Animal Rights/Vegan Activists' Strategies Articles



Going Vegan: Five Tips for Success

From Ginny Messina, The Vegan RD
June 2023

Veganism isnít a personal purity contest, so donít give up on it when perfect choices elude you. Keep making changes and keep moving forward. It truly will get easier over time.

vegan spaghetti and 'meat' balls

Whether youíre diving headfirst into a vegan diet or making a gradual transition to more plant-based eating, youíll maximize your chances of success by learning a little bit about nutrition, finding foods you enjoy, and having realistic expectations. Most of the information here comes from the Keys to Success section of Vegan for Life.

Be Smart About Nutrition

Itís easy to meet nutrient needs on a vegan diet but itís not enough to simply eat a variety of whole plant foods. If youíve always depended on cowís milk for calcium and meat for protein, you need to learn new ways to get these and other nutrients. The Vegan for Life Food Guide will get you started and youíll find more information in my nutrition primers and in this comprehensive article. Make sure youíre taking the supplements you need to stay healthy on your vegan diet.

Eat the Foods You Enjoy

Yes, a focus on whole foods is good, but it doesnít mean you canít cook with oil, or eat regular pasta, or enjoy a veggie burger. Donít make it difficult to eat a vegan diet by adopting unnecessary restrictions. Some vegans eat high carb diets and some like a little more fat in their menus. Find what works for you. Take advantage of vegan convenience foods if you find them helpful, and donít be fearful about enjoying a few treats.

Focus on a Vegan Ethic

You may or may not experience weight loss or health benefits when you go vegan. If your blood pressure and cholesterol levels drop (and they very well might) those are nice bonuses. But if you somehow donít find yourself with more energy, clear skin, and the slender waist you were expecting, it doesnít mean a vegan diet ďdoesnít work.Ē A vegan diet always works because it always reduces your contribution to animal exploitation and lessens your impact on climate change.

Satisfy Your Cravings

Veggie meats and cheeses can be an effective for adding back flavors and textures that you may miss when you go vegan. Experiment to find ones you enjoy. Also explore foods that offer the flavor/essence of umami. Animal foods are rich in umami, but you can find it in plant foods as well.

Put Lapses Into Perspective

Veganism is a stance against the exploitation of animals and every effort you make to put it into practice is good. If youíre just getting started, your habits and choices may not always keep up with your intentions. It doesnít make you a ďfailed vegan.Ē Veganism isnít a personal purity contest, so donít give up on it when perfect choices elude you. Keep making changes and keep moving forward. It truly will get easier over time.


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