In Step One, I talked about changing some buying habits. When The Hubs (then boyfriend) and I went vegan, we quit animal products cold, ahem, turkey. We threw out butter, cheese, milk, etc., substituted faux meats and cheeses for the real stuff, and ended up really hungry and at a loss for what to do with most meals. Many loaves of bread and meat-cheats later, we landed on something that worked. Changing your entire way of shopping can be overwhelming, so here is a bit more about how to transition successfully (and not necessarily to a vegan diet, just a healthier one):
1. Don’t clean out all of your “old” foods at once unless that is a method that has worked for you in the past. I’m definitely an All or None kind of person, so it works for me to jump in with both feet. But you may find that restrictive and unmotivating.
2. Instead, try changing one item (or a few items) per week. Where to start?
- If you’re not already buying organic produce, begin there, especially with The Dirty Dozen.
- Try switching to a non-dairy milk, preferably organic. Soy milk is the closest in viscosity to cow’s milk.(PLEASE buy organic! GMO-laden soybeans should not be part of your plan!) Almond milk is a close second. I prefer Hemp milk but it is an acquired (nutty) taste. I don’t believe that cow’s milk is a necessary part of a human’s diet, but if you disagree, do yourself a favor and research the company that processes your milk—and choose wisely.
- Next, I’d focus on processed snacks and other items. Try to buy the version with least amount of ingredients, with recognizable ingredients, and preferably organic. Ultimately, try not to buy many processed goods at all.
- Buy only grass-fed, pastured beef, organic, pastured chicken and pastured pork. You’ll find that these items are more expensive and you may convert to more meatless meals!
- Eventually, you should start recognizing the good ingredients from the bad and choose products based on what’s important to you– organic dairy items, like yogurt, for example.
3. Be sure your cabinets are stocked for cooking. I really like this reference and help guide from goodcheapeats.com
4. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time. When we transitioned to veganism, it took two years for us to figure it all out and get to a balanced diet. I don’t think it has to take that long, but if it does, so be it!