8 Points to Remember when Turning Vegan ...

Turning vegan is not a difficult process, so if you've made the decision to give up consuming all animal products then don't worry. However, there are some things to remember when turning vegan, especially if you're going to make a successful and healthy transition. You need to make yourself knowledgeable, just as you would with any new health choice. So here are some useful tips for turning vegan.

1. Research

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The first thing to do when you plan on turning vegan is to read up on the subject. This is especially important if you're giving up a meat-eating diet and don't already have experience with eating a vegetarian diet. So do lots of reading to make sure that you're clued up on nutrition.

2. Balanced Diet

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It's perfectly possible to eat a good, balanced vegan diet, so don't let anyone tell you otherwise! Just make sure that you've done your research and know what constitutes a healthy diet for going vegan. This does require some effort on your part though; you will have to do more cooking from scratch (which is a good thing!).

3. Watch Labels

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One thing to watch out for when turning vegan is that a lot of products contain non-vegan ingredients. So learn to read labels and know what to look out for. Vegan websites often provide helpful lists or booklets of products that are vegan-friendly, and some manufacturers even mark products as suitable for vegans.

4. Eating out

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This wouldn't be a complete list of tips for turning vegan if it didn't touch on what to do when you visit a restaurant or get takeaway. Eating out can be a bit tricky, especially when many restaurants think that vegans eat cheese and fish. So the best thing is to check out restaurants beforehand, rather than wait until you are hungry to find somewhere that caters to you. A good restaurant will also be happy to cook something specially or adapt a dish for you.

5. Gradual Change

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Switching to a vegan diet is generally best done gradually, unless you prefer to change your diet in one go. You could start by cutting out red meat, then fish and white meat. Then once you've adjusted to a vegetarian diet, work on reducing then removing dairy products. This is easier on your body, and also makes the practical transition more gradual.

6. Criticism

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One thing you will almost certainly have to deal with when turning vegan is critical questioning, so be prepared. People seem to take it strangely personally when someone else switches to a vegan or vegetarian diet, as if the other person is saying that they are wrong for eating meat. If you are asked why you've given up meat, you don't need to answer - it's entirely up to you.

7. Delicious Diet

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Vegan food is often seen as boring, and lacking in interest. That is definitely not the case! One of the most important things to remember when turning vegan is that vegan cooking can be really exciting and full of flavour, so you won't miss out. If anything, it can be a lot more imaginative than a meat diet, so don't worry that your diet will be dull!

8. Cookbooks

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Changing to a vegan diet means adapting to a new way of cooking. If you're short on ideas, get hold of some vegan cookbooks to help you with yummy new recipes. As you become more accustomed to your new diet, you'll learn to adapt existing recipes and start coming up with ideas of your own.

Turning vegan needn't be difficult, although it helps if you do your research and learn how to eat a good vegan diet. Don't worry about what others think. However, if you are invited to dinner, and your hosts aren't used to cooking vegan meals, offer to take a dish with you to make things easier. They'll appreciate the offer. Have you tried going vegan, but had problems with adapting - or were people actually hostile?

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