In every group of friends, there’s always that ONE vegan friend that has to have all kinds of accommodations made for them… they can be so annoying, right? Maybe so, but have you ever stopped and asked them what made them transition to a vegan lifestyle?
It’s usually not because they want to be hip or “fit in”… Most people who’ve adopted the vegan lifestyle did so because they either had to or because they wanted full control over their life.
When people transition because they have to, it’s usually because animal products and by-products just were causing digestive and health problems, and when you endure those kinds of problems for so long, something has to give, and people are willing to sacrifice beef burgers if it means they’ll be free from digestive complications like acid reflux or constipation.
When people transition because they want full control over their lives, they transition because they’ve become addicted to the bad foods that are causing them all the health issues. Most people don’t realize or think about this but food can be just as addictive as an illegal substance.
The Reward System
Well, there’s a system in the brain called the “reward system,” and it’s designed to reward your brain when you’re doing something right, like eating. Your brain knows when you’re eating and it releases those “feel good” chemicals, including dopamine, which the brain identifies as a pleasure center.
Once the brain experiences this type of pleasure, it continually seeks these pleasurable behaviors to release dopamine through the reward system, therefore, you seek the foods that bring you pleasure, like pizza and ice cream, but in exchange for an upset stomach… A person can only endure that kind of pain for so long before getting fed up with it and they start taking control of their life.
Before, you lived to eat, and now you eat to live… Those are two very different mindsets to live by.
But now, even in the midst of how seemingly complicated and time-consuming it seems to be a vegan, it’s actually not, and you now find yourself interested in the lifestyle. Whether you’ve been having digestive issues or feel like you want to have more control over your eating habits, making the decision to transition is great news.
The key to a smooth transition into the vegan lifestyle is to start slow and small. No one just became a vegan overnight. Everything from getting better informed on the lifestyle to trying vegan dishes, you too can adopt the vegan lifestyle and maintain it, here’s how:
Helpful Tips to a Smooth Transition Into a Vegan Lifestyle
Research and learn as much as you can about the vegan lifestyle
Because this is such a major lifestyle change from what you’re used to, learning about the lifestyle is extremely important.
What are the benefits of a vegan lifestyle?
How do you know if a product truly a vegan product? (Read labels carefully)
Is there a vegan restaurant near you?
There are a lot of things to consider to determine if it’s a sustainable life choice for you.
Add vegan to your diet first before you start ditching your comfortable eating habits and foods
One mistake people make when transitioning is “jumping the gun.” To give yourself a fair chance to adopt and enjoy the lifestyle, you can’t completely get rid of the foods you enjoy. It’s better to first just start incorporating some vegan foods into your meals or replace certain ingredients with vegan version to see how your food tastes. A lot of times, vegan versions of food taste the exact same, sometimes better, than traditional recipes.
Slowly cut out meats and replace them with other forms of protein like various beans, tofu, and nuts. In fact, a great way to replenish protein you used to get in meats is to start incorporating green juice into your daily diet. Leafy green juices are a great source of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein!
Keep your motivation to change at the forefront of your mind
Transitioning to the vegan lifestyle is much easier today than it was years ago. There are coffee choices for vegans, vegan restaurants, and ingredients out now to make delicious meals without the use of animals.
Just be open-minded to the change and to keep the reason you want to transition at the top of your mind if you having feelings of giving up.