A while back I came across an article in the NY Times titled How to Go Vegan and it of course piqued my interest. My husband is a personal trainer and all of his clients know that I follow a vegan diet, so one of them cut this article out of the newspaper and gave it to him to give to me. How freaking cute is that? Sometimes I just love people.

Reading this article inspired me to write my own guide on How to Go Vegan based on what worked for me and what feedback I've received from others who have attempted it, both successfully and unsuccessfully. This is just a guide on how to follow a vegan diet. Being completely vegan really goes much deeper than simply what you eat but that's not what this blog is about.

So, here's my advice for those who think they might be interested in giving this plant-based way of eating a try. I'm not sharing all of this information with you all to try and convince you to switch to a plant based diet, but rather to give you the resources to be able to do so pleasantly if that's what you want to do.

1. Gather some information.

"What makes a food vegan?" It must be void of all animal products, including meat (beef, pork, poultry, fish, veal, venison, bison, etc.), eggsdairy (milk, milk fat, butter, whey, casein, cream, cheese, etc.), and other animal products (beef or chicken stock/broth, gelatin, animal fat or lard, etc.).  Here is a good link for you to refer to for more details. You can also type in "Vegetarian Starter Kit" in an internet search and there are a handful of different companies that will mail you a vegetarian starter kit for free. These have great articles, lots of yummy recipes, and (beware) some graphic pictures as well.

2. Assess yourself. 

Are you the kind of person who can make a diet change like this cold turkey and once you set your mind to something then you really commit to it? If so, that's awesome and that's how you should go at this, like it's one big challenge for you to tackle and there's no other option but to succeed.

Or are you the kind of person who needs to ease their way into things so you don't feel overwhelmed, get upset, and quit? There's absolutely nothing wrong with you if you're that kind of person (everyone is different) and that doesn't mean that you're going to fail at this if you try. Your approach should be to take this as a step by step program, two weeks at a time. You can structure it however you feel will be best for you, but it might be red meat and pork first, then two weeks later poultry and fish, then after that eggs.

Once you've got that down then you tackle dairy. This one is honestly much harder than cutting out the meat because it seems like dairy is hiding everywhere! Did you know that some kettle cooked potato chips contain whey, which is a protein derived from milk?

Another thing that will make giving up dairy more difficult than meat is that cheese contains a hormone called casomorphin, which has the same opiate/addictive affect on your body as real morphine. That's why so many people say, "I just love cheese too much to be vegan!"

I'm not judging you for saying it - I said it too! Just remember that it's not your fault you love cheese so much, and after a month without it I PROMISE you will not crave it anymore. Yes, it may still sound good to you, but you will no longer feel the pull towards it that you once did.

Once you've gone two weeks without dairy, then work on the other things like gelatin, and honey if you wish.

3. Do not try to replace the meat and cheese.

If you think that the easiest way for you to cut meat and cheese out of your life is to run out and buy a cartload of alternative meat and cheese products then you're going to end up really disappointed and unhappy with this way of eating. These products are not intended (at least in my opinion) to replace the meat and cheese in your life because, honestly, nothing can do that. There is no vegan meat or cheese product that taste just like the real thing, and that is especially true with cheese.


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