Want to try veganism? Here’s how to get started

Being a vegan is nothing new, but even 10 years ago it would have gotten eye rolls, and it was a lot of work for a vegan to find acceptable meat-free and dairy-free meals. Now the dynamic has shifted: grocery stores have shelves of frozen vegan burgers, and restaurants denote meat- and dairy-free items with the green V.

Veganism has become hip, in addition to having potential health benefits, like improved heart health and weight loss, from cutting out animal products and increasing vegetables. But it’s a big dietary change, and merely announcing, “I’m vegan” doesn’t take away the lifestyle challenges that can entail.

“It’s not magic. It’s a hard thing to do,” says Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Plus, vegan doesn’t automatically equal health. French fries (cooked in vegetable oil) and soda fit the definition. “Being vegan does not relieve you of the responsibility of making good nutrition choices,” says Meir Stampfer, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The first big question when going vegan is how you will make those wise nutrition choices.

Understanding your why and motivations

With any kind of change, the stronger and more personal your reason, the more likely you’ll stick with it. When deciding to be a vegan, there can be an ethical and even an emotional component of concern for animal welfare and the environment. Those things mean something to you, and you’re not going to eat, wear, or use any animal products because you consider that inhumane. It will probably make you go all-in from the start, and your deeply held belief and devotion to a bigger cause won’t make giving up certain foods feel like a loss.

But what if better health is your primary reason for going vegan? The elimination of animal products and dairy means a reduction in saturated fats and sodium, which can help with losing weight and/or preventing weight gain, and can reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, blood cholesterol, and diabetes, Stampfer says.

With a lifestyle and health-oriented goal, you’re in control of how and when you go about your transformation. There are no deadlines to meet to be vegan. It’s about a way to eat — your way to eat — and it’s fine to do at your own pace since an immediate overhaul can feel too sudden and restrictive and might make you quit after a few weeks. To some people, “It feels like you’re being punished,” Rimm says.

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

2 Corinthians 13:9 For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete.

Colossians 1:28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.

Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.

2 Corinthians 10:15-16 not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you, so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;

2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Ephesians 1:17-18 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 3:16-19 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, read more

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