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An ever-growing number of women are embracing vegan diets as a way to eat clean, feel healthy, and protect the environment. In fact, a recent Vegetarian Times survey found 7.3 million people in the U.S. follow a vegetarian-based diet, and approximately 1 million of those are vegan.
However, veganism’s popularity doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an easy transition. When weening yourself off of animal products it’s important to be educated and properly prepared.
Make sure you take the following five pieces of advice to heart when you make the plunge to a lifestyle free of animal products.
You don’t have to become vegan overnight. Start with one meal as part of your daily routine as a way to ease into the lifestyle.
Have food with you at all times. Think fruit, veggie sticks, and coconut water. Snacking is an important secret for anyone going vegan, especially if you’re looking to boost metabolism and digestion. “Staying prepped with snacks allows you to be consistent in your eating, until it eventually becomes part of your lifestyle,” says Yovana “Rawvana” Mendoza, a vegan advocate who has close to 1 million Instagram followers.
Use your new diet as a reason to get out and explore new restaurants that serve a variety of healthy foods. And if you don’t know what to order at a conventional restaurant, take a look at the menu ahead of time and tell the waiter your needs when you arrive. “You can always order a salad or ask for a fruit plate on the side if your options are slim,” she notes.
Ride the cleansing effects of raw veganism by adding Mendoza’s morning ritual into your daily routine. “I wake up early and drink a 32-oz jar of water with lemon to jump-start my digestive system.”
“All plant foods contain protein, so it’s not hard to meet your nutrition needs,” says Mendoza. For a bigger protein boost, include powerhouses like beans, lentils, quinoa, and seeds, and superfoods like spirulina, hemp seeds, sacha inchi, or plant protein powders.