Ah Vegans. to be honest, a few years ago, I would have laughed at you if you’d told me I was going to be a Vegan by the time I was 24. That I was going to be frying up spinach and shredded cabbage, and refusing to participate in the groups pizza order.
Well, it’s happened. I became Vegan properly about a year or so ago, probably longer. Now, that doesn’t mean I’ve been 100% Vegan since then, oh no. I’ve had my slip ups like anyone would, I’m not perfect. I had to resort in some cases to just being Vegetarian while I was traveling through South East Asia, but for the most part, this is me now.
So before we start this post, bare in mind that I’m not some extreme Vegan who wants to convert you, and I don’t really mind what other people eat, its their choice. I know EXACTLY how annoyed it made me when I WASN’T a Vegan for people to tell me what I should be eating or doing.
I get it. But hopefully, if you’re reading THIS article, you’re actually somewhat interested in the concept. If you weren’t, you would have left the site already and you’d be doing something else. You’re interested, or at least, you’re open to new ideas, and you’d like to learn what it’s really all about.
What is veganism?
The term Veganism refers to the complete avoidance of ANYTHING that’s linked to animals. Not only meat, dairy and fish but also things like honey, leather, or even foods that were made NEAR other animal products.
Now, on one hand I can understand this view point, and I get why people are so rigid with it because when you learn what most vegans know, you really feel strongly about this stuff. I’ll get onto that in a minute but before you run away, realise that you don’t have to be that strict.
You can MASSIVELY improve your diet, your impact on the planet, and your health by just changing a few things in your diet and not eating things like meat and dairy. Of course, avoiding leather doesn’t affect your health, that’s more about the moral implications of wearing something that was once a living animal.
And that’s where a big divide comes into place. You see lots of Vegans hate the idea of people going vegan just for health benefits, and in fact there are LOTS of vegans who are NOT healthy! There are plenty who just survive on crisps and bread etc, but they’re vegan because of the animals and the moral side of things.
For me, I went Vegan almost entirely for the health benefits and because I learned how much of a dark industry the meat and dairy is. You might want to go vegan for a number of reasons but don’t feel pressured into doing it a certain way. What I would say is that there are LOTS of proven health benefits to a plant based whole foods diet, but ALSO it’s nice to help animals, and avoid cruelty if you can.
A vegan diet does both, and as we’ll discuss in a minute, it’s much better for the planet.
Why would anyone go Vegan?
Well, this is not an easy section to write because there are so many reasons to go over, but I’ll try and cover the main ones.
- It doesn’t involve slaughtering animals
- It’s MUCH better for your health and doesn’t cause any diseases
- It’s cheaper
- It’s better for the planet
- You’ll feel better, more energised, better sleep, more dreams, more mental power and so on
It’s like you but the best you you can imagine. Now I’ll briefly go over those points because there’s a few interesting ones there. So firstly:
Save the animals
You may or may not realise that eating meat is hurting animals. Not only hurting, but many in the industry (yes, even the free range, ‘proper farming’) involves massively injuring, killing, torturing and abusing animals at all parts of their life cycle. I’m not going to share any videos here because it’s quite upsetting but a quick search on ANY search engine ‘meat factory secret tour’ or something like that, search it on YouTube, you’ll be horrified.
But if that wasn’t enough, wait a second. I mean, you might be used to violence because of films and things like that, right? Maybe you don’t care about animals because they’re not real and don’t matter to you (but pets are different, right? no). Well, even if you don’t care about any of the animals getting tortured, the fact is that this torture is bad for YOU, the consumer.
You see, animals get stressed when they’re tortured (who knew) so they have to be pumped day and night with chemicals to calm them down, make them fatter, make them slower, and so on. These chemicals are of course, poisonous to humans. They cause MANY serious diseases like Cancer, Diabetes and all sorts of other things as well.
There are also laws that dictate how much pus (the white sloppy substance in your body) can be legally SOLD in a bottle of milk. There are laws that say how much blood can be mixed in with the milk. Why blood? Because to milk a cow you have to practically squeeze its guts out every day with those horrible pumps they have at dairy farms.
Better for your health
So you’ve probably noticed that almost every time you hear about someone going vegan, they always tell you they feel better. It’s a common thing that we ask vegans, and when I was just starting out I would ask fellow vegans how they felt for it.
