If you didn't pick up on the small hints here and there, I've been a vegan for about seven months now, and it the best decision I've ever made and that is not a hyperbole. I'm going to be filming a video this weekend, finally explaining the why, when, how, and what of my vegan lifestyle from the beginning to where I am now.
In the mean time, I've received some questions on ways you can make transitioning to a plant-based diet seamless and small ways to implement veganism into your life. Here are a handful tips and tricks that I've felt have been the most important things over the past seven months when it comes to eating, working out, etc.
1. Carb the **** up!
If you are even a little bit familiar with Freelee the Banana Girl, this will sound somewhat familiar to you. I cannot stress enough how important carbs are to every single human body on planet earth. Our bodies literally run and function on glucose, so we shouldn't deprive our bodies of carbohydrates in any way, shape, or form. But, those carbs should be whole and plant based foods like grains, pasta, oats, fruits, veggies... the list is endless.
2. Don't worry about protein.
HANDS DOWN, THE NUMBER ONE QUESTION I RECEIVE IS, "DO YOU GET ENOUGH PROTEIN?". THE ANSWER IS SIMPLY YES. IT'S NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE A PROTEIN DEFICIENCY UNLESS YOU'RE MALNOURISHED OR STARVING YOUR BODY OF ANY TYPE OF FOOD. PROTEIN IS FOUND IN ALMOST EVERY WHOLE FOOD UNDER THE SUN AND IS INCREDIBLY EASY TO HIT YOUR DAILY PROTEIN INTAKE WITHOUT TURNING TO PROTEIN POWDERS OR FAKE FORMS. PERSONALLY, I LIKE THE TASTE OF "VEGA" PROTEIN POWDER IN MY MORNING SMOOTHIES, BUT I NEVER USE IT AS MY MAIN SOURCE OF PROTEIN. THINK ABOUT IT... 1 CUP OF LENTILS HAS 18 GRAMS OF PROTEIN. I DON'T SEE ANY DEFICIENCY HERE.
3. Find what works for you
For some, that is HCLF (high carb, low fat), fully raw, raw-till-4, Starch solution or just eating whatever the hell you want whenever you want. When I started going vegan, I didn't necessarily follow a certain pattern, but as time has progressed, I've found that being HCLF has worked best for my body and how much fuel I need.
4. Slowly transition to cruelty-free products.
In the past month, I've transitioned nearly all my beauty products over to all-natural and cruelty-free. For skincare, I stick to coconut oil and tea tree oil for spot treatment. Coconut oil is the holy grail of beauty products. The uses for it are endless; body oil, oil pulling, hair mask, skin care, conditioner, lip balm, cuticle cream.... get my gist? As for makeup, my favorite brands to use are Glossier, Tarte, and Too Faced. I still have some non-vegan products that I'm finishing up, instead of wasting them.
P5. Research, research, research
The initial spark that made me go vegan was watching Cowspriacy, Earthlings, and Forks Over Knives....all in one night. If you've not seen either of those, I'd recommend watching them. At times, they are incredibly hard to grasp, but they truly open up your eyes to everything from the environmental effects of the meat industry, to the ethical understanding behind veganism, and how if effects your body in the short and long term. There are also a handful of YouTube videos that are much shorter than a full length documentary, but are equally full of impact.
Forks Over Knives
6. Educate yourself about sustainability
In correlation to my beauty products, I'm also slowly switching to only shopping from sustainable shops or companies that I have ethical practices. Within the past few years, so many sustainable and cute clothing brands have popped up, so the excuse of looking dowdy is gone. Plus, there is vintage shopping!!
7. Pre & post workout fuel is key
I have been an avid fitness fan long before going vegan, but it wasn't till the past half of the year, that I really amped up my training. With strenuous and hard hours spent in the gym, the fuel I put into my body is equally important as how much I lift or how many miles I run. Before my workout, I normally go for a light smoothie or some fruit for plenty of energy. I workout in the late afternoon/early evening, so sometimes I just go for a bigger dinner or another smoothie (my personal favorite is banana, dates, pb powder, cacao powder, agave nectar, a liitttlle bit of protein powder, and some chia seeds). People always forget how crucial the post-workout meal is when it comes to muscle repair and refueling. Hard workouts essentially empty your body of its energy, so we must restore it afterwards for maximum results.
8. Mix it up!
The biggest missconception of the vegan diet is that there is not enough variety. Lies, lies, lies !! There are some food like smoothies, rice, potatoes, and veggies that stay in consistent rotation but I also love acai bowls, nice cream, tacos, curry, pasta, stir-fry, pancakes, waffles, burgers, and whatever else you can think of. A plant-based diet is nothing but limited, therefore don't let that turn you away. I'll be making some "what I eat in a day" and recipes videos soon, so I hope that brings some inspiration.