Transitioning from a Vegetarian to a Vegan Diet
So you’re a vegetarian. You’ve read up on this new veganism trend and all of its benefits! (in case you haven’t, why don’t you check out - Why is Vegan Food Costly? – Vegan Dukan ). Now you’re looking to switch to a vegan diet. You go on the internet and search about how to make the transition from vegetarian to vegan. Many articles focus more on the things that you need to stop eating and not as much on how you can make the transition. So in this blog, we’ll give you the list of items that you do need to cut out from your diet for it to be completely vegan and some extra tips to help you make your transition successful.
Foods that are vegetarian but not vegan!
All Dairy Products - Milk, Ghee, Cheese, Paneer, Milk Sweets (You get the point :p)
Whey Protein Supplements
Tips to make the transition -
Take it one step at a time - When you’ve been on a vegetarian diet for most of your life, you’re very used to the tastes and smells of the vegetarian foods that you eat regularly. As a result, replacing all of your regular dairy foods with alternatives in one go might make it very difficult for you to sustain the transition for a relatively long time. Therefore, it is generally a good idea to switch to vegan alternatives one at a time.
Try out multiple alternatives - While switching to a plant-based diet is good for you and for the planet, what matters more is the amount of time that you stick to a vegan diet. Hence, it is better to keep trying alternatives to your favourite dairy foods till you land on alternatives that you actually like. Many consumers often try out a few alternatives and decide to stick to their vegetarian diets if they don't find their first few alternatives similar enough in taste and/or texture. Therefore, it's a good idea to try as many alternatives as possible
Make sure that your reasons to switch are concrete and well researched - Many times, the temptation of your favourite foods is just too irresistible to stick to a vegan diet. Many people switch back to their regular diet because of one reason or another. While some have genuine medical reasons, some also drop out because they’re not able to resist the temptations of dairy products. This ability to resist temptation comes from a strong reason/motive to make the switch in the first place. Hence, it is a good idea to idea to do thorough research about the various drawbacks of the vegetarian diet and advantages of the plant-based diet before you decide to make the switch!
Research about the impact on Animal Life - A factor that works well for many people is empathy. Empathising about the atrocities that animals go through because of the demand for dairy and dairy products. Hence, it may be a good idea for some people to do some research on how the animal agriculture industry treats animals! The information gathered from this research might just be enough to completely put you off dairy, as it has many people across the globe!
Don’t settle for anything less than the best possible Vegan Alternatives - Very often people settle for a vegan alternative that tastes good enough but not exactly like its non-vegan counterparts. This puts you in a situation where you soon end up longing for the dairy product and ultimately switching back to your vegetarian diet. In addition to this, the relatively average experience that you have with the not-so-perfect vegan alternative also leaves a slightly negative impression in your mind about vegan food in general. Hence, we recommend that you switch to vegan alternatives one at a time, and that too only once you find alternatives that actually satisfy your taste buds!
- Add Supplements - While the vegan food is extremely beneficial for you, it is lacking in one specific area - Vitamin B12. This vitamin is found in animal-derived products (so definitely not vegan) only. As a result, it is recommended that if you’re on a strict plant-based diet, you should include either a vitamin B12 supplement or specific foods that are high in this vitamin to ensure that you’re getting complete nutrition. You can read more about this in our blog -Vitamin B12 Supplements – Vegan Dukan
Vegan foods with high protein - While we at VeganDukan talked extensively about veganism and protein, which you can check out here - Vegan Protein - An Oxymoron? – Vegan Dukan, it's crucial that you ensure that the levels of protein in your diet are maintained as you switch to a vegan diet! While it's important that the alternatives that you switch to taste great, it is also important that your new diet is as nutritious as your old diet, if not more. The food items that you could add to your diet to ensure high protein intake have also been mentioned in the blog that we’ve linked to.
- Cravings are normal - It's important to understand that irrespective of why you choose to switch to a vegan diet, it's absolutely normal to have cravings for some foods. These may be some of the foods that you really enjoyed as a vegetarian. Or they may not be any food that you specifically enjoyed. Irrespective of the food, cravings do not indicate a weakness in your motive to switch to a vegan diet. Hence it is completely fine to have cravings for non-vegan food items! In fact, in the early phases of your switch, it's even okay to have a sort of cheat meal once in a while till you can completely commit to a vegan-only diet!
Some additional material to help you on your journey! - We’ve also linked below some great documentaries which will not only help you clear up any doubts that you may have about veganism, but will also help you in building a strong motivation to switch to veganism!
How A Vegan Pro Bodybuilder Eats | Rich Roll Podcast - YouTube
Dr Michael Greger | How Not To Die | Talks at Google - YouTube
An Inside Look at Factory Farms, via Photographer Jo-Anne McArthur | NowThis - YouTube
The Game Changers and Forks over Knives on Netflix