Or perhaps the vision of spring and summer around the bend has you thinking of bikinis and shorts, so you thought to lose the ole’ muffin top.
Or a stern warning from your doctor inspired you to get fit.
Maybe you’re in it to help the animals or the environment?
There are lots of great reasons to enjoy a plant-based diet, but here we are… a week into the new year, and for many, big plans are getting a little shaky.
No one is really chatting about New Year’s Resolutions anymore, and we’re back to the crazy rush-rush world of school and work. Holiday vacation is over; and for many, a healthy plant-based diet comes to a full stop, too.
Have no fear, sweet peas!
Here are three terrific tips to help you stay on track, as you transition to a healthy, happy vegan diet.
Keep Things Simple
Did you find a super cool “pin” on Pinterest and veer off to make a failed vegan Baked Alaska?
Perhaps you tried a new recipe from a well-intentioned friend who gifted you a super fancy cookbook that called for 12 pricey hard-to-find ingredients?
Most seasoned vegans eat very simple meals. Sure, we cook fancy food from time to time, but for the most part, we cook fast and easy.
We open a can of black beans for tacos, a jar of spaghetti sauce for pasta, toss fresh greens with seasonal produce for a vibrant salad, or chop tofu and veggies for a savory stir fry served on a bed of rice.
A fruit smoothie, or maybe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich… or avocado on toast as we race out the door.
Why? Because we have things to do, places to go, people to see, animals to cuddle, and an entire world to change.
Our food is delicious, but it’s not complicated.
Sure, there are all sorts of interesting meals vegans enjoy that will be new (and exciting!) to you. But it will take some time to figure out which ones you like, and dislike based on what’s in them, and how you prepare them, so for now… stick with what you already enjoy, and “veganize” it!
If you love cottage pie, keep eating it, just sub out the beef for vegan beef crumbles, lentils or mushrooms. If you gobble up burritos, keep eating them, too, just sub beans for the meat filling. Love cheesy, creamy pasta dishes? It’s easy to make them using nutritional yeast, cashew cream and/or avocado.
Love chili? Here’s an easy vegan chili recipe for you! Enjoy sushi? There are plenty of ways to prepare vegan sushi without killing any fish. Addicted to Taco Bell? Here’s how to order vegan and still get your fast food fix.
But if you’ve never tried a bolognese or gumbo, don’t start eating vegan versions of them just yet. Or if you want to pile on your challenges by adding another new layer in addition to going vegan – like eating 100% raw, too… wait a beat.
Veganize what you already enjoy. Familiar meals bring us comfort, and help keep us content.
Keep Your “Reasons” Fresh
I devoted an entire chapter in my new book, The Vegan Way: 21 Days To A Happier, Healthier Plant-Based Lifestyle That Will Transform Your Home, Your Diet and You, to the importance of finding your muse. You need to know what and/or who inspires you to be vegan, and you need to keep that inspiration fresh!
Put notes around your desk, refrigerator, car, work, purse and/or wallet to remind yourself of all the super good reasons why you’re not eating animal products anymore.
Read books, such as Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals and Dr. Greger’s How Not To Die. Watch movies! Cowspiracy, Earthlings and Forks Over Knives will provide a good start. For weekly inspiration, consider subscribing to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s “Just The Facts” Newsletter, too. Inspiration abounds.
And here’s an extra tip: if you need support, don’t forget there are vegan meet-up groups across the nation. You can find like-minded friends to go to all sorts of fun vegan activities with! There’s even a vegan mentor program, and lots of supportive vegans on the My Vegan Journal Facebook page… and you can always write to me, too!
Or check out my new book, The Vegan Way; it’s online and bookstores across the country (including Barnes and Noble!) – and at libraries, too! (I LOVE that it’s at libraries!!) It’s packed with tasty tips and tricks, and it goes well beyond diet!
You CAN do this, sweet peas! And you’re not alone.
We’re in this together – for the animals, the environment, our own health, and the wellness of the entire world: Go Vegan and… Stay Vegan!
Jackie Day, Author of The Vegan Way: 21 Days to a Happier, Healthier Plant-Based Lifestyle That Will Transform Your Home, Your Diet, and You (St. Martin’s Press / Macmillan)