Starting any new diet can be a bit daunting at the best of times. If you’ve never been a full-time vegan before, there are a few key tips and tricks which can help to make the transition smoother and allow you to begin reaping the health benefits today with as little stress as possible.
Give yourself extra time to cook
When you first get started on your vegan quest, you’re going to realise a few things quite quickly. One is that you’ll likely have to go back to the drawing board and commit to spending a good deal of extra time, initially, to experimenting and discovering which meals you’d like to base your diet around.
There are calorie and macronutrient goals to meet and endless recipes to test for flavour. Treat this as a new frontier to be explored and enjoy the process of mapping out the new food territory.
Allowing yourself enough time to go through this period of experimentation is vitally important. The more rushed you are, the more likely you are to produce hit-and-miss results in the kitchen and lose motivation for the diet altogether. It’s far harder to relapse into old eating patterns if you’ve constantly got delicious food at hand!
Focus on nutritionally dense meals
Not all plant foods are created equal. While it’s perfectly possible to be well-fed and meet your daily macronutrient requirements as a vegan, it takes a bit of planning.
In the early stages in particular, the temptation to snack can be strong. This can be a problem if you’re not being especially mindful of what you’re snacking on. Eating a giant helping of iceberg lettuce, for example, is just about the same as swallowing a small vitamin capsule. With 14 calories per 100 grams and less than 1 gram of protein, it’s not going to cut it as the base of a meal.
Research your meals and make sure they have enough calories and protein to keep you going. Starchy tubers, potatoes, beans and lentils are a great place to start.
Audit your pantry
Speaking of temptation, just about the worst thing you can do when adopting a new diet is to keep your pantry packed with souvenirs from the past. You may get along fine for the first few days, but sooner or later the day will come when you’re in a rush and that dangerously convenient can of tuna seems very inviting.
Avoid the temptation. On the first day you decide to go vegan, give away everything in your kitchen that doesn’t match your new diet. Here’s a short list of vegan staples which can serve as the base for your next delicious and filling meal: