Are you thinking about becoming vegan or becoming raw vegan, but have no idea how to go about is? Or perhaps, you have started trying, but you feel like there are too many things standing in your way: the unapproving parents, the annoyed friends, those cravings that constantly remind you of the delicious old foods you used to eat, and the fact that you’re always hungry.
I am writing this blog post because I know that it can help resolve so many of these issues. Is can also support you on your way to becoming vegan successfully, and in a healthy way.
You can also watch my video where I share my personal journey of becoming vegan with all of you, and give you an example of the ups and downs, and finally the incredible advantages of this wonderful lifestyle. I spared no details and laid my whole story out, good and bag. You can watch it here:
Here is how I have structured this mini-guide on becoming vegan: first, I will cover the transition to veganism. This is because I recommend doing this first, before even thinking of going raw. I will explain why in this blog post. Then, I will cover going raw. In both sections, I will provide ideas for first and next steps on this journey, I will answer common issues and provide resolutions, and I will also list my staple recipes for all meals, a meal plan, and a grocery list!
I am so excited to be supporting you through this, as you are on your road to becoming vegan. Let’s get into it.
Table of Contents
- Part 1: Becoming Vegan Mini Guide
- Becoming Vegan: First Steps
- Becoming Vegan: Next Steps
- Becoming Vegan: Possible Issues Resolves
- Vegan Meal Plan
- Quick and Easy Vegan Recipe Ideas
- Sample Vegan Shopping List
- Part 2: Becoming Raw Vegan Mini Guide
- Becoming Raw Vegan: Possible Issues Resolved
- Raw Vegan Meal Plan
- Quick and Easy Raw Vegan Recipe Ideas
- Sample Raw Vegan Shopping List
Part 1: Becoming Vegan Mini Guide
Becoming Vegan: First Steps
So, you’ve decided to transition to a vegan diet, but have no clue where to start. Here are my top tips that you can implement right now to begin your journey:
Pick 1 meal per day that is easiest for you to switch to a vegan meal, and follow through with it every single day. For many, it’s breakfast. You’ll find some wonderful breakfast options below. Also, will you eat a vegan breakfast a few times a week, or once? This is up to you to decide as you begin, and to set goals you can keep up with.
Write down the REASON why you want to do this.
Here’s how I want you to go about this: I want you to close your eyes, and think deeply about why you want to go on a journey to becoming vegan. Is it the animals? Your health? Is it the environment, or your spirituality? Then, focus heavily on the feeling you get in your body when you think about this. Try to stay in that feeling for as long as you can. And take this opportunity to also imagine yourself as a successful vegan, and focus on how that accomplishment will feel like for you, and how great your body will feel too.
When you connect to your intention and end goal so deeply on an emotional level, it really helps to train that little voice in your head to do what you want it to do – and to support you on this journey. You can repeat this exercise every single day, perhaps right before you fall asleep, or upon rising.
Now, open your eyes. Write your reason or intention for being vegan on a few pieces of paper. Then, choose several places in your home where you will be every single day, and where you spend most of your time. Place that piece or pieces of paper there. A great one is your fridge. This will serve as motivation for you.
Continually educate yourself about veganism. Read up about the dairy and meat industries. Read about the wealth of studies on veganism. In addition, I recommend looking at nutritionfacts.org. Watch documentaries like Earthlings (unless you will feel way too upset by it, which I completely understand, it is very graphic), Cowspiracy (highly recommended), and Food Choices, Forks over Knives, and others. There are many!
Constantly educating yourself is an extremely powerful way to stay vegan in a world that relentlessly says otherwise. And it says so because much of it is controlled precisely by those powerful animal agriculture businesses.
Becoming Vegan: Next Steps
After you have been doing this for a little while, and you feel more comfortable, I encourage you to follow the next steps:
Pick another meal to switch to vegan. And another, and another. Do this at your own pace as you start your path to becoming vegan. Do not pressure yourself to go all in, because the idea is to make this a lifestyle, not a diet. Significantly, the goal is for you to sustain this way of eating for life. So do not rush.
Always go back to it when you are feeling like you’re struggling with becoming vegan. Do that same exercise again and again. Have the piece of paper with your intention visible in your home.
Never, ever stop learning. It’s just so much fun! And it will help to continue to motivate you.
Becoming Vegan: Possible Issues Resolved
Lack of community
Are you thinking: there is not a single vegan person in sight. I feel alone!
