, taking vitamin B12 as a supplement is a must because plant-based foods don’t contain this vitamin at all and we must get this vitamin from our diet so that our body could function properly. Some categories of people must take vitamin B12 supplements even if they eat meat. Click here to read my science-based recommendations for vitamin B12.
You can read more about which vitamins and how much should you take in my other blog posts:
Science-based recommendations: vitamin B12
Science-based recommendations: iodine
Science-based recommendations: omega-3 fatty acids
Science-based recommendations: vitamin D
Science-based recommendations: calcium
If you don’t have enough time or for some other reason don’t want to learn all the basics then you can consult with a nutritionist.
However, if you want to learn more on your own about which foods and how much should you take then you can click here to check out my PDF book.
3. Make a plan
When you start a new habit it’s important to decide when and what you will be doing. Some research shows that by deciding you increase your chances of actually doing it.
You can use this formula: I will [behaviour] at [time] in [place]. For example, I will eat a vegan Buddha bowl (or other favorite vegan meal) at 7 pm in my kitchen.
Also, you should decide which foods and how much your vegan meal will contain. For example, my vegan Buddha bowl will contain 150g of oats, 150g of lentils, 100g of carrots, 70g of spinach.
4. Start small
One of the best methods to create better habits is to start small and build your way up. For example, you can start by switching one of your meat dishes with a vegan one and start eating one vegan meal per week. When you will be comfortable with these changes you can make it 2 vegan meals and so on.
If you want to learn more about how to build good habits based on science then you can click here to read my post.
5. Next steps
When you start to feel comfortable with the small changes that you made you can continue to make the next steps towards your goal until you fully switch to a vegan diet.
What should I do if I crave my favorite meat meal or cake?
Well, the good news is that nowadays it’s easy to recreate the flavors and textures of meat and other omnivore meals using plant-based foods. So, as an option you can just look for the plant-based recipe alternatives that you want.
Should I give up if I break my vegan diet?
When children learn how to walk and they fall a hundred times in the process should they just give up after their first fall? We are not perfect but I think the key here is to be the best versions of ourselves.
Do I have to give up going to dinner at my friends’ houses?
No. I think if they are your real friends they will respect your dietary preferences. For example, you can suggest one of your favorite vegan recipes for them to try. Alternatively, you can offer to bring your own vegan dish. It’ll also be a good opportunity to show that vegan food can be delicious too.
Being a vegan is expensive
Actually, many of the healthiest vegan whole foods such as beans, oats, carrots and others are cheap.
So, why go vegan and how to go vegan for beginners? Well, there are different reasons why you may go vegan. For example, to improve your health, to save the environment or animals, to lose weight. Everybody should choose his or her own reason. This reason will help you overcome obstacles on your way and there will be probably many obstacles just like in any other part of our lives.
Here’s how to become vegan in 5 easy steps:
- Find your why
Find your reason why that will help you overcome obstacle on your way to achieving your goal.
- Learn nutrition basics
Learn some basics to make a well-balanced plan or consult with a professional nutritionist.
- Make a plan
Create your meal plan and decide when and where you’re going to follow it.
- Start small
Start small. For example, start eating one vegan meal per week.
- Next steps
When you will start to feel comfortable then you can make the next steps such as eating 2 vegan meals per week and so on until you switch fully to a vegan diet.
P.S. If you want to get my science-based meal plans, recipes that can be cooked in 30 minutes or less and find out how science-based nutrition can help you improve your health and live longer then click here to learn more.
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