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Veganism is a philosophy, not a diet. But diet absolutely has the biggest impact and therefore is quintessential to getting started. Adopting a vegan lifestyle may be the healthiest for you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It is important to learn the healthiest ways to be vegan so you will be successful at it and help others be as well. Keep it about the animals and make it with health. If you need help consider consulting with someone who practices lifestyle medicine.
“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.” Vegan Society
“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.” (source) Before making any major lifestyle changes you should always consult with a qualified professional; e.g. a dietitian, nutritionist, or physician that practices “lifestyle medicine“.
It’s easy to not consume animals or their secretions. Simply eat whole plant foods such as legumes, greens, grains, fruits, veggies, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices and a variety of each. Learn from there how to improve your knowledge of nutrition. But have no fear, simple is often best.
Lead or Follow
Dr Fuhrman once said “you have to he a leader to succeed at this.” Otherwise you may just follow what everyone else is doing. So befriend other vegans. This way if you are persuaded worst thing it might be is a beyond burger.
Some of the best advice I’ve heard is to find someone successful at being vegan that you can learn from. Immerse yourself in the community. It may not be right where you are but it is out there. Find events, like minded people, organizations, find and give support where the vegans are and make this vegan world grow.
Share your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom. Let us know if you think we should include or exclude anything and why, share any obstacles you encountered and how you overcame those, encouraging words or anything helpful.
Acclimate to New Foods
If you’re new to eating these foods it may take some time getting use to them. You may even discover a sensitivity or an allergy to a certain food. Some of these things can change over time. But, don’t give up because there’s tens of thousands of other edible whole plant food options. And no matter how bad your situation is there’s a plant based doctor that may help.
Ask Someone Qualified for Help
Because most of us aren’t raised vegan there most likely is a learning curve. If you feel like you need help be sure to find a nutritionist, dietitian, or physician that practices Lifestyle Medicine!
Make Healthy Fun!
Have fun trying new recipes but keep it as simple and healthy whole food as possible. Learn as much as you can to create healthy routine staples you enjoy every week. And find fun ways to learn about how amazing these healthy foods are. I love NutritionFacts.
How to Go Vegan in 5 Simple Steps
Start with the Daily Dozen
The daily dozen app by NutritionFacts.org is the best app/tool I have found for healthy eating and easiest to implement. I think it’s really all anyone needs.
The daily dozen app is backed by the most comprehensive analysis on nutritional science. This incredible and invaluable tool is completely free and available for both IOS & Android! Install it now to see how easy it is to get started on perhaps the healthiest diet ever for your lifestyle:
Below are screen shots of the Daily Dozen App on an android. The first two are of the main screen where you check off the foods you’ve eaten for the day.
The next two show how you can select a category, in this case beans, and learn more about it. You’ll see serving size examples and different types. Next to the types you can select “video” to see a NutritionFacts.org video about that particular food. It’s so awesome!
Other Great Ways to Go Vegan
A lot of people also find free programs like these great as well; the “21 Day Vegan Kickstart” program by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and “Challenge 22” with online guidance by mentors and registered dietitians. Kaiser Permanente also offers a fantastic booklet you can reference.
For more tips, inspiration, recipes, and advice consider subscribing to these YouTube channels:
Nutrition Facts | Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine | Plant Chompers | Bite Size Vegan | Mic the Vegan | Avante Garde Vegan | Happy Healthy Vegan | Plant Based News | Plant Based Science London | Guilt Free TV | Hench Herbivore | Jane UnChained | Forks Over Knives | Vegan Outreach | Vegan Action | PETA
Why Go Vegan?
It just so happens to be, what’s best for us is also best for the animals and planet.
“Only one way of eating has ever been proven to reverse heart disease in the majority of patients: a diet centered around whole plant foods. If that’s all a whole-food, plant-based diet could do—reverse our number-one killer—shouldn’t that be the default diet until proven otherwise? The fact it may also be effective in preventing, treating, and arresting other leading killers seems to make the case for plant-based eating simply overwhelming.” (s)
Health is one of, if not the leading reasons people go vegan.(s) About just as many people go vegan for ethics. Veganism is also the fastest growing lifestyle changes in the world!(s) While, generally speaking, people may typically go vegan for health, ethics, and/or the environment; most people invariably embrace all of these reasons equivocally and wholeheartedly.
Keep it Healthy & Ethical
Whatever your reason may be for going vegan, I hope you will consider the ethics along with learning as much as you can about health. Optimum health enables you to sustain this lifestyle in the most powerful way. Ethics ground your reason if times get tough enabling you to endure whatever it may take for you to succeed.
In turn you will gain unfettered, unprecedented access to new levels of energy, focus, empathy, compassion, and integrity. This is the way to actualizing your utmost potential in all you do. It’s no wonder people say going vegan was the best decision they ever made and their biggest regret was not going vegan sooner.
By shedding away this profound personal and cultural dissonance you now foster a non-violent world more than ever through these simple life changes. Think about endless trillions of sentient animals, earthlings, beings continuously tortured and slaughtered. Starting with you now, this cruelty is no longer necessary and in fact harmful to the very people consuming and therefore supporting it.
