Aug. 28, 2011
How to Become Vegetarian (or Vegan)
Motivated to eat a plant-based (vegan) or vegetarian diet? Here's how:
Transitioning Plans: Most vegans (and vegetarians) take a transitional approach where non-veg items are phased out over time, while others do a total 180 overnight.
Which plan you use depends on your unique personality and needs. Make changes at your own pace, creating your own transitioning plan if you need to. People who fail usually do so because they hold themselves to too high a standard or place too many constraints or limitations on themselves right away.
- Find a good milk substitute
- Have a laundry list of 10–25 vegan recipes you like (see the recipes page!)
- Make meals that yield leftovers, like soups and lasagna.
- Stock your pantry and fridge with basic veg-savvy ingredients (my shopping list).
- Find meat and dairy substitutes that you like.
- Give yourself the freedom to indulge in occasional vegan treats during transition.
- Join veg forums and online groups for support and friendship.
- Stash veg food everywhere: at work, in your car, in your locker.
- Get used to simple meals like bean burritos, PB&J and vegetable stir-frys with rice.
- Join HH’s Facebook community.
Plan A (24 hours): This plan is aggressive and challenging, but the quickest way to adopt a vegan diet. Plan A is recommended by those who are motivated by ethical reasons, live alone, generally adapt to change easily or are already vegetarian.
On this plan, you’ll go completely vegan overnight (“cold tofu”). You can choose to start your vegan diet the morning after completing this course, or you can select a future date where it will occur. For example, Jessica, a long-time vegetarian, decided she would go vegan on Earth Day. I, on the other hand, went vegan while on vacation in San Francisco.
Plan B (one week): Slightly less aggressive than Plan A, using Plan B will adapt you to a vegan diet in 7 days. Each day, you will phase out one animal product. This plan can be extended longer, allowing more than one day between each phase, but should be completed in no less than three weeks. For days 1–3, it is strongly recommended you eat at least one vegetarian meal. For days 3– 4, it is strongly recommended that you eat one vegetarian meal and one vegan meal each day. For days 5–6, it is strongly recommended you eat mostly vegan.
Day 1: Eliminate beef, organ meats and game meats.
Day 2: Eliminate pork.
Day 3: Eliminate poultry (all bird meats).
Day 4: Eliminate fish.
Day 5: Eliminate eggs and shellfish.
Day 6: Eliminate dairy.
Day 7: Eliminate all animal by-products, such as gelatin.
Plan C (one month): This plan is very gradual, allowing adjustment to a vegan diet over a 30-day period. You are encouraged to eat as many vegan and vegetarian meals as possible during each week. For weeks 3–4, eat at least one vegan meal on a vegetarian day.
Week 1: Eat vegetarian 1 full day, plus 3 other vegetarian meals that week.
Week 2: Eat vegetarian 2–3 full days, plus 3 other vegan meals that week.
Week 3: Eat vegetarian 3 full days, vegan 1 full day plus 2 other vegetarian meals.
Week 4: Eat vegetarian 4 full days and vegan 2 full days... then get ready to go vegan!
Have any questions? Leave a comment---I'll answer!