I completely understand what it feels like when you are the only vegan in your family. When you have no vegan friends. When you are alone in an omnivore home. And when you desperately feel like you need people around you who relate to your lifestyle and health goals!
I’ve been there, and I talk about it in my video, so give it a listen.
I wrote a great detailed article about this topic, Tips for Eating Out Healthy at Restaurants and while Socializing. Go and read it. There are a ton of great tips in there for you.
In addition, I highly recommend finding a community online. This is what I did in the beginning. I manage Raw Souls on Facebook – a very supportive, friendly, loving group. You will never be judged there for your questions. Join now – it’s free! And there are many more other wonderful groups on Facebook too.
Of course I have been there! We all have. Please do not think that most people are able to become vegan overnight without struggling or slipping at all.
If you feel like you failed, if you feel guilty, or you are unsure how to stay motivated, I have some advice for you.
First, go back to that first exercise we did about setting your intention and making it visible. Do that throughout your journey to becoming vegan.
Second, DO NOT BE HARD ON YOURSELF. If I could shout this from the rooftops, I swear I would! I know that you feel bad right now because you ate that piece of cheese. I know that you probably feel ill physically (that’s a good thing, trust me, your body is just becoming sensitive to this junk). But remember, this is part of the process. And it will go away. Just tell yourself, “tomorrow is a new day, this is no big deal. It’s part of my journey, and part of my lesson”.
Thirdly, watch some documentaries. This is how I was FINALLY able to stop my dairy addiction. And it was a bad one. The only way it went away is when I educated myself on the dairy industry. That made me so upset and sad, that I no longer wanted to eat cheese. Sometimes, knowing that cheese is bad for you is not enough. You need to know how much harm it causes on the planet, and to the animals.
Now that you won’t be extremely mad at yourself for slipping up, I’d like to cover how to avoid cravings.
First, be sure you are getting all of the nutrients your body needs. More on this in section 5.
Second, load up on greens. They are extremely rich in nutrients, like no other food. If your body has the fuel that it needs (in terms of nutrition), it may be very happy and satisfied.
Third, you need to eat enough calories. Cravings often arise when you are hungry, when your sugar is low, and when you haven’t eaten enough. More on this in section 4 below.
Fourth, cravings can stem from emotional reasons. The common ones are an emotional connection to food that you used to love – for example, a meal that your mother used to make for you. Or, lack of self-love. I suggest finding alternatives to your favorite “emotional meals”, because there are alternatives for everything. Vegan cheese, vegan lasagna, vegan pizza… and so many more! And use those to create new rituals and new healthy emotional connections with your family and friends.
You can also check out my healthy junk food recipes here.
Now with regards to lack of self-love: often, we look for love in food. Or, when we are in a bad mood, we go to food for the answer. Start with awareness – noticing if this is your pattern of behavior. When you realize that you’re not actually hungry, but you are craving a cheese sandwich, ask yourself why? Is it because you are sad, mad at yourself, lonely, or anxious? Try to find a new way to fulfill this feeling. It’s a long process, and very worthwhile. Because in the end you will find that you learn a lot about yourself through this relationship you have with our #1 sustenance, food.
Feeling Constantly Hungry
This is probably one of two things: you’re not eating enough (most common), or you’re missing a nutrient.
Start measuring your calories, just for now. Make sure not to be obsessive about it because we are not about counting calories on this lifestyle! Use www.cronometer.com to record what you eat, and make sure to get at least 500-700 calories per meal! When you eat plants, that means you need to eat… a lot. Because plants are very low in calories – they are mostly water. So do not forget this.
Get some bloodwork done and see how you’re doing on all of your basic nutrients. One common problem is not eating enough greens. Be sure you are getting at least 1 pound of greens per day. The recipes below will include those amounts. Greens will help you decrease cravings, feel more full, and most importantly, fulfill many of your nutrient needs.
Focus on getting your greens in (using the recipes below), and taking vegan B12. I know that for some of you, taking supplements may feel strange on a healthy lifestyle. B12 actually comes from the soil, not animals. Currently, the entire human population (vegan and non-vegan) is pretty much equally deficient, because our soil is so depleted. I prefer to take this supplement than to eat animal products – because they come with so many unhealthy properties.
Get out in the sun for your vitamin D, and check your levels to make sure everything is working well.