They’d always say ‘of course, I feel so much better’. Because of course you would. The foods plant based eaters consume are just pure, full of vitality, life, health and energy. I mean, what do you think the animals you eat consume to get their energy?
Why use a middle man? Just eat straight from the source of the energy, the plants. And I’m no different, I can say confidently that I’ve felt better, stronger, faster, and happier since going Vegan, and there’s nothing anyone could do to make me eat meat again. Why would you?
It’s the same reason I gave up drinking, it just slows you down, makes you less healthy and takes away from your happiness long term. I’d rather live a life knowing that my body is in perfect health. Now, sure you’ll get meat eaters saying ‘but I feel fine’ and that’s cool! That’s usually the people who are younger, who haven’t yet developed the diseases and they’re usually the arrogant ones saying there’s no point to eating vegan if they feel fine eating meat.
But it’s not about how you feel NOW it’s about what you’re doing to your body. In 10-20 years or sooner it’s too late. You’ve done the damage and now you’ve got a serious disease. I’m not going to go into the details of the illnesses that meat and dairy DIRECTLY cause but they’re huge. Watch a documentary on Netflix called ‘What the Health’. You’ll never go back to eating death again.
When you’re plant based, you’ll just perform better. You’ll still get ill (although I haven’t got ill more than about 2 times in a year including colds.. and I traveled through Asia for 4 months). But when you DO get ill, you bounce back FAST. I’ve had one cold in the last year and it lasted about 10 hours. I could feel my body just fighting and fighting the infection like a machine.
I could feel the vitality flowing through my veins and battling the infection in my body, it was incredible. and then I got food poisoning from a dodgy smoothie in Asia, but that only lasted a day or two. Other than that, I just.. work. Day in day out my body just performs. I sleep so well, and wake up full of life, and I never feel groggy much at all.
But hey what would all that be without results and science? I took some tests. My visceral fat which is the fat you don’t see on the outside because it’s wrapped around your ORGANS has dropped to the tune of HALF what it was before.
Halved in just a year. My metabolic age has dropped by half, blood pressure has improved as well as heart rate at rest. I feel stronger in the gym, (and I’ve tracked it, I can lift more since the diet change) and I sleep better (also tracked).
So it’s not just my personal experience, although that matters too. It’s facts, data, science. And this can be reproduced with ANYONE who starts eating a whole foods plant based diet from now on. But the important part here, is you can’t just eat junk food. I eat almost all of my calories from simple carbs, beans and legumes and green vegetables.
Do the whole vegan thing right, order the right foods and it’s WAY cheaper than meat and cheese. The real bulk of your diet will come from things like legumes (15p a can) and rice, pasta, noodles etc.. This is very cheap! Add in some fruit and other vegetables and you’ve got a very cheap weekly shop. I’ve saved hundreds of pounds by going vegan over the last year or so, and I know that because I’ve not only spent half the amount on average, per week..
But I’ve also done that WHILE consuming MORE calories to put on muscle. So I’ve eaten MORE food, (and good food too.. tasty!) for less money.
Better for the planet
Ah now the bigger picture. Animal agriculture (meat and dairy farming) is responsible for.. drumroll please.. 91% of Amazon rainforest destruction.. plus..
- For every 1 kilogram of ‘edible’ fish caught, an extra 5 kilograms of random fish are also caught by accident and killed
- The LAND needed to sustain a vegan for one year is about 670 metres squared. for a MEAT EATER, it’s 18 TIMES that
- In the USA, humans use 5% of the total water for drinking and washing. Animal farming uses 55% so that draught warning and hosepipe ban looks pretty silly now, while you’re eating that cheeseburger
- 1.5 acres of land could grow 16,000 kilograms of plant based food OR.. 170KG of meat. Going vegan would literally save the planet and pretty much end famine and poverty in many cases
I could go on as there are literally thousands of insane facts like these (which you can check for yourself, again watch ‘What The Health’ or any other vegan documentary). There are thousands of these sorts of facts but no one is listening. Hopefully if you’re reading this you care about the world, your health, suffering of animals and just life in general. Hopefully you’re smart!
