How to Make the Transition to Veganism
As a yoga practitioner, it might seem like many of the people around you are vegan, or at least vegetarian. Yogis often talk about how avoiding animal products is part of practicing ahimsa or about how eating a plant-based diet makes them feel more energetic, less bloated, and just all-around healthier. For frequent meat-eaters, though, giving up animal products can seem intimidating. But if you’re curious about transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, these tips will make it much more accessible.
Know your Why.
Like most things in life, it will be a lot easier to transition to a vegan diet if you know why you’re doing it. Educate yourself on the health effects of consuming animal products. Read about the meat and dairy industries to understand how the animals are treated. Learn about the environmental impacts of these industries and the ethics they employ. The more you understand your reasons for adopting a vegan diet, the more motivated you’ll be to make the transition.
Research vegan nutrition.
Many people believe that a vegan diet is inherently unhealthy, which is just a stereotype – but it gets credence from the many vegans who subsist solely on packaged food in the name of avoiding animal products. Eliminating foods that are a major source of important nutrients – like protein, iron, and B vitamins – is a big change, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Doing some research on vegan sources of these nutrients will equip you to eat a balanced diet. Plus, it’ll give you the peace the mind that you’re making a healthy change. If you’re ready to make a serious commitment to your health after you’ve finished your research, and whether or not you’ve decided to go Vegan, join us on one of our Signature Yoga Vacations right here in paradise to learn even more about just what your body, mind, and spirit need for optimal function and enjoyment!
Find plant-based inspiration.
People worry that vegan food is not only unhealthy but also just not very tasty. Fortunately, flavorful fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, and oils can be combined to make delicious meat-free dishes. Browse vegan cookbooks or food blogs, pin delicious-looking recipes on Pinterest, or consider going on vegan retreats. You’ll discover a whole mouth-watering world of plant-based food that will get you excited about forgoing animal products.
Experiment in the kitchen.
Of course, the best way to find foods you love is by getting to work in the kitchen. Don’t just collect vegan recipes – start making them! Challenge yourself to cook a certain number of new recipes per week, and keep mixing it up. Try using different protein sources or new vegetables, and try cooking them in different ways. You might not have a taste for every vegan recipe you make, but if you keep experimenting, you’ll find dishes you love. We’ve got some delicious vegan recipes on our blog that you can enjoy making yourself, including these Chinese Dumplings, a tasty Raw Chocolate Cheesecake or our Detoxifying Super Green Soup!
Make a gradual transition.
If you’re used to eating meat or dairy at every meal, going straight to a fully vegan diet will be a huge shock. So instead of going cold turkey, try making a slower transition. Cut out meat first, and then eggs and dairy. Begin by having animal-based foods only as sides, instead of as your main dishes. Start eating vegan just a couple of days per week, eventually working your way up to all seven. Making small shifts like these will feel much more doable than completely overhauling your diet, and it’ll make your new lifestyle more likely to stick. To read more about Vikasa’s commitment to health both inside and out (no matter if you’re vegan, raw, vegetarian or carnivore!), check out all of the many Wellness themed articles on our blog or take a look at our VITOX page for our truly transformative approach to cleansing.
About the Author
Jen is a freelance writer, blogger, and yoga teacher who left her office job in Boston to travel the world with her husband. She previously worked in international development and academic research, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda. Some of her biggest passions include promoting responsible and mindful travel and helping her students develop their personal yoga practice.