Feeling restricted on a vegan diet
Veganism is not a diet. It is not a restrictive way of living, or an eating disorder. It’s a lifestyle.
If you feel very restricted and unhappy eating vegan, ask yourself why you are vegan. Are you vegan in order to be able to have a reason to control what you eat? This is a way to restrict. Or are you vegan because you love animals, and love yourself, and our planet, wanting to be healthy and practice non-harm?
This is an extremely complex topic, and I have great compassion and love for anyone going through an eating disorder. It is far beyond the scope of this post. However, if you notice that you want to be vegan in order to have a reason to manipulate your eating, or to control it, please do reach out for help. Yes, veganism contains restrictions within it (not eating animal products), but if you are feeling restricted eating vegan, than you should take a step back and figure out why.
Unpleasant physical feelings
Veganism is a journey. It might be extremely different from how you are currently eating. And it might take you, and your body some time to adjust to it.
So many people tell me that they quit veganism because they did not feel good eating vegan.
Let me tell you something. It took me a long, long time to feel good on this lifestyle. And that is not because of the lifestyle itself. It’s because of my junk food eating habits, my lack of self love towards myself and my body, and the time it took to really understand the foods that work well for me.
It will take you time. Do not despair. You might eat a vegan meal and feel really heavy, or cranky, or just weird.
Remember that you ate some unhealthy food for many years, and your body needs time to adjust. In addition, remember that the available research clearly proves that veganism is the only diet that can reverse heart disease, our #1 killer! And of course, it has countless other abilities to reverse and prevent disease. Remember that you can do it! And just give your body time, and be patient with it.
Vegan Meal Plan
Now, we get to the good stuff!
First, I want to define a healthy, whole food plant-based diet. A healthy vegan lifestyle includes plant foods like fruits (bananas, dates, mangoes, raspberries, persimmons, etc.), vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, etc.), greens (lettuce, kale, cilantro, etc.), tubers (potatoes, yams, corn, peas, etc.), whole grains (millet, amaranth, quinoa, oats, etc.) and legumes (different types of beans and lentils, etc.). Lastly, it does not include any animal products (chicken, fish, dairy, eggs, honey) or refined foods (white beached flour, sugar, and oil, or any foods with preservatives in them). The aim is to consume minimally processed plant foods.
This means you want to start reading ingredient labels on the foods you purchase, making sure they don’t contain animal-derived ingredients, or any ingredients that you don’t recognize (because this means it is a processed, unnatural, unhealthy food).
Get an easy, unprocessed, budget-friendly vegan meal plan by filling in your name and email below:
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Quick + Easy Vegan Recipe Ideas
If you follow these recipes, you should not be spending more than 1 hour total per day (for all meals) in your kitchen, even if you are making a meal for a few people. These recipes are very simple, healthy, flavorful, and quick.
Quick + Easy Vegan Breakfast ideas:
- Smoothie bowls (I post recipes for them weekly on my Instagram, instagram.com/soulintheraw, so be sure to follow me)
Quick + Easy Vegan Lunch ideas:
Quick + Easy Vegan Snack ideas:
Fruit! It is the quickest and healthiest snack. Be sure to have fruits ready to eat at convenient places in your home (I use it as decoration!)
Or, try these delicious energy bars. They are great after workouts, and are perfect for those of you who have a sweet tooth.
Quick + Easy Vegan Dinner ideas:
Sample Vegan Shopping List
I have put together a sample shopping list that includes vegan and raw food items. It is meant to help you sustain a high-raw vegan lifestyle. I suggest deriving a majority of your calories and meals from raw fruits and vegetables, and adding cooked food for dinner, or on occasion. Such a lifestyle will keep you very satisfied and balanced.
Download the shopping list by plugging in your name and email here:
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Get your Grocery List
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Part 2: Becoming Raw Vegan Mini Guide
Many of the tips given above also apply to a transition to raw veganism, so in this section, I will only cover some of the pertinent information to a raw vegan lifestyle.
Becoming Raw Vegan
Please check out “Becoming Vegan: First Steps” for tips that also apply to becoming raw vegan. I will only add a few more important tips:
Raw veganism is very cleansing. You may have very intense cleansing and detoxifying reactions in your body like headaches, stomach aches, and general body pain if you transition too quickly. Therefore, I highly recommend following the steps I outlined above before getting into raw food. Importantly, do not go raw vegan overnight unless you have a health emergency that you really need to overcome like my mom did.
