The Flaming Vegan

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Can You 'Shock Your Body' By Going Vegan Overnight?
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Can You 'Shock Your Body' By Going Vegan Overnight?

At the Christmas table the other day, someone asked me the age-old, annoying question: 'How on earth do vegans get their protein?' I couldn’t take it, so I rolled my eyes and started rattling off vegan food sources to which they replied, 'I know, I know, but vegans have to be careful… you can’t just switch to a vegan lifestyle overnight because it shocks your body.’ Welcome to the next annoying statement made to vegans. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of it, you’ll know how ridiculous it sounds that your body can be “shocked”, almost as though you’ve started eating glass. However, as someone with an open mind I must say this interested me and I wondered if there could possibly be any reality to the statement that you need to somehow ease into a vegan lifestyle. There is - but not because you’re going to be lacking protein (that’s just silly talk).

  • Go Easy on Yourself 

Rather, switching to any new lifestyle requires a bit of gentleness. You might think jumping in and making all the changes you want overnight will help you hit the ground running, but it could actually feel overwhelming if meat and dairy have been huge staples in your diet. Try to cut out one item a week, such as red meat the first week, then dairy the next, and so on. This gets you psychologically ready for the changes and will improve your longevity, especially if non-vegan foods have played a large role in your diet.

  • Get Ready Before You Start

Take time to prepare your meals. This is an important step before becoming vegan. Making a switch to a vegan lifestyle will probably leave gaps in your meals so you don’t want to wing it - rather plan from a week or so what you’re going to eat and prepare substitutes for dairy and meat (such as with nut milks and vegan protein sources) that will prevent you from reaching for unhealthy vegan packaged foods that are full of sugar and unhealthy ingredients.

  • Take Note of How You Feel 

Bear in mind that whenever you make a change to your diet, your body might react. This could take the form of stomach woes or mood changes, for instance. This is normal because even a positive change can require time before it makes you feel good! However, if you concentrate on eating nutritious foods, this will offset the side-effects and make you feel healthy. As with any lifestyle change, preparing yourself for a vegan diet is a smart way to get into the zone and succeed. It also means that you can be healthier, because you will be more conscious about the foods you’re purchasing and where you’re getting your nutrients. Remember that everyone’s body is different and if you feel discomfort, take longer to ease into a vegan lifestyle. There are no rules, except for what works for you!

*Image courtesy iko / Dollar Photo Club

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  1. Support
    Thanks for the post Giulia!
  2. Delia
    "Shock your body"! That's a funny one that I have not heard. I can only imagine they meant the fiber could be difficult to handle if they are not used to eating so much fiber. That could take some getting used to. As for the lack of meat it might be more of a challenge if the person has not read up on the subject and tried out some recipes. Also since the comment came from a meat-eater they might have trouble imagining meals without the meat and dairy because they probably don't even think about all the non-meat and dairy ingredients they already eat - maybe they just think of those as additions to the meat and dairy instead of food that can make up meals all on their own. I recall the horror I faced when I suggested we have a vegetarian wedding 14.5 years ago - people in my husband-to-be's family were aghast. Someone insisted on a cheese plate that they were supposed to go and pick up from the store (I had to pay for it) but no one picked it up. And no one missed it either I might add. Another time, we were inviting some friends over for a cookout and they insisted on bringing meat to grill even though I had more than enough food for all of us. When they tasted the food and found it to be good they didn't even bring out the meat from the cooler. These were some super picky eaters and they liked my food! People just need to try things sometimes to see it is edible, even tasty and that they won't die from lack of meat for one meal. If they can do that, they can try even more meatless meals...


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