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How to Keep Your Plant-Based New Year’s Resolution

It’s three months into the new year and all those resolutions are probably out the window. One of the biggest resolutions I’ve noticed people have is to go vegan or eat more plant-based foods. A lot of people jump into veganism without thinking about all the aspects of it and ways to go vegan with longevity. Here are a few ways I think you can make your resolution last longer!

1. Make the connection!
Often times when people give up on this lifestyle it’s simply because they don’t have the motivation and connection to keep it up. The three main reasons people go vegan is for better health, environmental sustainability, and to save the lives of innocent animals being killed for food and fashion. Having a reason for your actions and knowing that what you’re doing is beneficial for multiple reasons in the long run can help promote long term veganism. For example, quit eating meat for the animals and every time I see someone eating a burger or fried chicken I automatically connect that image to a living breathing animal being tortured in a slaughter house. I don’t see animals as food anymore because of the connection.

2. Educate yourself!
There are lots of questions people have when you go vegan. “Is it really healthy?”, “Where do you get your protein?”, “Are you getting all the nutrients you get from meat?” And my personal favorite: “If lions eat meat why can’t I?” Doing research benefits you and everyone around you. You’ll know what supplements you need to take, how much you need to eat, what ingredients mean what, and what to eat. It benefits people around you because you’ll be educating them with comebacks to their cliché questions about veganism. So, whenever someone comes and asks you where you get protein, you can say that the only way to be protein deficient is by starving yourself because there’s protein in literally every food. Or if they tell you that you’re not getting enough B12, tell them most people are B12 deficient and vegans usually have better blood tests than meat eaters. Here’s a list of things to read/watch for research purposes:
Documentaries: Earthlings, Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, and Food Inc.
Books: The Starch Solution, The China Study.
Speeches:
The Best Speech You’ll Ever Hear by Gary Yarofsky. –  https://youtu.be/es6U00LMmC4
100 Reasons to Go Vegan – https://youtu.be/W4HJcq8qHAY

3. Start off slow!
Some people can go vegan all at once, simply cutting out all animal products at once. But I personally think the best way to transition is that after you’ve done all your research, you slowly cut out animal products. Switch to cruelty free makeup. Start buying natural cleaning products. Then move on to food. Replace your milk with dairy free options, like almond or soy milk. If you’re allergic to those, try rice milk or flax milk, the options are honestly endless. Cut out eggs and find alternatives to them for your baking and breakfast items. Try out a tofu scramble instead or use applesauce in a cake recipe that calls for eggs. Then stop eating red meat, because it’s the most cancerous of the meat products. Then cut out poultry, turkey, fish, etc. If you miss these products and want to eat them in a non-cruel way, there are countless substitutes that you can find in stores. Vegan food is easily accessible now, there’s an entire vegetarian/vegan section in the Walmart and Kroger frozen section!

4. Eat Whole Plant Foods!
Once you’ve thrown out all your animal products, you should probably take a trip to the grocery store because your fridge is probably a little bare at this point. When you’re first transitioning and especially when you’re in college, it’s best to stick to whole foods. Whole foods are cheaper than meat and dairy substitutes and healthier too. Here’s a beginner grocery list:

* LOTS OF SEASONAL FRUIT
As a college student I go for cheap staples like bananas, apples, grapes and oranges. I sometimes splurge on small watermelons, strawberries, pineapples and mangos! But only if they’re in season and on sale!

AVOID PREPACKAGED FRUIT, IT’S EXPENSIVE AND YOU GET MORE FOR YOUR MONEY BUYING IT FRESH.

* LOTS OF VEGGIES
I always have potatoes on hand. They’re calorically dense, easy to store, and honestly the greatest food ever. Leafy greens are important to have for nutrient purposes, I always have spinach, lettuce, or kale. But you can buy whatever greens you’re into. I buy bell peppers, snap peas, and cherry tomatoes as quick snacks. I buy a couple of steamable frozen veggies to put in the microwave as well that I pair with rice and beans as a quick dinner.

 

Photo by: Lexus Jacobs

This breakfast sweet potato I made in my dorm microwave. Made with simple staples like berries, bananas and potatoes!

* CANNED GOODS
–Canned beans are cheap, quick, and easy to cook. My favorites are black beans, chickpeas, and white northern beans. I also buy canned corn and canned fire roasted tomatoes.

* PLANT MILK
My favorite is almond coconut milk from silk, it tastes amazing in cereal, but you can buy whatever non-dairy milk you’re into!

* GRAINS
– Oatmeal makes for quick and easy breakfasts, just top it off with fruit and plant milk!
– Is cereal a grain? Well in this instance it is. It’s good as a fast breakfast, great for a snack, even for lunch. Anytime is cereal time!
– Rice and pasta make for simple and fast dinners, just top them with veggies or beans and you’ve got a whole meal!
– Whole grain bread or tortillas are a staple in my room, great for sandwiches or bean and rice burritos!

* SNACKS
I don’t know about you, but I’m a snacker. Though I mostly snack on fruit and veggies, I really enjoy eating nuts like cashews and almonds. Or chips with guacamole and salsa. I also buy Dr. McDougall’s vegan ramen, because would I really be a college student without ramen?! And if I happen to have some extra money, I’ll buy some vegan fruit snacks, granola bars, or some vegan yogurt and granola.
 

5. Spread the message!
– Tell people you’re vegan. Tell them why. Educate them. Teach people that your lifestyle is about living compassionately and abundantly. Explain that there’s nothing restrictive about this lifestyle and that you’re helping the planet just by seeing things differently.
 

Pop punk enthusiast. Concert photography. Aspiring music journalist. The definition of a music nerd.
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