Is it bad that I'm not exactly sure the year I went 100% vegan? I'm pretty sure it was April 2007, which means my 10 year Veganiversary is coming up. I know that I was trying to eat vegan in 2006, but I know I ate lobster and dairy filled cake at my wedding (with pictures to prove it). That was in May 2006. So I believe I was cheating here and there until April 2007. Well anyway, today I wanted to share my top tips for staying on a vegan diet! These are just things that have helped me personally, everyone is different.
1. Don't restrict! This was a major one for me, I come from a background of restricting foods so while a vegan diet restricts certain foods (dairy, eggs, animal products), you shouldn't cut out other foods that can help you along the way. The big ones I notice are: soy, fruit, gluten (unless you have an issue with gluten as I do), etc. If you don't have reactions to certain foods, than try to cut out as little as possible if you want to stay the course.
2. Eat an abundance. At first I remember being super hungry and never feeling that "full" feeling. This was my body adjusted to less animal protein. Once I got over that hurdle, it was smooth sailing. Make sure you are eating enough during the day and adding extra protein when you feel this way. Tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, whole grains, veggie burgers and even clean vegan protein powders are great during this transition time (and all the time!).
3. Stop focusing on what you can't eat! I remember I would always say "I can't eat that" or "I can't go there because they don't have anything I can eat". Keep it positive and think of all the good stuff you CAN eat. Always be prepared for there not to be food for you. Pack a bar and some fruit in your purse or eat beforehand. I use to eat before a party and then be pleasantly surprised when I got there and saw the variety of foods I could eat.
4. Skip the different types of vegan diets. High fat, low carb, raw, high carb, low fat, all fruit, no fruit, no oil, only bananas... I can go on an on. These variations are all fantastic and some are really great and helping people stick to eating this way (no oil seems to be the one I see helping the most), but if you are struggling to eat vegan, don't complicate it anymore. Stick to the basics.
5. Greens and fruit. Two obvious staples in a vegan diet. Greens help me to stay satiated and satisfied and fruit helps me not to crave sweets and to feel energetic and clean. A lot of people will eat a chips and French fries diet because it happens to be vegan. That kind of diet is setting you up for deficiencies and binges. You should totally enjoy all vegan foods but just remember to keep your base of greens and fruit if you want to stick to it and feel good.
Those are my top 5 tips! Hopefully this post helps someone who is struggling to go vegan or stay vegan. Please share! :)