Going vegan can be a very tough decision to make, especially if you are coming from a diet with meat in it.
We spoke to Catherine Phillips of the South African Vegan Society Durban chapter, and Heidi Warricker who is the driving force behind the Vegan and Plant-Powered Show about the do’s and don’ts of going vegan.
Below is what they had to say.
Join Facebook groups and WhatsApp groups to get support, ideas and make new friends who understand your journey.
Experiment with food. I found that when I went vegan I started getting more creative with my meals.
Do remember that you were not always vegan, so treat others kindly showing them the way. Confrontation puts people's backs up.
Take a vitamin B12 supplement. B12 was found in the soil and plants we used to eat had them. Nowadays plants are sprayed and cleaned so the soil is often B12 deficient. Animals are injected with B12 so people are getting it from consuming them.
Don't try to make the same meals as you used to eat as a meat-eater. By simply replacing the meat with an alternative you will probably be disappointed in the beginning expecting the same taste. Try making new simple meals with veggies and beans and legumes rather.
Don't get upset and hurt by people who mock you or make silly jokes. There will be lots of them. remember that your choices are going to make people uncomfortable as many know that what you are doing is right.
Don't worry about getting enough protein - that's the first question everyone will ask you - where do you get your protein from. Foods like tofu, lentils, beans, oats, and nuts are just a few that are packed with protein.
Fill up on vegetables. Make quality plant-based foods your focus and eat a nutritious and varied diet.
Include fibre, probiotics, protein and drink lots of water! Nuts contain both protein and fibre. You need protein to repair your body’s tissues, and, if you’re eating enough fibre and keeping regular, you need plenty of H2O to help the fibre work its way through your system.
Start off slowly. Going vegan can be a big adjustment for your body. Eat vegan until the evening and finish off your day with moderate servings of fish, eggs, and dairy. Continue this pattern for about a month before you cut out all animal products.
Become a carb-o-vore or you’ll be likely to gain weight. What you need is a balanced diet.
Think that something is healthy just because it's vegan? There are so many highly processed junk food vegan options available to consumers. There are those who consume French fries and tomato sauce and never eat vegetables and fruit. It’s not a good idea.