I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Going vegan was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I’m never turning back.
While I’ve never thought about going back to meat, that’s definitely not the case for everyone. You may struggle with cravings for animal foods, or find non-vegan foods more accessible in your area, or just have a hard time creating new habits.
Let me tell you, you can thrive on a vegan lifestyle. You’ve just got to have the right knowledge. So here are my three best tips to stay vegan.
Love being vegan
Probably my best tip for staying vegan is to love being vegan. Whether it’s your passion for the animals, your health, or the food itself, find something that you’re super excited about.
If you don’t have that passion yet, how do you get it? Exploration, my friend! Get a vegan cookbook and try a new dish every day. Volunteer at a sanctuary to form a connection with animals who have been rescued. Understand how a vegan diet has already improved your health and set a goal to go even further. You can also tie your vegan lifestyle into something you are already passionate about.
What is it that you are most passionate about? Share in the comments!
Don’t copy someone else’s vegan lifestyle
As a new vegan, you might look to someone for inspiration as an example of what it means to be vegan.
For me, I tried to model my eating habits after Freelee the Banana Girl (who was rocking the vegan lifestyle!) by eating outrageously large quantities of fruit, rice and potatoes. I didn’t take into account her super active lifestyle, though.
So what happened to me? Weight gain. Only about 6 pounds, though…and I was happy for the extra insulation. But still.
That’s when I learned: You can’t copy someone else’s lifestyle. What works for you will not work for me because we’re two different people with different caloric needs living different lives.
Since then, I’ve slowly come to find what my ideal vegan lifestyle looks like for me. Right now, I thrive on a smoothie and some whole fruit in the morning, a salad in the afternoon, and rice, sweet potatoes, or brown rice pasta in the evening. Oh and lots of avocado!
Don’t get me wrong! I’m all for getting ideas from other vegans. But you have to make them your own to find what’s sustainable.
Keep the weight on
There’s a stereotype that vegans are weak and scrawny because all we eat is “rabbit food.” If that’s you, then you could probably benefit from making a few tweaks to your diet.
Not eating enough calories is one of the most common mistakes new vegans make. With this in mind, I’ve found my body does best with 1,700-2,000 calories a day, depending on how active I am.
How do I know this is my ideal range? If I consistently eat less than this, I lose weight, which I don’t want to do. I also get headaches and feel weak. On the other hand, to eat more than this I really have to force myself and it just doesn’t feel natural.
Understand that if you’re eating primarily plant foods that have fewer calories than meat or processed food, you’ll have to eat a larger quantity of food. It’s just a matter of retraining yourself and paying attention to what feels good to your body.
If you can’t tell, I’m super passionate about the vegan lifestyle and believe it can change your life. While there are so many ways to stay vegan, I wanted to keep this list short so you have just a few pieces to focus on.