Easy for Most, Hard for Some
The following video shares challenges some may have (albeit rarely) with transitioning into a whole food vegan diet. This is great information even if you don’t have any of these problems because it can help you help someone else!
In my interviews people often say after going vegan they feel lighter, get sick less, and express loss of unwanted weight. With that comes improved mood and energy, heightened athletic and sexual performance, and increased productivity. And most impressive are the endless stories of reversing chronic, life threatening illnesses; like heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Occasionally someone may experience some transitional discomfort as their body adjusts to this healthier lifestyle. Maybe, for example, their microbiome is not adapted and sensitive to greens, grains, or beans. They may benefit from slowly introducing these healthy foods into their diet over the course of a week or two. Like doubling a spoonful of beans a day from the previous until you can easily handle a serving and so on.
There’s Plenty of Options
It’s easy to think because you’re excluding all animal from your diet you’re missing out. But this typically evolves into finding a whole new world of foods you may have never even heard of. And this can spark all kinds if creativity in the kitchen as you develop your new, more sophisticated, compassionate palate.
Because going vegan usually involves introducing new foods to your diet you may discover that you have a sensitivity or allergy that you didn’t know about before. It’s important not to overgeneralize and quit eating plant based whole foods all because of few foods you may have challenges with when there’s over 20,000 edible plants to chose from. There may even be hundreds of thousands.
Some people may be sensitive to nightshades, gluten, nuts, soy, etc… If you’re one of the rare few that is, figure out if you need time transitioning into a food or need to remove a food instead of giving up on veganism all together. If you believe you may have a food sensitivity or allergy start a food diary and see a plant based doctor to isolate the culprit. If you need help finding a plant based doctor check out Plant Based Telehealth, American College of Lifestyle Medicine, or PlantBasedDocs.com.
Dirty Dozen Clean Fifteen
The environmental working group periodically runs a new report on the dirtiest foods we should consider buying organic and the cleanest foods to not worry about. Try to check it every year or so for new updates. Buy organic when you can. “Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential no matter how they’re grown, but for the items with the heaviest pesticide loads, we urge shoppers to buy organic” Sonya Lunder, EWG senior analyst, news release
At the same time EWG and others state the benefits of eating whole plant foods outweigh the risk when organic is not an option or affordable.
2022 EWG Food News Dirty Dozen Clean Fifteen Report: ewg.org/foodnews
- Kale, Collard & Mustard Greens
- Bell & Hot Peppers
For more visit Dirty Dozen Full List
- Sweet Corn*
- Sweet Peas (Frozen)
- Honeydew Melon
- Sweet Potatoes
* A small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.
Should I Go Vegan or Vegetarian?
First off, the healthiest diet, at least the only diet proven to prevent and even reverse heart disease is a whole food vegan diet. Also, vegans are more likely to stay vegan than vegetarians, that is “vegans are also less apt to start
opting for meat”(s). Second, liquid meat is murder. Dairy is not only toxic to consume (e.g. IGF-1) but it is also perhaps one of if not the most cruel industries. For more information watch some of these videos:
Check out some of these highly recommended reads. To learn more select the image to view and/or purchase the item on Amazon via our affiliate link.
When it was first published, Intuitive Eating was revolutionary in its anti-dieting approach. The authors, both prominent health professionals in the field of nutrition and eating disorders, urge readers to embrace the goal of developing body positivity and reconnecting with one’s internal wisdom about eating―to unlearn everything they were taught about calorie-counting and other aspects of diet culture and to learn about the harm of weight stigma. Today, their message is more relevant and pressing than ever.
How Not to Die Cookbook
Michael Greger, M.D., FACLM is the physician behind the trusted & wildly popular website Nutritionfacts.org. Dr Greger is also author of the New York Times bestselling book How Not to Die and the more recent How Not to Diet (be on the lookout for How Not to Age!). The How Not to Die Cookbook is a beautifully-designed, comprehensive cookbook with more than 120 recipes for delicious, life-saving, plant-based meals, snacks, & beverages.
Check out our video of Dr. Greger’s story as he is inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Check out some of these highly rated documentaries. To learn more select the image on the right to watch and/or purchase the on Amazon or other source.
Forks Over Knives
FORKS OVER KNIVES delves into the profound claim that most; if not all; of the so-called “diseases of affluence” that afflict us can be controlled; or even reversed; by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.
What the Health
What The Health is a surprising, and at times hilarious, investigative documentary that will be an eye-opener for everyone concerned about our nation’s health and how big business influences it.
The Game Changers
Executive produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan, a UFC fighter’s world is turned upside down when he discovers a group of world-renowned athletes and scientists who prove that everything he’d been taught about protein was a lie.
Best Speech Ever
This is the video that turned my family and I vegan. And perhaps the video that comes up most from people I have interviewed. It’s easily accessible on YouTube and very powerful. Gary Yourofsky is a legendary activist.