Veganism is on the rise here in Ireland, but making the switch can be a tricky undertaking. To help new vegans on their plant-based journey, we’ve compiled a list of our top tips for adjusting to a vegan diet.
If you participated in the 2020 Veganuary challenge, and you’ve gone a full month without eating animal products for the first time in your life, congratulations! It can be extremely challenging to break out of our old eating habits of consuming meat, dairy, and eggs – not to mention the social awkwardness that we face when we choose to go vegan and learning about the negative impacts of animal agriculture. If you made it this far, you deserve a vegan sausage roll.
Now that Veganuary is basically over, and you’ve completed the challenge, you may be wondering what comes next. You’ve crossed the finish line, and now you have a choice: return to your former diet, or commit to the vegan lifestyle?
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While veganism is often called a trend or a fad, for a lot of people it is a permanent switch towards a more conscious, sustainable lifestyle. It is now estimated that around 2% of the Irish population is vegan, with a further 6% identifying as vegetarian. The Vegan Society has stated that veganism has grown in popularity by 350% in the past ten years, so it’s clear that more people than ever want to remove animal products from their diet.
If you’re thinking of making the switch to a plant-based lifestyle, it can seem daunting at first. To help you out, we’ve rounded up our top tips for how to adjust to a vegan diet. Read on to find out how to make the change.
Give yourself time to adjust
Making the change to a vegan diet overnight could scare you off and make you feel uncomfortable with your new lifestyle change. A good way to adjust to your new lifestyle would be to make a gradual change: first, cut out meat, then when you’ve adjusted to that change continue by slowly cutting out dairy, eggs and animal by-products until you’re 100% content with your new diet.
Eat until you’re full
This might sound like obvious advice, but it’s really important to make sure that you’re eating your fill when you switch to a vegan diet. New vegans often report that they feel weak or hungry when they decide to go plant-based, something which is often attributed to them not getting enough nutrients. In actual fact, the reason for this is usually because new vegans aren’t eating enough calorie-dense food to fill them up properly, as fresh veggies are far lower in calories than meat and dairy. To make sure you’re satisfied after you eat, embrace carbs like rice, as well as enjoying lots of nutrient-dense foods like sweet potatoes, bananas and dates.
Head to Instagram for some inspiration
Instagram is an amazing hub for foodie inspiration in general, but if you’re new to a vegan lifestyle, it can be a lifesaver. There’s no point in getting bored of eating the same foods over and over again, so to make sure that your meals are exciting and tasty, do a bit of research on Instagram and follow some vegan foodies. There’s a whole Insta-community available on the app who are sure to help you adjust to your new lifestyle and point you in the direction of some exciting new recipes to try.
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Super Decadent Chocolate Mousse by @delicious_and_healthy_by_maya ❤️ . Ingredients for 4 x 120ml 2 cups cooked black beans 1/2 cup oat milk 3 tbsp roasted hazelnuts 2 tbsp melted coconut oil 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder 3 tbsp maple syrup pinch of salt dash of cinnamon 1 tsp lemon juice Blend until smooth and chill before eating. #bestofvegan
Find a local vegan restaurant or café
There was once a time where vegans would be stuck eating a plain plate of steamed veggies when they went out to eat. Thankfully, that time has passed and restaurants all over Ireland are now catering to their clients with alternative diets. Treat yourself to a few trips to local restaurants to find some delicious dishes, as it will help you feel comfortable when eating out, as well as inspiring you to get creative with your own cooking. For a list of some of our favourite vegan eateries, click here.
Research new foods
The general public seems to believe that all vegans love avocado and peanut butter, so if they’re not your favourites, you might feel a little left out. The only way you’ll find your favourite foods is to try them all out, so use your new vegan lifestyle as an opportunity to explore weird and wonderful foods that you would never have tried otherwise.
Main image by Beyoncé
This article was originally published by our sister site, FOOD AND WINE.
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