They may not be lessons you want to hear, but to be successful, and when I say successful I mean healthier, you really need to pay attention.
Because you can be vegan, and still be unhealthy.
As a brand new vegan you will be hammered by family and friends on how unhealthy this lifestyle is (as they stuff themselves silly with every unimaginable processed food product known to man).
So to be really, truly, successful, you have to make sure you’re going about it the right way.
Here are 7 lessons to help you become a healthy, brand new vegan.
How to Cook
You knew this was coming didn’t you?
Sure you can eat Boca Burgers and French Fries and call yourself vegan – but you know it’s not healthy….right? With so many hidden ingredients in processed foods, that may or not be vegan, to really control our diet – we simply have to make it ourselves using fresh, whole, ingredients.
It’s not that hard, and I can give you pointers, but it can be a bit time consuming. Be prepared.
How to Shop
Naturally if you’re going to be cooking your own meals, you’re going to have to go shopping.
Again, if you’re a brand new vegan, and have no idea where to start, there are lots of guides on the net.
Just remember the basics – no meat, no eggs, no dairy. I wrote a previous post on How to Shop Like a Vegan that may help.
And if all else fails, just remember your grandmother… that’s right – your grandmother. If she wouldn’t recognize it as food – it’s probably not.
Another good clue is if the ingredient list looks like a MSDS from a Chemical Company – yeah – not a good idea unless you want to glow a healthy nuclear yellow.
How to Read Labels
Speaking of ingredient lists – this is another thing you will have to learn.
I’m going to make it a separate post later this week – but for now just remember to look at the ingredient lists. The fewer ingredients the better.
Also pay attention to the serving size. If the serving size is 1/4 cup and there are 4 servings per can, and you just ate the whole can…. take all the nutrient info, fat, calories, sodium, etc and multiply by 4. That’s what you just ate. A
nd serving sizes can be sneaky….I just love the Crisco Olive Oil Cooking Spray – you know that stuff you coat your pans with before you bake? The serving size is 1/3 of a second. Can you time your spray to .33 seconds?
How to say “No Thank You”
I had to do this a few times this week, at a company holiday dinner and at a birthday party.
The holiday dinner was for our maintenance staff at work before our Christmas Shutdown. The menu? Why MEAT of course, and lots of it. I estimated that each person got about a pound of beef, grilled to perfection, on an electric Traeger Smoker. Succulent, juicy, strips of Rib Eye…. mouth watering? Torture?
Get used to it. You’re going to have LOTS of opportunities to practice saying No Thank You.
Remember WHY you are doing this! It’ll make it easier.
How to Eat When You’re Not at Home
I know, you want to know what I ended up eating at my holiday party…. you simply look at what else is being served and go from there. Fortunately I had planned ahead and brought my lunch – so in the meantime I munched on chips and salsa and had a salad.
You’re not always going to be in a situation where you have your own lunch with you though.
Last night I went to my grandson’s birthday party at a pizza joint with the kids play structures. You can ALWAYS have a salad, which I did, and 2 pieces of veggie pizza with as much cheese scraped off as I could manage.
The idea is to try and manage the best you can without being a total jerk about it and making a scene.
How to NOT Be a Total Ass
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
In other words, no matter how great you think your diet is – no one else is really interested. Not until they are ready anyway.
And by telling as many people as you can how wrong their diet is, how unhealthy their diet is, you’re just making an ass of yourselves.
I want to help as many people as I can, just like you, especially family. But – they simply aren’t going to listen until they are ready.
Proselytizing only makes it worse.
I could have made a big scene at both my holiday party and the pizza parlor. But I stayed quiet and kept to myself.
Maybe there was a bit of mayonnaise in my 1000 island dressing. Maybe there was a hidden piece of Canadian bacon that I missed. Oh well. Life goes on. If you really want to make an impression on your family and friends …… keep doing what you’re doing quietly and politely.
And one day when they see how lean, fit, and healthy you’ve become – then they will ask questions.
And then you can become the teacher.
Image Source: Flickr/losmininos