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December 28, 2020

How to become vegan?

How to become vegan? - Organi Chiado
How to become vegan?

How to transition to vegan food

What is being a vegan? First of all, it is important to clarify the concept by saying that being a vegan is different from having a vegetarian-type diet. Vegan, or veganism, is something else. Being vegan, or veganism, is a choice that goes beyond what you eat. It implies a commitment to a philosophy of life. Whoever is vegan, or veganism, not only doesn't eat animal-based foods, but also rejects other products originating from - or tested on - animals: clothing, household products, cosmetics, and footwear. Everything that implies animal suffering is excluded and challenged with a critical and conscious attitude towards this issue.

In short, being vegan:

  • A vegan does not eat anything with animal origin, not even any dairy products or derivatives;
  • A vegan does not use products originating from or tested on animals.

How to be vegan? Five suggestions for a vegan diet

The vegan option should be carefully considered, because if it is true that it has a positive impact on health in the medium/long term, the transition should be made cautiously.
  • Start by informing yourself. Transitioning to a vegan diet, even if you are transitioning from being vegetarian to being vegan, should be done carefully, so that your body adapts;

Read, for example, the Directorate-General for Health's Guidelines for Healthy Vegetarian Eating and the Nutrimento blog;

  • Ideally, to start the process you should consult a nutritionist, because each case is a case and the question "how to be vegan?" has no simple answer. But you should take into consideration that to be vegan, you will have to pay attention to the vitamins that will be missing with the change of diet.
You should consume foods strong in B12 (for example: soy, cereal flakes, vegetable milk), omega 3 and 6 (walnuts and flaxseed);  
  • Start thinking about alternatives for your daily diet. Do you cook? Do you get food outside? Whatever the case, if you want to be vegan or vegan and eat a vegan diet, you will have to prepare yourself. If you like to cook, check out some books on how to be vegan and how to have the best vegan diet.
It may not always seem simple to start cooking vegan recipes, because of the variety of products available and the (apparent) complexity of the dishes, but if you have a taste for cooking, cooking vegan food can be a very enjoyable hobby. You should at the same time map out the restaurants and identify a vegan food restaurant in your area. Remember: not every vegetarian is vegan;  
  • One of the great pleasures of being vegan, and being able to transition to vegan food, is the new world of flavors you get to discover. And since being vegan is not just about food - but about a lifestyle - one of the most vibrant moments will always be being able to choose products at local markets and establish relationships with producers.
Knowing what to buy and who to buy it from is an art, also for a vegan diet. In addition to restaurants, there are many markets with vegan-type options, with quality products without animal origin and with little environmental impact. In fact, some restaurants and markets with vegan-type products can also be considered eco-friendly.  
  • What does it mean being vegan? By the time you know the answer to this question, you will also know what foods you can eat - and how you can do it.

Ideally, a vegan should eat vegetables such as kale, arugula, spinach, and others, since they contain iron, zinc, and vitamin C. There are other important foods such as seaweed, lentils, chickpeas, and nuts, all of which are sources of plant-based protein, and which also offer zinc, magnesium, and calcium.

  Being vegan is not difficult. It is, without a doubt, the right choice for those who care about the planet, the environment, and animals, besides the evident benefits for their health and well-being. However, it is an important change that requires time to adapt. If you eat meat, you can start by transitioning to a vegetarian-type diet. Once you are vegetarian, the change may be easier and smoother. In summary, to switch to a vegan diet there is a learning phase that you should look at from the start with an open mind and critical spirit. In addition, medical advice - from a nutritionist - is also highly recommended. To consolidate knowledge on the subject, there are thousands of resources available, from books to videos to articles and scientific studies. It will always be important to look critically at what you read, because "what it is to be a vegan" cannot be explained in quick formats, like so many that abound on the Web. One final note. Remember also that when this process is finished, there is no point in starting immediately to evangelize everyone about your choice. You will definitely want to share your experience of what it is like to be a vegan person - and that is fine and should be done. But to help your friends and family understand the advantages of vegan eating, use the empathy of someone who has been in their place. Step by step, food by food, for the animals, for Nature, and for the planet, we will all change into a much better world.