Going Vegan! Tips from Jessica Baxter

Produce, produce, produce! This is where so much of your well-rounded nutrition and health begins! Dark leafy greens are high in calcium, cabbage helps deter cancer cells, coconut water is a ready-made high quality sports drink, avocados have good fats for your brain, blueberries are among the highest in antioxidants to protect the integrity of your cells…the list goes on! When you load up on high-quality nutrition from plants, your body will begin to perform better, feel better, and look better. You also have beans and legumes, rice and quinoa, nuts and seeds, seaweeds and seasonings…a wide variety not known to many people at first.


Delicious, Nutritious Substitutes


Choosing vegan does not mean you are left with less – you actually have a huge variety to sample through. Replacing milk? You have oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, hazelnut milk, rice milk, soy milk…then you have vanilla, chocolate, sweetened, unsweetened…there are options like this for everything as you choose more and more vegan alternatives. Each has its own texture, its own flavor – so if you sample one that does not suit your fancy, try another! I can say through much experience, that if you keep trying, you will find a great one that works for you.


Adjusting and Acclimating


As you are transitioning to more vegan options in your diet, and incorporating more whole foods in their natural state (fruits and veggies for example), your body will be adjusting to this new, cleaner fuel. The more animal products you remove from your diet, the more your body will be cleaning up the burden those foods have placed on it. Some symptoms can be fatigue, headaches, aches and pains, gas…it may not feel pretty, but it is truly better to have these symptoms out rather than in. And they don’t last forever! It is a temporary ‘cleaning phase’. If you think about when you clean your house, it may be a mess at first as things start to be moved around so you can clean in all areas, and things out of place, but the end result is a fantastically clean house! Allow your body time to adjust, and leave the expectations of radical change to happen overnight at the door. It will allow for a better experience all around. Eating bigger portions is usually very helpful, especially starting out. Most plants have fewer calories compared to animal products – so, increasing your portion sizes will help to sustain your energy and mental focus.


What Will I Eat When I go Vegan?


Fruits, veggies, smoothies, quinoa,  tacos, beans, legumes, lasagna, salads, fresh juices, soups, stews, pizza, nuts, seeds, stir-fry, sautés, pasta, cookies, brownies, oatmeal, ice cream, parfaits, cereal, sandwiches, roasted veggies…Indian, Asian, Mexican, Thai, Italian…the list goes on! Almost anything you were eating that had dairy, meat, or eggs in it can be recreated to be vegan. There is so much to choose from, it’s just a simple and fun process of learning what there is available to you.

Have Fun & Do What YOU Can


This is intended to be a fun change for you, to experience a new state of health, energy, and mental clarity. Each person experiences this transition differently – do what feels right for you. Taking baby steps is a good way to ensure long-term success. If you completely jolt your body (and mental state) overnight w/ a brand new way of eating, you may crash and burn before you even get to experience the best parts. Finding people and communities online, in person, through books and websites…these are all great ways to connect, get ideas and help, and find really great recipes. Find ways to have fun with this – anything you enjoy doing you are most likely to keep doing :)


“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”

Dean Karnazes