How to be ‘vegan minded’

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by Laura Weston ****

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be vegan? Questioned if you could do it? I’m going to break it down and prove it truly is not that complicated. I know how difficult it can be to balance the busy and demanding lifestyle of a college student. Having on-the-go quick-and-easy meals is an absolute MUST. 

But you don’t have to sacrifice your health and wellbeing just for fast and convenient food. 

In my “Vegan Minded” podcast, I mention three facets for why people choose veganism – for health, for the environment and to protect animals. 

It can be overwhelming when setting out to educate yourself on how much of a detrimental force our food system can be to the planet. From the amount of methane emissions produced by factory farming to the deforestation that takes place for animal grazing, Do Something  estimates that 2.4 billions tons of CO2 are produced every year. 

When thinking about veganism, it’s important to ask yourself if you are morally OK with the inhumane acts perpetrated against animals. This side of the practice can be intense and heavy. But once you’ve educated yourself, you can focus on your own journey and doing what you think is the best for you. 

Most importantly, recognize all the perks that come with eating vegan and how you could truly transform your life and the life of others all by being more vegan minded. Here are some tips to get started:

Try vegan ‘fast food’

The main deterrent to trying vegan foods is usually thinking it will be too challenging. But being vegan really just means abstaining from meat, dairy, and any other animal-based product. It’s a diet based on whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

This can be overwhelming at first but one of the  best tips is to cut out one food item at a time while simultaneously adding new foods into your diet. This will prevent feeling deprived of something, while also trying new amazing foods. 

Fast food comes in handy from time to time, especially in college. And while it typically correlates with being unhealthy, it doesn’t necessarily need to. Vegan fast food is all the craze as of late, and the options are rising as Impossible™ plant-based meat substitutes are finding their way onto menus.

Starbucks has a new “Impossible sausage breakfast sandwich,” and fans are raving about it. Burger King has a new “Impossible Whopper,”  which has been a hit. McDonald’s is soon coming out with a McVeggie burger to be sold at all U.S. locations. These three very well known and easily accessible fast food chains now carry healthier vegan options to help you make a better choice while still on the go. 

Buy vegan

Shopping vegan is now much easier, even on a budget. When trying to stretch a dollar, try grocery shopping at Trader Joes and Aldi’s. Both are adorable and will introduce you to new vegan-friendly foods you may not find at a typical grocery store. When starting out vegan, it’s important to stock up on whole grains, beans, tofu, tempeh, and pasta, which are all inexpensive. From there, incorporate fruits and vegetables and you’ll be in good shape. 

Enjoy added health benefits

Eating vegan has been proved to be the healthier option when compared to meat eaters and even vegetarians. Studies have shown an increase in attention span, strength, agility, and overall attitude. Two interesting documentaries on Netflix – “What the Health” and “Food inc.” – are highly recommended for understanding the benefits of eating vegan. 

Get educated

Another tip is to incorporate as much vegan-related content into your life as possible. Not only will this improve your knowledge of the lifestyle but also help find a community of like-minded people. A few good instagram accounts to follow include @WorldofVegan, @SweetSimpleVegan, @Vegnews, and @bestofvegan. Good books on the topic include “How Not to Die” by Gene Stone, and “Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows” by Melanie Joy. 

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