She’s a living legend, a staunch feminist, actress, and by far the undisputed queen of R&B. He’s a former president with a long list of accomplishments, and is affectionately referred to by some as the first black president of the United States. She is a socialite, fashion designer, activist, and most recently had people wondering if it really does go down in the DMs. He is a rapper, producer, and as he put it best he’s not a businessman, he’s a business, man. By now you’ve gathered that these people are Beyoncé, Angela Simmons, Bill Clinton, and Jay-z. But what do they have in common? They are part of a growing list of celebrities who have either made a short term commitment to being vegan or have committed to the lifestyle change for the long haul.
Besides the link between veganism and reduced rates of certain cancers, healthy skin, and weight loss being vegan has so many additional benefits and reasons to take the plunge. However, it is by no means a transition that should be made lightly. If you have wondered if this lifestyle is for you, or if you’re ready to give it a try, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Do Your Research
There are some who can go cold turkey and become vegan, but for the majority of people this is not the case. This is especially difficult if you’re surrounded by family or friends who are not supportive or have diets full of all the things you are trying to avoid. The key is taking the time to understand just what you’ll be giving up, and how you can find substitutes that are just as delicious and nutritious as the foods you’re removing from your diet*. One of the common mistakes many people make when transitioning to meat-free and dairy-free diets is that they replace what they’ve removed with what can be harmful soy-based products. One glance down a natural food or health food aisle in a grocery store and you’ll find: soy chicken, soy bacon, soy hot dogs, soy shrimp, and so many other things. While this may seem like the best way to continue to enjoy eating the things that you like, and getting the nutrients you need, it isn’t.
Meal Prep isn’t just for the health and fitness enthusiasts or moms of large families, it is a vegan’s secret weapon. Planning your meals in advance is key to not succumbing to the temptation of eating things you shouldn’t or making unhealthy choices. There have been countless times I’ve not prepared food in advance and ended up eating a small bag potato chips because that was the vegan alternative, but was not at all a healthy choice. Some may say that prepping food in advance is too much work and results in a boring meal choices. While the initial investment of time and energy is great, the return of staying on track and eating right is even greater. Additionally, with the many vegan recipes available there is no reason to ever have boring meals.
Get Ready to Explore
Transitioning to a vegan diet is a great time begin exploring and getting out of your food comfort zone. Between all the vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants being built all over, the numerous blogs and vlogs dedicated to sharing meal ideas, and recipes available through a simple Google search it’s a great opportunity to try new foods and discover different flavors and spices that you may otherwise have avoided. Just because you’ve chosen to remove certain items from your diet does mean you are destined to eat bland and boring meals for the rest of your life. If you have willing family and friends, try hosting a pot-luck or inviting them out to eat at a vegan-friendly place. Besides the pleasure of their company it’s a great way to garner their support and introduce them to foods they may end up enjoying as well.
You may not be willing to commit to being vegan long-term, but you can join the likes of Karen Civil and Dj Khaled who went vegan for a short time period. Choosing this lifestyle can be challenging; however, it is one of the most rewarding things that you can do your health and well being. Whether you simply want to be healthy, cruelty-free, or try something new, being vegan may just be for you!
* Consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program
by Natacha Lorius
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