Today I´m celebrating 5 months of been vegan! Wuhuu and I couldn’t feel happier about it. As you might know, I have been conscious about fashion and support second-hand and ethical brands since a long time. Funny enough, I was never conscious of what I eat. Coming from Colombia, a land where if you don´t eat meat you get chicken, I grew up thinking that I needed to eat meet at least once per day
I started to get more awareness about the veil industry and the consequences to the environment when I watched the documentary of Leonardo Di Caprio “Before the flood”. I was in the mood for more documentaries about it and that´s when I watched Cowspiracy. After that, literaly from one day to the other I started my vegan journey. I still have a lot to learn, but after 5 months I feel confident to give my top 6 starters tips.
1. Clean up your shelves and fridge
Once you made the decision of start eating vegan, make sure that your house is vegan proof. Go through your shelves and fridge and put aside the nonvegan food you still have. You can then decide whether to finish it up or give it to your nonvegans friends and family. It is important that once you made the decision, your house is vegan proof at least in the kitchen.
2. Print out a poster of vegan nutrition
Hang posters on your fridge with information about where to find Calcium, Protein, Iron, vitamin D, B12, and Omegas. Those are the top nutrients that vegans may fall short on. You can go through Pinterest and choose the one you like the most. This one HERE was very helpful to me. With the pass of the time, you will learn this. It is important that you have them visible so that you eat enough of all the nutrients your body need. In HERE you can find more information about how much of each you should eat.
3. Stuff your shelves and fridge with vegan approved food.
Go for a big grocery shopping haul and get all the fruits and vegetables that are in season and that you like as well as all seeds, nuts and legumes and grains. As seeds and nuts, I bought almonds, walnuts, pumpkin-, flax-, chia-, and sesame seeds. And legumes and grains I got kidney beans, red and brown lentils, green peas, peanuts, chickpeas, rice (integral), oats, corn, couscous (integral), quinoa (integral). This stash is basic for this new way of eating. For me, it lasted long until I needed to go to the supermarket again. This is helpful because you won´t run out of vegan things to eat and you can combine these ingredients with fruits and veggies.
4. Plan ahead and be prepared
Make sure you always have enough food that you can eat in your house, at work and basically in your bag. On my bag, I always carry with me an apple or any other fruit that won´t smash and dirty my bag, and I also have hummus sandwiches or peanut butter sandwich with me. I used to commute to Amsterdam and waiting in the station is the perfect moment to eat. If you are always prepared you won´t be hungry and you will save some money. 😉
5. Have fun!
Once you are all settled, you can start experimenting with new recipes and discover new fruits and vegetables. I live in The Netherlands and I have found great recipes via http://www.ah.nl. Simply type the ingredients you have + vegan and you will find a lot of recipes to choose from. This technic you can also use in Google.
6. Stay connected
The second I decided to been vegan I joined a couple of vegan communities that I find very helpful. It is important to find people like you, with the same struggles. I found very helpful people in these communities. If you are using Facebook, join some vegan groups and dare to ask questions and be active. Once in facebook, write down on the search function the word vegan and you will find groups and you can choose a few that are in your country and language. I started following also vegan blogs and vegan Instagram accounts.This has personally helped me to continue my journey as a vegan and feel connected to others.
If you want more information about the vegan lifestyle this is a list of films and documentaries that might help you to understand more about this topic: