Recently, I’ve been trying to get healthier. Last time I checked, I weigh about 220-225 pounds. I’ve started exercising, but the holidays have made sticking to a schedule difficult for me. Along with exercise, I’m trying to do something I did back in high school, going vegan. I went vegan for about 9 or 10 months in high school, during part of my Sophomore and Junior years. In my first few weeks, I noticed a HUGE loss in weight, but not a loss in energy or general health. So, I figure if I want to become healthier, I should give this whole vegan thing another shot. Maybe you want to make the change too, whether it’s for dieting, social, or cultural reasons. So, in order to help you, here’s some tips that helped me the first time, and is helping me now to maintain a vegan lifestyle.
First and foremost, don’t try to make the change immediate. When I first went vegan, I tried to just turn away all meat immediately. This posed a few issues. The first issue was that I wasn’t prepared, so I ended up cheating a lot. The second issue, and my biggest concern in relation to it, is that I noticed feeling weak and lacking energy. This was entirely because I hadn’t looked into vegan recipes, I didn’t look for meat substitutes, I just cut out protein immediately. This was the only time when I was vegan that I ever felt a lack of energy or strength, and it was all because I made the stupid mistake of ignoring a pretty essential thing; protein. Instead of making this mistake, start off small. Decide on days you will eat meat, and days you will be vegan. Slowly reduce your meat and dairy eating over the span of a few weeks, and you’ll find it’s much easier to stick with your new vegan diet.
Second, and kind of a strange tip, don’t tell anyone. I promise, you don’t want the constant debates about why your diet is wrong, or why you’re unhealthy because you don’t eat meat, or that “one person not eating meat isn’t going to change the world”. I get it. I know. I’m not trying to save the world one stir-fry at a time. People who lose unhealthy amounts of weight or experience health problems while adopting a vegan diet are doing something wrong. You can’t just magically cut out protein, there are serious issues that come with that, which is why vegans eat things like tofu, tempeh, seitan, and tons of other meat substitutes. Also, protein shakes can be your savior, if you can find some vegan friendly ones. Back to the point though, it’s not worth the heckling you’ll face. Sure, if you live with your parents, and they cook your meals, then you need to tell them. However, if you’re in high school, and you don’t know how to cook a meal for yourself, you’re in for a big surprise in life. Your family most likely won’t have any issues with you going vegan, provided that you don’t expect them to cook vegan meals for you. Also, eat with them. Don’t let your change in diet take you away from spending time with your family during dinner time. As long as you do this, your parents probably won’t have an issue with you being vegan. Trust me, my father was a butcher in his high school years, and has always worked in the food industry. If he didn’t care that I was vegan, your parents shouldn’t have an issue.
Third, don’t go into it alone. If you have a friend who is vegan, or is interested in going vegan, talk to them about it. It’s much easier to stick to a new diet or routine if you do it with someone else. Plus, then you both can help each other with things like recipes or finding places that have vegan options. You’d be surprised how many places you already like have vegan options. Taco Bell is great about having vegan options. Just ask for beans instead of meat, and if something has cheese or sour cream, ask for those off. It’s a lot easier to find vegan options than you’d expect. The extra accountability of a friend helps a lot in sticking to a diet like this.
I hope this all helps you, I know it’s certainly worked for me. I’m currently going vegan again with my girlfriend, and it’s going pretty well so far. Maybe y’all have an experience you wanna share with me, feel free to comment, I’d love to hear your stories. Beyond that, I hope y’all have a great day, and be sure to check back next week for another set of ramblings from your (least) favorite blogger!