Transitioning is a necessary part of your personal evolution to becoming a vegan. Some people might be able to transition to a vegan lifestyle in one fell swoop, but for others, it may take many months. You may even have a few stumbles along the way, but don’t worry, it’s ok—everyone evolves into a vegan in their own way and at their own pace. In this guide, you’ll learn the important steps you need to take for your transition into veganism.
Getting Your Diet in Order
One of the first transitional changes to make it to your diet. The first thing you want to do is remove animal-based foods from your diet—but don’t try doing it all in one fell swoop. Begin with small changes, like giving up animal-based foods for one meal, then another, until you find you no longer have the need or taste buds for these foods.
For instance, try giving up added cheese or butter toppings or avoid eating a burger and opt instead for a salad at lunch. If you find you don’t miss the eliminated food, keep going and try other eliminations or substitutions, like using soy milk for use on your morning cereal instead of using cow’s milk. Soon you will feel the positive effects of eliminating these foods, which will give you the incentive to make more changes!
Detoxing Your System
After eliminating animal-based foods from your diet, you will definitely feel some physical changes as your body eliminates much of the excess fats, mucus, cholesterol, and various toxins from your system. Detoxification is the body’s way of cleansing itself and rejuvenating organs, cells, and body tissues.
When you’re first transitioning yourself away from animal-based foods, it’s a good idea to go on a cleanse or detox to help thoroughly clean your body on the inside and speed along with its adjustment to eating a better diet.
Detoxing can also improve your kidney functions; aid digestion; ease pain in your joints; remove excess calcium, protein, and fat deposits; and clean your blood of excess cholesterol. Stay on a detox as long as you feel comfortable and deem necessary. It’s best to gradually return to eating by drinking fruit and vegetable juices and eating small, easily digestible servings of food.
Eating Lots of Raw Goodness
After coming off a detox, you should try to increase your consumption of raw fruits and vegetables. The vitamins and nutrients in these raw foods are left more intact, even after cutting and washing, than their cooked food counterparts. Especially, more of the beneficial digestive enzymes are left intact. These aid in your digestion processes.
A great and relatively easy way to get more servings of fruits and veggies into your daily diet is with juices and smoothies. You can also blend a variety of raw fruits and vegetables to increase your consumption of beneficial phytochemicals and encourage their symbiotic relationships.
Getting Your House in Order
When making the decision to become a vegan lifestyle, you have to analyze many of your past and present choices about how you eat, what you wear, and what products you use. Often this means getting rid of the old and buying all new. We offer some suggestions in the following sections, but ultimately, what you do with those no-longer-accepted vegan items is a personal decision.
Sorting Your Pantry
What should you do with your nonvegan food items? Your choices are basically consuming them one last time, giving them away to nonvegan friends or food banks, or discarding them altogether.
Cleaning Out Your Closet
When it comes to clothing and accessories, you can apply the same type of reasoning as with foods. If the items are worn out, discard or recycle them. If they still have some use, pass them along to others who can put them to use. If you don’t know someone who could use the items, donate them to charity.
As you rid your closet and drawers of any leather, fur, wool, or other animal ingredients, you can seek out vegan-friendly substitutes. That means shopping! You can find many natural and plant-based fabrics used in clothing, coats, and accessories in most retailers and department stores.
Man-made materials are also used in these same types of clothing and in footwear, from sandals to dress shoes to boots. Begin by reading labels and feeling fabrics when you’re in doubt of their origin. You can also go online for sources of vegan clothing and footwear.
Cleaning Out Your Cabinets
Check your local health food store and retailers for cruelty-free beauty and personal products. Most will offer a selection of shampoos, conditioners, lotions, perfumes, and makeup that are free of animal ingredients and not tested on animals. These items tend to be a bit costly as they are often made with organic and better-quality ingredients. So begin by replacing one item at a time and don’t put a crimp on your pocketbook!
Many health food stores offer shampoos, conditioners, and lotions for sale in bulk quantities, which makes these products even more affordable. You can even make your own natural household cleaners by mixing water with a little vinegar or lemon juice. This mixture can clean your windows, bathrooms, countertops—you name it—all natural and very cheap!
The lifelong journey to a vegan lifestyle begins with short, sure, and steady steps. But it may not always be easy—you will likely have times when a craving hits you so hard you think you’ll just have to go get some nonvegan food. Most everyone goes through these times. During these rough moments, just remind yourself that you are making the right choice by going vegan lifestyle and that it is good for you and the rest of the planet. Good luck, and good health!
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