How to transition:
Start by adding a raw vegan meal a day. If you already are consuming one (like a smoothie), add another. Add more raw vegan meals only when you feel completely happy and satisfied at each stage. Take your time.
Remember that there is no need to be perfect right away. Take the pressure off of yourself, and feel comforted by the thought that you will always be changing and improving your lifestyle. You will try new things, learn new information, and test new recipes. Always have a mindset that you will continue to make your diet better and better.
You can eat raw vegan with just a cutting board and knife. However, it might not be very satisfying. If you like simple foods and do not like to spend time in the kitchen, the knife and cutting board way is for you. However, if you like to prepare some slightly more interesting meals, a blender is the #1 tool that I recommend having. All the rest will come with time. But my blender is the #1 tool that I use, over and over again, for all of my meal preparation. I own a Vitamix, but if you don’t want to make this expensive investment right now, you can get a Nutribullet, Ninja, or magicbullet blenders.
How much to eat:
With raw veganism, eating enough is crucial. You must make sure that you are logging in your calories and getting enough of them. Again, you can use cronometer.com to log in your calories until you learn more or less how to plan your meals.
You will learn how many calories are in each fruit and vegetable and be able to gage your meals later down the line without logging them in. Food quantities will start decreasing with time. But when you start out, you must eat enough calories. More on this below.
It is critical to be prepared on a raw vegan diet. When you start out, this means planning out your week and perhaps preparing a few salad dressings ahead of time. It also means doing a weekly grocery haul that will provide you with enough food for the week. You will be buying A LOT of produce to fulfill all of your needs. Don’t let this scare you. This is simply because produce has more water than calories, and you need lots of it to get all of your calories.
Becoming Raw Vegan: Possible Issues Resolved
As mentioned above, you may experience some detox symptoms as your body works to get rid of all of the remnants of refined foods that you ate in the past.
To make these symptoms less strong, you can always add more cooked food – this will dial down the detoxification process.
You can also use enemas to help your body release toxins faster. They were very helpful to me when I started my journey. However, be careful not to use them too much as you want your body to learn how to eliminate on its own.
Lastly, doing a juice or smoothie fast for 3 days is also another great way to help your body get rid of toxins faster.
How to feel satiated on a raw vegan diet
The feeling in your stomach after a raw vegan meal is a lot lighter than after a cooked vegan meal. Keep this in mind. In addition, you will be eating massive amounts to get your caloric needs. At first, this will feel very strange. With time, you will get used to it and will realize that this fullness is just the water content of the foods you are now eating (because water cooks out that natural water contained in fruits and vegetables).
Make sure that you consume a variety of raw foods, and that you have a variety of especially fruit in your home at all times. For example, at any given time, I have about 9-10 types of fruits in my house (including frozen fruit). This variety will keep things fun and interesting, and will also give you a variety of nutrients and phytochemicals (unique to each plant) that you need.
And lastly, give yourself time to adjust to all of this. It is a very unique way of eating that your body simply needs to get used to, and it will, over time.
Is raw veganism expensive?
Short answer, yes. This diet will cost you more than a cooked vegan diet. Potatoes, beans, and rice are simply unbeatable cost-wise. This is a factor you should unfortunately take into account. Per 2 people on 100% raw vegan, we spend about $200-$250 per week. However, if you do include healthy whole plant foods, your food cost will be significantly lower.
Raw Vegan Meal Plan
I created this easy to follow raw vegan meal plan to help you get started on your journey. Download it here:
Get the 1-week raw vegan meal plan to get your raw vegan journey started.
Get the Meal Plan
Get the 1-week raw vegan meal plan to get your raw vegan journey started.
Quick + Easy Raw Vegan Recipe Ideas
Quick + Easy Raw Vegan Breakfast, Lunch, and Snack Ideas:
Please refer to the “Quick + Easy Vegan Recipes Ideas” section above for breakfast, lunch, and snack ideas!
Quick + Easy Raw Vegan Dinner ideas:
Sample Raw Vegan Shopping List
In this video, I give you wonderful tips on raw vegan grocery shopping, and below it, you will find a link to download your own shopping list:
That’s it my friends! I hope I was able to answer all of your questions and help you be in your way to great health.
If I left anything unanswered for you, please be sure to post your question in the comments below.
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