Easing your way into Veganism

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Changing a habit can be a challenge – especially trying Veganism. It can be time consuming, involve plenty of trial and error and be downright frustrating. So take this next sentence on board – Overhauling (and revolutionising) your diet will be tough, it will take longer than you first expected, but it will be worth it!

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YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.

Whatever you eat on a daily, weekly, monthly basis affects your body completely and utterly. You cannot avoid what you feed yourself- sooner or later you will experience its affects. The phrase ‘You are what you eat’ couldn’t be more true as whatever you eat, your body gets used to and adapts to. Is it any surprise that you find yourself gagging on a piece of cucumber if you normally avoid them like the plague? Don’t write them off as boring and useless. Cucumbers are not evil. You just need to give your body (and your taste buds) a chance.

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SLOWLY DOES IT…

If you find it difficult to change your eating habits, don’t worry – you are not the only one. Most of us cannot change over-night. The best way to begin overhauling your diet is to be inclusive. By inclusive I mean start adding vegetables,  or any other plant food into your diet without excluding anything from your current diet. It is a lot easier to fail if you start your new diet regime by telling yourself you can’t have something. Your body has relied on these foods for so long, your body is used to them. Your body is, in a sense, addicted to these foods, it is not a good idea to just go cold turkey. So instead start off small, just as much as you can cope with (maybe some fruit in the morning or a small salad with dinner) and then continue to increase the quantity of plant foods you eat and the variety. Overpower the bad with the good, the old with the new.

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MOTIVATION & EDUCATION

All the great self help gurus will tell you to achieve a goal you must first have passion- having a reason why, having powerful motivation is the key. It doesn’t even matter what it is, it just matters that it resonates deeply and profoundly with you. Did you start on this journey to achieve clear skin? To gain mountains of energy? To get physically insanely fit? To become utterly healthy? To help save the planet? Get clear on what you REALLY want. I first took up healthy eating to improve my skin, but to me it sounded like too much of a narcissistic reason, one that I felt embarrassed talking about. This is where I went wrong. The reason can be anything, as long as that reason fills you with energy, excitement and a ‘won’t stop’ attitude. After you have found your reason why, you need to fill your mind with these thoughts. Create mood-boards, read books on the subject, research and educate yourself. Get excited. As you learn, you will naturally become more passionate, fuelling the fire.

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SUPPORT NETWORK

Surrounding yourself with the right people is one of the biggest ways you can help yourself achieve your dreams. Trying to eat a healthy diet whilst living with unhealthy eaters is very tough and it is only a matter of time before it all goes wrong. Find people who want share the same goals that you do (be it Veganism or anything else you want to achieve). An even better step is to surround yourself with people who have already achieved what you want to achieve. They will be both guide and support you on your journey.

PLAN (Organisation)

Organisation and planning ahead or a lack of, has the ability to make or break your new diet.

Planning is key

Make sure your kitchen is always stocked to the brim with colourful and inviting plant food. Be sensible when it comes to meal planning- if you often feel tired after work, don’t plan to cook for an hour at dinner. Instead, find simple recipes that can be thrown together at the drop of a hat or cook in advance and freeze. Planning in advance helps you stop eating what you shouldn’t – hunger is the enemy of new diets.

RECORD YOURSELF

(take pictures of your meals/ food diary- to realise you ARE achieving/ growing/ getting there)

When you cook a fantastic meal, remember to take note of it in some form. I find the best way to do this is to take a picture. Keep the photos in a folder on your computer and before long you will have a collection of inspiring images. Having this is particularly important when you feel like you are getting nowhere, when you can’t see any improvements, or you feel you are constantly backsliding. Then you can look back at these photos and realise how well you have done, how much you have done and how proud you should be.

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PATIENCE

Take it one step at a time, one day at a time. If you find yourself backsliding, clinging on to old habits, don’t get angry at yourself. Be gentle –  backsliding happens. It’s your body trying to cling onto what it knows. Keep moving forward as best you can. Continue to read, listen and get inspired. You will get there!

Whatever you eat your body gets used to and adapts with. You eat a junk food diet and find yourself gagging on lettuce and therefore start to believe that lettuce is evil and should be avoided at all costs. Lettuce is not evil. You just haven’t given your body a chance. A fast food environment stomach doesn’t agree with lettuce because if for the past 5 years you’ve been eating take-aways every night. Is it any surprise? Start to eat a carrot, a small salad or an apple every day and your body will adapt. Like it does with everything, slowly but surely your body will adapt, your taste buds will change and you will start to taste the wide variety and variation of flavours plant foods have.