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Becoming vegan isn’t just about changing your eating habits—it’s an entire way of life. Veganism embraces abstention from animal products, and it rejects the status of animals as commodity. This means that animal products beyond food should be excluded from a vegan lifestyle. Not as easy as you expected, right?
Understanding the truth about becoming vegan can help you make that first step toward true veganism. But what comes next?
Converting your kitchen and grocery list – Your kitchen should only contain vegan products, not just specialty soy products, but also foods like tempeh, seitan, tofu, and other vegan foods. You’ll need to start looking for recipe books to teach you to make delicious vegan meals, using non-animal products to nourish your body and appeal to your taste buds. You should start doing research on what foods are part of a vegan diet, and which foods to avoid. This will often go beyond animal products, and will usually include processed, refined, and high sugar foods.
Adapt your budget – Going vegan doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You may want to spend some money on pricier meat, cheese, and dairy alternatives, but the majority of your nutrition will come from veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and other foods you’re already buying. In fact, you’ll end up eating a lot of foods made with cheap ingredients like pasta, rice, and legumes. Your budget will likely change as you begin to buy exclusively vegan foods, but you won’t break the bank becoming a vegan.
Prepare for social challenges – Being a vegan doesn’t mean people will automatically look at you differently, but it will make it harder to interact with non-vegans in traditional social settings. For example, if you’re accustomed to having brunch with friends, you may have to find a new way to socialize due to the fact that your brunch restaurant doesn’t serve vegan fare. It can be challenging to find vegan restaurants or eateries that serve vegan fare, which could limit social opportunities.
You’ll also have to face the challenge of ignorance. Many people don’t understand veganism or how it can benefit you, so they’ll speak and act from a place of ignorance. There will be many misunderstandings with your family and friends as they adjust to your new lifestyle. The best you can do is help to educate them about veganism as a way of life. The more they understand, the easier it will be for them to accept your choice.
The good news is that the vegan community is friendly, welcoming, and willing to accept you with open arms. You can make new friends and find a new family among the vegans of your city. Plus, the vegan community is an excellent resource on making the change to a vegan lifestyle.