Gradually vegan: Even the longest journey begins with a first step, says popular Far Eastern wisdom. But starting a vegan life can be successful for anyone. We show how it can work.
No matter why you have decided to eat purely plant-based food temporarily, occasionally or permanently: These five steps will help you become vegan.
Going vegan is a matter of the mind
Nothing against gut feeling. But much of the decision to become vegan is (also) a matter of the mind. Therefore, first answer the simple question: why? Those who are aware of their reasons are more motivated and have a better chance of persevering than someone who goes a little vegan because it’s trendy.
Also important: change the perspective. Instead of regarding the vegan project as just renunciation and joyless asceticism, discover the appeal of the new – and with it a variety of unknown foods and delicious dishes.
From experience with good intentions: Don’t put yourself under pressure. Instead of “Never again from today!” to prescribe, approach the whole thing as a self-experiment: for a week, a month… Then you decide whether and how to continue.
Basic knowledge for vegan nutrition
Anyone who starts thinking about vegan nutrition quickly feels overwhelmed by the flood of information. Nevertheless, it is advisable to do some research beforehand so that you can also eat a wholesome, plant-based diet: Which nutrients are in which foods? What nutrients does a plant-based diet not cover?
The vegan food pyramid developed by Giessen scientists led by Prof. Markus Keller offers a good overview (download from the Albert Schweitzer Foundation). Keller also advises having the blood values of critical nutrients checked six months to a year after the change – and then once a year or, if the values are good, every two to three years.
Going vegan works step by step
Of course there are people who manage to live completely vegan from one day to the next. But most people find it easier to change gradually. It is best for everyone to determine the stages individually – depending on the requirements and goal.
Omnivores may initially skip meat and sausages; those who live a vegetarian life start with a vegan breakfast or two or three purely plant-based days a week – and gradually leave out eggs, cheese and other dairy products. It is helpful to look for allies – via Facebook or neighborhood networks. Vegan buddies on site also give tips for cooking or shopping. The “vegan friends” can be found at vheft.de/veganbuddy.
Go vegan: Go for the vegan recipes
If you don’t just want to eat soy pudding, vegan frozen pizza or meat substitutes, you should create a collection of recipes – adapted to your cooking skills. A mixture of quick everyday dishes and those that are a little more complex is best.
Before you start cooking, you still have to go shopping: for the vegan basic supply with legumes, (pseudo) grains, nuts, cold-pressed oils, etc. Plus fresh vegetables, fruit – and possibly one or the other substitute product.
Stay undogmatic when going vegan
Stay flexible: You will certainly experience cravings or setbacks from time to time. Or don’t want to offend grandma, who bakes you the lemon pound cake with eggs as always. Be that as it may: Your decision to go vegan is voluntary – you don’t have to justify exceptions to anyone, not even to yourself. Those who are self-indulgent don’t give up immediately when they have “sinned”. Vegan associations agree anyway: Every meal counts.
The animal rights organization PETA offers a practical starting aid with veganstart.de. If you register (free of charge), you will receive an email with tips, tricks and information about vegan life every day for 30 days. Also available as an app.