Advice on vegan food, clothing and lifestyle for World Vegan Day

In print and online resources, the vegan lifestyle seems to be popping up everywhere. There are myriad reasons to go vegan, from saving the environment to protecting animals. Wherever you are on your vegan journey, from your first request to your complete dedication to the movement, we have information and advice to guide you in the vegan direction.

Defining veganism

What exactly does it mean to be vegan and how does it compare to other diets? In its simplest form, a vegan diet is plant-based. Strict vegans do not eat any food that comes from an animal, including animal-produced foods such as eggs and honey. A vegan diet relies heavily on fresh fruits and vegetables, but also leans into nuts, legumes, seeds, tofu, whole grains, and other plant-based foods.

A vegan lifestyle is a statement against cruelty to animals, so it goes beyond what a person eats. It is a conscientious movement not to use, buy or consume animal products.

Related: 6 Vegan Jackfruit Recipes To Try For Your Next Meal

A knife cutting a pile of vegetables.

Benefits of a Vegan Lifestyle

People choose a vegan lifestyle for a variety of reasons. The main reason is to protect the animals of the planet. Another overriding reason for adopting vegan methods is to benefit the environment. Animal husbandry is difficult on land. It requires a lot of food, usually in the form of grains, to feed chickens, pigs, cows and other animals. This food is grown and then fed to animals before they are slaughtered. Part of the food chain maybe, but eating plants straight from the source eliminates many of the resources needed to raise livestock. Additionally, cows contribute to the release of methane, which is a greenhouse gas that adds to the carbon footprint.

The third main benefit of eating plant-based foods is for your health. Even with the vast array of diet options, almost all include copious amounts of plant-based recipes for the same reason – eating this way has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve or reverse a host of diseases. common as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. . Plus, plants provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals to support a healthy lifestyle.

Those who have committed to this lifestyle often report additional benefits such as increased energy, clearer thinking, improved focus, better sleep, and weight loss.

A sad person looking at a plate of food.

The Challenges of Going Vegan

It’s not easy being a vegan. In fact, it can be incredibly difficult. One of the main challenges is simply finding foods you can eat. Read any label and most of the time you will find some form of animal product. Go to most restaurants and you might be hard pressed to find anything other than a salad that fits the food profile.

Another challenge is learning to cook, order and eat in an entirely new way. Especially if you are used to preparing meat-based meals.

A bowl of oats next to a glass of milk.

Vegan Substitutes

The vegan movement has been around for decades. Some even argue that some indigenous people invented the way of life. Over the past few decades, vegan foods have brought both good and bad to the market via vegan substitutes. Processed foods still contain tons of unnecessary fats, salts, and sugars. Even those labeled as vegan can be an unhealthy choice, so try to stay away from the freezer section unless you’re buying vegetables.

In the dairy aisle, vegan alternatives can add a lot of variety to your diet. Vegan cheese, butter and milk complement your fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains. Again, watch for high levels of sugar, salt, and anything artificial. When it comes to milk, there are more and more options in the form of nut milks. You’ll want to experiment with almond, coconut, oat, rice, and soy milk.

A pile of vegetables.

Tips for eating vegan

The number one tip for adopting a vegan lifestyle is to take it slow. Most people cook and eat the same way from birth, so don’t try to reverse that in one day. Instead, slowly incorporate changes weekly or monthly. Replace cow’s milk with a vegetable variety. Replace the meat with beans in your soup, skip the meat in your burrito, and stuff it with seasoned rice and vegetables instead. Go meatless one night a week. Try to eat 80% plant-based. Whatever the change, play with it until it becomes a habit. Then move on to the next objective.

Belly problems are also common when starting a vegan diet. This is because it is high in fiber and your system is probably not used to it. This is another good reason to transition slowly to give your system time to adapt. During the process, pay attention to how you feel. Do you feel better after a fruit smoothie for breakfast rather than eggs and bacon? Has your nighttime heartburn disappeared? Do you ever avoid the afternoon crisis? How do you sleep? Associating good feelings like better focus and higher energy with the foods you eat is an intrinsic reward that will keep you on track. Try to follow a plant-based diet for breakfast and lunch, so that you have a period of consecutive hours without animal products that allow you to gauge how you are feeling.

A clothes rack.

Vegan life beyond food

Going vegan is a lifestyle that goes way beyond what you eat. It’s a movement that takes into account every purchase you make. Evaluate clothing to avoid wool, silk, leather, fur and suede. Also read the labels of your makeup, shampoo, facial cleanser, and cleansing products. More and more brands are labeling their products so you can easily find this information. However, your decision to go vegan doesn’t mean you have to throw away everything you own. Instead, use the products you have available while transitioning to new brands. Also, make good use of your clothes, so they don’t have a premature burial date.

Going through Form and Bree’s Vegan Life

Images via Pexels, Pixabay and iStock


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Tanya S. Norvell