Some people tell me that they or someone they know have tried going vegan but would always feel hungry or weak so they went back to eating meat. They were always miserable so eventually they gave up going vegan. But there’s a reason why some people, including me, have successfully transitioned to going vegan and are loving it. And if we can do it, I truly believe you can too. But the key is knowing your way around the vegan lifestyle.
Right below are tips for a more sustainable and enjoyable plant-based lifestyle that have worked for me, and hopefully will work for you too.
The key is knowing your resources.
Your vegan journey will become easier if you do your research. Just like with any lifestyle changes, you have to inform yourself about what you’re getting yourself into. So do your homework first. And if doing research sounds intimidating, try familiar ways of doing it. For example, you can google grocery stores that carry vegan substitutes. Often times, Asian grocery stores, natural food stores, and farmers markets carry vegan stuff. If you don’t cook all the time, google restaurants near you that carry vegan options or better yet, check an all-vegan restaurant. Websites like Yelp and Happy Cow are also good resources to find these establishments. Another tip is to check ethnic restaurants like Mediterranean, Ethiopian, Thai, Chinese, and Indian restaurants because they usually have vegan options.
If you love to cook, buy or borrow a vegan cookbook. Personally, cookbooks have helped me many times in the kitchen. I have a small collection that gives me ideas and inspiration. But if cookbooks aren’t your thing, you can also go online and find countless of vegan recipes on blogs, social media, and YouTube. Heck, you’re already on my blog and you can always use my recipes here.
But if you’re more interested in vegan nutrition and fitness, you can find tons of books written about them. Aside from books, you can watch documentaries on Netflix, recorded talks on YouTube, and live speeches at vegan festivals. In fact, almost every vegan festival I’ve been has a talk about nutrition and fitness. Also, you can look up vegan athletes and draw inspiration and motivation from them.
If you have your go-to resources, you won’t feel deprived. But learning about them requires time and effort on your part. I remember once, someone messaged me online and said that he would go vegan no problem if he has a personal chef to cook for him all the time. I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way. Get to know your grocery stores, restaurants, vegan books, and online resources, and you’ll feel more empowered and informed navigating your vegan journey.
Be part of the community.
Let’s say you’ve researched everywhere but still can’t find the answer to where you can buy vegan butter in your neighborhood. Well chances are, another vegan in your area is either thinking the same question or has the answer to it. So find a vegan community in your neighborhood. Usually, Facebook groups are a good place to find your community. For example, Filipino vegans in the Philippines have the “Manila Vegans” Facebook group. Vegans in San Francisco have the “SF Vegans” Facebook group. And if you don’t have a specific neighborhood because you travel alot, there’s the “Vegan Travel” Facebook group. If you still can’t find one that suits you, then you can start it yourself. After all, Facebook is free and easy to use.
Aside from Facebook, you can also find like-minded people on Instagram. In fact, I met most of my vegan friends through Instagram. You can search using hashtags like “veganFilipino”, “bayareavegan”, or whatever you think will be the keyword to what you’re looking for. Then you can either “like”, leave a comment, or follow the account. Before you know it, you have a list of social media friends that can help answer all your questions.
Once you have gained confidence building an online community, you can take it up a notch and meet them in person. Just make sure that you have built enough trust and friendship to meet them face to face. My online friends and I met up in person and have been throwing potlucks since then. And once a year, we extend the potluck invitation by putting together the “Bay Area Vegan Potluck“, where anyone can bring a vegan dish, get to know each other, and celebrate good vegan food. And if meeting in person is not a big deal to you, then you can join vegan meet-ups via Meetup.com and other social meet-up groups.
Progress, not perfection.
What if you accidentally ate something that has ground beef? Does that mean you’re not vegan anymore and should stop trying to be one? I think it’s the intention that counts. So if you still want to eat less or no meat, or go full-vegan, then keep doing that. Some might question why you’re not vegan all the way. But if you’re just learning your way around and still discovering what it truly means to have a vegan lifestyle, then you shouldn’t feel insecure that you’re not vegan level 100. Baby steps are still progress.
Don’t get me wrong though, maybe you can go vegan overnight. I have a friend who went vegan right after she watched vegan documentaries and she’s still very much vegan up to this day. As for me, I was eating less meat at first then went vegetarian then went vegan. So find your style and respect it. Continue with that intention. Every vegan journey is different and it’s important to find yours. Just don’t think you have to stop your progress because you’re not perfect at it.
And there you have it, my top three tips for going and staying vegan. First, know your resources, second, find your community, and third focus on progress and not perfection. I hope that these tips give you enough encouragement and motivation. And remember, I’m always here to help so please don’t be afraid to reach out. Besides, I love getting feedback from you!