Stereotypes abound about vegans: They don't get enough protein or calcium. They eat soy at every meal. Their diet is boring and bland.
These myths stop many people from switching to a plant-based, animal-free diet, but none of them are true. Although transitioning to veganism may sound intimidating, it is actually easier than most people think, and you will still get enough nutrients and eat exciting, delicious meals as a vegan. And the soy is optional! To make the transition, start with these tips:
Make a List of Plant-Based Foods You Love
Chances are you already eat and enjoy a number of vegan foods. Write down your favorite fruits and vegetables to get started for planning your vegan diet.
Add Accidentally Vegan Foods
You may be surprised at the wide variety of mouthwatering foods that are “accidentally” vegan. These foods were not created particularly for vegans, but they do not contain animal products. Consult lists maintained by PETA and other organizations to discover these foods, and don't be surprised if you see some of your favorite indulgences on the lists!
The lists prove that you don't have to give up many of your favorite foods and snacks just because you are going vegan. For example, you can still indulge in Life Cereal, Ghiradelli hot chocolate, Lay's potato chips, Oreos, Ritz crackers, Thomas New York Style bagels and many more!
Know Your Labels
Reading labels is an important part of transitioning to veganism. Just as there are a number of foods that are surprisingly vegan, don't be tricked into thinking certain foods are safe. Always read the label when you are outside of the produce section. Look for animal by-products, such as gelatin, whey, cochineal and glycerin. Check online to discover more animal by-products, then keep a list with you while you shop.
Try New Recipes
Vegans don't just eat salads all the time. They also eat chocolate peanut butter pies, fried tofu wontons, veggie-filled samosas, spinach and bean quesadillas, pad Thai, macaroni and cheese, apple cobbler, sushi, hummus, nachos supreme, fried rice, guacamole, pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches and the list just goes on – they just don't use animal products when making them.
The Internet is filled with delicious vegan recipes for every meal of the day, and many are inexpensive and easy to make. Experiment with new meals, invite your friends over to cook and serve up a vegan meal that will satisfy your taste buds, nutritional needs and ethics.