Going Vegan Easy-as- 1, 2, 3

Photo Credit:  PETA

Many choose to become vegan because of their compassion for animals and environmental concerns. Others choose the plant-based lifestyle for health benefits. It is well documented that those who follow a plant-based diet are generally leaner, and vegans are slimmer than both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

Research has shown that vegans have a dramatically reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and many of the other lifestyle induced diseases that plague western civilization.

No matter what your reasons, choosing a vegan plant-based diet is the best move you will ever make.  But, now that you have decided to excise animal products from your life… how to do it? Is there a process? A magic method that transforms an omnivore into a vegan?

The most important step is the one that happens in your head. Once you decide that this is what you will do, it becomes who you are.

It is important to note that a balanced diet of vegetables, legumes, grains, fruit, nuts and seeds with sufficient calories will provide the energy and bodybuilding wherewithal to support a healthy body. Certainly common sense is the key.

Every vegan diet is not automatically low in fat and calories. If every night is guacamole night and you are filling up on snack foods or desserts made with oils or vegan butter, you are consuming a lot of excess fat and calories… And the ‘calories in, calories out’ rule will always apply.

Choosing to eat plant-based is the most important decision you can make for your health and for the environment. In today’s world that is far easier, because more plant-based options exist now than ever before.

Some make a commitment to eat plant-based one or two days a week, the Meatless Mondays approach. People who go this route are ‘putting their toe in the water,’ and as a rule I don’t recommend the baby steps approach with regard to life choices.

Many who choose to go plant-based, try it for a month and are surprised to find how easy it is and how soon they begin to feel good.

My preferred method for going vegan is to take the Nike approach… Just Do it! And it can take just three weeks to transition! Consuming animal products is a bad habit and it has been shown that you can break a habit in 21 days.

1. The first week, cut out red meat… beef.

2. The second week, cut out chicken and fish.

3. The third week, cut out dairy.

Clear the shelves in the pantry and refrigerator of all animal products over the course of three weeks, replacing them with wholesome grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

Go vegan for 30 days! In the fourth week, it is not uncommon to notice an increase in clarity, endurance and energy. You may soon realize that you’ve lost a few pounds and require less sleep. The surprise for most is that adopting a plant based lifestyle is easy, economical and feels really good.


Plant-Based Protein:

Tofu, tempeh, edamame (shelled and in pods)

Seitan, made from wheat gluten, great texture and protein

Vegan Veggie Burgers, my favorite are the 365 Burgers at Whole Foods

Soy meats and non-soy meats: chicken-less nuggets, Tofurky and Field Roast, Gimme Lean, etc, found in the vegan section or freezer.

Legumes, numerous varieties in convenient cans.

Dried Beans, Lentils, invest in a pressure cooker.

Nuts, tasty and satisfying

Seeds, Sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, chia: protein and healthy fats

Replace Dairy with:

Plant Milks: Soy, almond, rice or hemp milk, so many to choose from!

Vegan cheese… Its come a long way, baby! So many great brands, Karenna loves Miyoko’s Creamery!

Soy Yogurt, delicious and widely available… try Silk Yogurt

Dairy free Ice cream… So Delicious is creamy and delicious

Buttery Spread: Miyoko’s Creamery, Earth Balance or other non-hydrogenated spreads

Whole Grains:

Brown Rice, short grain, basmati or Jasmine

Quinoa, complete protein in red, white and black

Couscous, Pearled (Israeli) couscous is larger and chewier.

Rolled Oats, the 5 minute type is tastier and… it’s only 5 minutes!

Pasta, extruded pasta comes in a multitude of shapes and is egg-free

Whole grain breads and tortillas (I keep them in the freezer)

Nutritional Yeast, adds creamy cheesiness to everything; protein, minerals

Neat Egg… replaces eggs in baking.  So many egg replacers!

Maple Syrup,  Coconut Sugar



Tamari, wheat free soy sauce, market and more flavorful

Tahini, Sesame paste

Bragg Liquid Aminos, great flavor enhancer, similar to soy sauce

Vegenaise and Just mayo are the most popular vegan mayonnaise products

Marie Oser is a best-selling author, writer/producer and host of VegTV. Her latest book is The Skinny on Soy.  Follow Marie on Facebook and Twitter  

For the Vegan Plate photo please refer to Vegan Nutritionist:  Brenda Davis @


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