Veganism isn’t exactly a new concept. Granted, it was met with some skepticism when it first hit the scene, but now its popularity has grown to a level where most people won’t bat an eye if they hear someone is a vegan. People may elect to go vegan for any number of reasons. Some do it because they feel strongly against the practice of factory farming, and their decision to lead a vegan lifestyle is an ethical one. For others, health conditions require their diet to be 100% plant-based. If you’re considering living a vegan lifestyle, regardless of the reason, here’s what you need to know.
First things first, let’s get a common misconception out of the way. Veganism isn’t a “diet,” it’s a lifestyle choice. While a vegan’s diet is probably the most well-known aspect of the lifestyle, but their beliefs and actions go beyond what food they put into their bodies. Ultimately, vegans have chosen the lifestyle to eliminate animal suffering, so they’ll also go “animal-free” in other areas of their lives, from the clothes they wear to the makeup they use.
Veganism may sound like it’s extremely restrictive in terms of the food available. While this may have been the case when the lifestyle first hit the scene, today you can find a wide variety of vegan-friendly foods, from bacon to ice cream. The heart of vegan cuisine, though, lies in preparing amazing dishes using nothing but non-processed plants.
When you first make the decision to change over to a vegan lifestyle, understand that your new diet is probably going to cause some pretty significant physical changes in your body. You’ll be consuming nothing but plants, and as such, your body is going to be overloaded with levels of fiber (and water) that you’re not used to. As a result, you’ll likely feel more tired and suffer from headaches at first. Plenty of rest and hydration is key at the beginning.
You may also find yourself explaining veganism to others much more often than you initially expected. The key is to explain that you weren’t always vegan and that you aren’t judging those who choose to still eat meat but you’ve made your decision based on information you didn’t know about before.