You’ll feel better
Of course it goes without saying that you’ll feel better. Don’t believe me?
Test it out. Go vegan for 30 days and honestly see how you feel. In fact, try and prove me wrong. Go vegan and DON’T feel better. Go vegan and feel weaker, slower, etc. I bet you can’t.
Is Vegan dangerous?
A lot of people seem to think that going vegan can be dangerous for your health but really this is just the conditioning of the bigger companies and powers at be. It’s not dangerous, how can it be? It’s actually the safest thing you could do with your diet and health. In fact you’re killing yourself by eating meat, but you’ll realise that when you research it or watch the studies.
Now, it can be tricky if you don’t get enough calories, vitamins etc but that’s the case for any diet. If you eat just cheeseburgers, you’ll have problems. If you just eat crisps (technically vegan) you’ll have problems.
If you eat a 90% plant based diet, take a multivitamin and vary your meals? You won’t have a problem.
How to go Vegan for beginners
So it’s pretty easy to go vegan but there are a few things you should focus on at the start. It might not be easy. In fact if you’ve never done it before, changing your food like this might feel strange. It’s important to take not of the things I’m telling you here. I’ve been there, and done that, and trust me I used to be the bigger meat eater ever.
1: Don’t sweat the small stuff
The small stuff will get you. Just don’t worry about the little things like eating that tiny chocolate bar if the rest of your diet is really good. It won’t make that much difference, and you beating yourself up about it will just ruin your motivation long term. Better to keep your motivation then ruin it over one mistake. There will always be little slip ups. I sometimes slip if I’m traveling and have say noodles with egg in them but it’s very rare now.
2: Don’t think of it like a diet
If you think of it like a change, or like a diet, you’ll always mentally think ‘when am I going to go back to my old diet’ or ‘when will this be over’. This puts you on the back foot because you’re already thinking of it as a short term experiment instead of a long term lifestyle choice. Try thinking of it like you’re just improving your current diet. Trying new foods instead of thinking about the foods you’re not going to be eating any more.
That’s probably the best way of looking at it because otherwise you’ll always be wondering when it’s going to be over. You’ll always be waiting for the day you can end the ‘experiment’ and go back to eating meat. If you do the change right, you won’t really notice it and you shouldn’t be craving anything meat based. There are vegan alternatives for almost ANYTHING now.
3: Don’t think of it as a punishment
Going vegan is fun and shouldn’t be thought of as a punishment that you’re enduring. It’s a fun, happy and healthy lifestyle choice that you should embrace with all of your energy. If you’re always cooking boring tasteless foods and telling yourself things like ‘Oh I wish I could just eat meat for today’ then you’ll fail.
Try and focus on the exciting new vegan alternatives and options, and learning how to cook tasty interesting meals or smoothies that have all the nutrients you need. That’s the best way of getting long term success because you’re not worried about what you can’t eat. You’ll always have days where you wish you could eat some meat or something you used to love, cheese is the worst.
But if you stick to your plan and focus on the new foods and things you could eat, instead of thinking about what you can’t now eat, you’ll do a lot better long term. It might be hard especially if you’re like most people and meat and dairy have been the majority of your diet for a while.
I think its’ a lot easier to make the change if you’ve already been eating sort of healthy foods. If you’ve been eating a bit of meat and dairy but along side vegetables, then the change is easier because you can just swap out the meat part of the meals for a vegan alternative meat. If however like some people I know, you’ve been eating solidly meat and cheese every meal, and you’ve never eaten a vegetable, it’s going to be tough but it’s not too late.
4: Learn to cook
Learning to cook properly is the best thing I did for my health. It’s so easy to just stick something in the oven from the freezer but you don’t learn anything. And the chances are the things in your freezer aren’t the healthiest foods you could be eating either. Try the things you can get in supermarkets like fresh vegetables and fruits, herbs, spices, vegan alternatives for meat and so on.
Learn to cook and consider reading a vegan cookbook like this one or if you’re into smoothies have a look at the Liquid Brainpower manual (super effective vegan smoothie and soup recipes for brainpower). Learning to cook doesn’t have to be hard, and once you’ve learned the basics you can just experiment with all sorts of foods and combinations. It makes eating leftovers much easier because in many cases, you can just make an entirely new meal with leftovers and make it more interesting It’s also SO much cheaper to prepare meals in bulk put them in tupperwares and reheat them every day of the week. You can also bake lots of vegan food and take that!
