New Delhi: The internet has abundant lists, including dos and don'ts, top reasons why you should or should not do something, how-to guides, new recipes, and almost any information you need. Veganism is one such topic of discussion that attracts many readers. You may be curious about this lifestyle or want to explore it more. Whatever drives you to search for the vegan way of life, be sure there are plenty of resources and contradictory opinions about it. Before turning vegan, the most important thing to understand is why you are doing it.
You can discuss the pros and cons of veganism with people who have adopted this lifestyle or research it. A healthier lifestyle choice or a weight loss goal may steer you towards veganism. Environmental concerns can also be your reason for choosing to become vegan. As long as you are determined and have a strong desire to adapt to the new lifestyle, you can succeed in your efforts to turn vegan. Nikhil Bendre, Chef and Head of Content at Urban Platter shares some basic guidelines for those intending to opt veganism
Do it the right way - Opt for supplements you may need
Several considerations accompany any lifestyle change, and a series of minor adjustments make it possible to adhere to the changes in the long run. Besides considering alternatives and stocking your pantry with foods that will match your newly chosen diet regime, think carefully about your nutritional goals. Most regular diets lack some essential nutrients like vitamin B12, vitamin D, or iodine. Though rich in micronutrients and essential vitamins, a vegan diet may also require supplementation for these critical nutrients. Arm yourself with knowledge about multivitamins and supplements that you may require along with your diet.
These nutrients are found in fortified dairy alternatives, but the recommended route is to take multivitamins or natural supplements for the correct nutritional values. There are several myths and misconceptions about supplements. However, if you go vegan, you may need a B12 or iron supplement. Before taking supplements, understand your body's needs and consult your physician or nutritionist.
Is it expensive to turn vegan?
Another question that you may wonder about is how deep a hole plant-based products will make in your pocket. Contrary to what you may think, these products are less expensive than you imagine. Compared to a plant-based diet, meat-eaters may be spending more on procuring food. Opt for whole foods that are readily available across grocery stores and can be ordered online. However, please read the labels carefully for ingredients to avoid culprits like gelatin or milk powder finding their way into your grocery basket.
A few tips can come in handy when exploring options for your vegan menu. Opt for seasonal shopping or stock frozen fruits and vegetables if you can source them at better rates than fresh ones. Essentials like nuts, flour, beans, etc, can be bought in bulk. Tofu may become your new best friend since it is rich in protein, and you will appreciate how versatile it is as an ingredient. Make a meal plan and stick to your grocery shopping budget to avoid overspending at your favourite grocery store. You can find dairy alternatives, yoghurts, cheese, and many other substitutes at the nearest store, and you don't need to go hunting for these products.
Restaurants are not a thing of the past:
Turning vegan does not mean you cannot enjoy your meals, and you can learn how to make vegan versions of your favourite dishes. Explore restaurants around you that serve vegan alternatives. You will not go hungry at a restaurant since most provide vegan options. Some of your favourite foods might already be vegan. Chances are you will be spoiled for choices rather than avoiding restaurants due to your newly chosen lifestyle. Before you travel for work or leisure, check out places that offer meals that match your vegan meal plan.
If it's vegan, it's healthy and boring!
If you believe that everything labelled vegan is healthy, think again! You can find many junk food items like vegan pizzas, burgers, and cakes. The key is to enjoy these in moderation and avoid them if you are turning vegan for health reasons. A plant-based diet rich in whole foods consisting of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains will be beneficial. You don't need to avoid soy-based products, but consume them in moderation. Research healthy ingredients you can include in your vegan meal plans, such as miso, tempeh, tofu, soy milk, and edamame. Many exciting and delicious recipes can be vegan too. The occasional cheat days or meals that apply to regular diets are equally applicable to a vegan diet.
It's your road to walk alone or with others!
It is never easy to please everyone; a few might need help understanding your choices when turning vegan. You might face questions from friends and family, and your reasons may not appeal to them. However, agreeing to disagree and following your path to enjoying your new lifestyle are essential. The only way to progress on your vegan journey is by staying true to yourself and respecting your choice above everything else. Besides, there are communities you can join that share your beliefs about turning vegan. They can encourage you, guide you, and help you eat ethically. You will certainly not be alone in your choice, and you can receive help if you ask for it from suitable sources.
It's not for a day or two, but a way of life:
Remember, you are not just changing your diet plan. It is a new lifestyle that you have chosen. It may take time to happen, and you may slip while treading on the new path of veganism. It is essential to acknowledge that you need time, but it is equally important to stick to your decision. Keep yourself motivated and look for new and exciting ways to experiment with food.