Tips on Going Vegan

The health world is ever-changing and as it changes we certainly hear of new ways to eat healthy. Today's newest adventure in healthy eating is looking at what it means to be a vegan. I know a whole slew of people who whenever they hear the word vegan, cringe at the thought of it.

Of course when you look up the word 'vegan' in a dictionary, it is a little scary, as you'll see that veganism is a "type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients." So when you think about it, you can be as little of a vegan or as much of a vegan as you want. Many people who live a vegan lifestyle shy away from all products tested on animals and animal-derived non-food products, such as those luxurious leather boots you were thinking of purchasing to keep your toes warm this upcoming winter season.

Since November is National Vegan Month, we decided that providing you with some easy tips on developing healthy eating habits for the month is just what the doctor ordered. So get ready to dive into a world where a plant-based diet is the thing of today. These tips will make it that much easier for you to dabble into the world of veganism.

Tip 1: First things first, post The Vegan Food Pyramid on your fridge to begin your gradual change into becoming a vegan. The best thing about this food guide is that it showcases a whole slew of foods to develop healthy eating habits.

Tip 2: Jumping from a normal diet to a vegan diet can be shocking to your body and thus our first tip is for you to gradual transition into becoming a vegan (even if just for a day or two) as your body won't know what hit it if you completely move from one extreme to another. Gradually start this process by eliminating one type of meat from your diet, then eliminate another after some time and so on.

Tip 3: Find a substitute for calcium that will tickle your fancy while figuring out where you are going to get your calcium intake for the day. As we know calcium is an important part of your diet, but can be found in so many more things than just dairy products. If you are turned off by dark green, leafy vegetables, which are a perfect source of calcium, than take calcium supplements to optimize your calcium intake.

Tip 4: Transform your favorite dishes into a more vegan-friendly dish. Just remember when you're developing your very delicious vegan dishes be sure to not slop on a sauce that will make that dish taste not so great. What you have to remember is that transforming your dishes to vegan dishes will boast a whole new world of flavors that you never thought existed. So go get some groceries, and set yourself up to wow your taste buds with the many vegan recipes out there. For great vegan recipes, click here.

Tip 5: Don't forget to eat your beans...or dark green, leafy vegetables! To get an ultimate source of fiber, protein, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin B and a whole gamut of nutrients make sure to include legumes and vegetables into your diet. This can be as easy as adding chickpeas to your salad or having soy milk instead of regular 2% milk.

With these simple tips, you will be able to say that you transformed your diet and waistline as you jumped over to the healthy side of eating and conformed to a vegan lifestyle. Just remember to take things slow and eventually you will be the one at your favorite restaurant asking for the vegan option. Happy eating!

What are some of your own vegan tips?

Melaina is from a small town in Ontario, Canada and as an avid environmentalist with a passion for focusing on healthy living. Having traveled the world and written about it every step of the way, she one day hopes to develop unique environmental educational programs for kids.

For more tips, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)