When I was working in sales I saved quite literally hundreds of pounds by just preparing meals before hand and reheating them at work, instead of buying a meal deal at lunchtime. You can put the money you save into an investment or anything! Save up for travels as well.
5: Don’t listen to what people say
You know how they say you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time around? Well, the chances are the people around you are not vegan. This will make it a bit harder, and you should aim to make some friends that are also vegan to help with the transition. That being said though, just don’t listen to what your meat eater friends say. If they ask why you’re doing it, just say you’re trying to improve your health.
If they say it doesn’t have an effect, tell them how you feel! Let how you feel be your guide for responses. If you feel good, tell them! If they don’t understand why you’re doing it, maybe get them to watch the Netflix film ‘Cowspiracy’ or ‘What the Health’. For the most part I don’t think they’re going to care too much, unless they have something against vegans.
6: Don’t be a preacher
This is a big one. Lots of vegans make the rest of us look bad by preaching and being all angry about meat eaters etc. I get it, once you know the things we vegans know about the facts, the science and the industry, you want to share it with the world. That’s fine, and I get that but try and keep your views to yourself, UNLESS someone asks you. This is the best way to get real change I think is to just be an example.
People around you will SEE your diet and choices, and then ask questions if they’re interested. The only people that you’ll be able to convince are the ones who are curious enough to ask you about it anyway. The others have made their choice and probably won’t want to hear your opinion on why it’s wrong.
7: Listen to your body
Just take note of how you feel, and what effects your new eating habits are having on your body. Of course you’ll go to the toilet a bit more regularly because things are moving through you faster and more naturally. That’s fine! You might notice you’re more energetic and want to do more things! This is a good time to get a hobby or something like that. I didn’t know what to do with all the extra energy at first so I had to start going to the gym more often.
There’s also the flip side of that though, and you should listen to your body if you’re not getting the nutrients you need to be getting. For example if you feel sick, tired, or any bad effects from the diet you should work out what you’re missing or what’s causing it. For the most part it’s something simple like eating too much at once or not getting enough calories. But there are always people who happen to be allergic to random foods that you don’t realise until you eat them, so be aware of that.
None of this post is health or nutrition advice by the way, this is all my personal opinion based on facts and my experiences.
8: Get enough calories
It’s important to get enough calories on a vegan diet, especially if you’re a man and especially if you do lots fo exercise or have a high energy job like construction or something physical. The calories you’ll get from vegan sources are of course lower. you can’t get 1000 calories by eating an apple or a salad for example. You’ve got to plan your calories and work out how to get enough but I’ve found that with a little bit of planning, it’s easy enough.
I found that things like noodles and rice were great for getting in the extra calories. Also things like organic peanut butter and ground up seeds and nuts are perfect for protein and calories and you can sprinkle them into anything like cereal or toast.
9: Make small changes to your diet
Don’t go in expecting to change all of your diet at the same time and change it overnight. These things often take time and patience and little changes over a long period of time. You’re undoing years of bad diet and nutrition as well as fixing your addiction to things like salt, sugar and cheese, so be easy on yourself and do it slowly. That being said when I went vegan it was overnight. I watched the film about the health benefits, did a few days of research and that was it, I was sold.
I actually set out to prove it wrong and see how I would feel after a month, but the 30 days came and went and I felt GREAT so I kept the new habit. I also tried other things like cold showers and things like that which can improve your health and energy.
10: Educate yourself
It’s important to educate yourself and learn the right way. Don’t ever trust just one source of information, research from several authoritative sources and make a conclusion based on evidence. That’s why I like researching things, because it gives me a chance to confirm or change my beliefs for the better. I’ve researched this for several years, and I’ve gone through the research and lifes work of several highly successful health consultants and nutritionalists, and I have to say this is the real deal guys. Going vegan is just the best choice you can make for your health and diet.
11: Have fun!
Above all, have fun with it! You’re doing this to feel better, feel happier, and save the planet so make it fun! Learn to cook interesting and fun meals, and make the most out of what you have! Here are some very useful links if you’re interested in getting started going vegan, check them out!