Personally, when I was cutting out animal products and becoming a vegan, I was completely lost. I had heard the benefits of veganism, but there seemed to be many scary rumors that go along with it. The horror stories of malnutrition and severe muscle atrophy or some factual information followed by a bunch of nonsense from a well-meaning stranger made me hesitant. On the other hand there are the triumphant tales of fat loss and reduced dependency on pharmaceutical drugs. The only real information I knew on being vegan was that it's confusing! Whether good or bad the best way to see if this lifestyle is for you is to simply test it out.
This turns out to be much more easily said than done. My approach to veganism was to simply cut out all animal products all at once and start cold tofurky. It was definitely a rocky few weeks to say the least. Now that I'm older and wiser I found a new trend sweeping the nation. Flexitarianism! Where the opportunistic vegan meets the meat lover. With a person eating about 3 meals a day for 7 days a week he or she has about 21 meals to enjoy. If you love meat, that’s fine, you can eat meat everyday! Just contain your indulgence for one meal; the other two can be vegan dishes. This cuts down your meat intake yet still lets you have it. By slowly letting less meat into your diet your body has the chance to gradually ease into a super efficient plant-processing center. As you start liking vegetables more than meat (and yes that happens after a while) you can use animal products as seasons- cooking a small amount with some vegetables- until you feel safe to completely remove the training wheels and graduate to veganism.
Looking back, this would be the ideal progression from predominantly eating meat to transforming into a vegan. It is adjustable, does not inhibit you from eating the foods you like, and is effective. You have your entire life to be healthy; you might as well take some extra time to set yourself a firm foundation to build off of. So start today, this time will be the best investment you can make for your health!
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.