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How to Go Vegan (Step-By-Step Guide from a Fitness Coach)

How to Go Vegan (Step-By-Step Guide from a Fitness Coach)
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‘I could never do that’.

This is the answer I mostly hear from people once I’ve told them that I’m a vegan. And the truth is: I thought the same way before. I’ve eaten meat my entire life – like most people. Maybe I even overdid it a little bit. I’ve followed the typical bodybuilding diet, rice and chicken with nearly every meal. This sometimes resulted in over 1 kilogram of meat a day.

This is not what I would consider a healthy meal nowadays, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have cared if someone told me so back then.

It’s now over two years that I’ve became a vegan and I haven’t looked back. If you want to know more about how I stay energetic being a vegan, check out my other article: How a Vegan Diet Keeps Me Energized, Mentally Sharp and Full of Drive

But here in this post, I will tell you what ‘going vegan’ really means, why it matters to you and the exact steps to take to become a vegan.

What going vegan really means

Rather than think of veganism as an identity, it makes the most sense to use it as a concept that inspires you to remove animal products from your life. Sometimes, it’s not fully clear whether a given food or cosmetics ingredient comes from animals, but you will get used to it pretty fast.

A vegetarian diet is commonly understood to forbid meat and fish, but to allow both eggs and dairy. The word vegan takes this concept to the next level, cutting out every item of animal origin. Vegan refers to anything that’s free of animal products: no meat, milk, eggs, wool, leather, honey and so forth.

Following such diet or lifestyle, as you may call it, brings three big advantages:

  1. Increasing the well-being of animals through the avoidance of their consumption (possibly a no brainer)
  2. Bettering your health by minimizing the exposure to possible pathogens (such as red meat, which is a known group-1 carcinogen)
  3. Helping the planet by reducing your environmental footprint (through the reduced CO2 emission and methane, which livestock, especially cows, produce)

No matter the degree to which you ultimately embrace the vegan concept, it makes sense to begin your transition by emphasizing dietary choices. Because the overwhelming majority of animal use associated with your life almost certainly arises from your food choices:

    How I started going vegan

    You may not believe me when I tell you that, but I loved the taste of meat. I’m not going to lie. I remember telling a friend of mine after going vegan that I’m just trying this vegan-thing out and that I’ll probably have to eat a Big Mac again soon and ‘treat myself’.

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    I was the guy eating chicken and rice out of the Tupperware, while everyone was enjoying the cafeteria lunch at work. My mother worried about me, because while everyone was busy eating dinner in our family home, I was the only one standing in the kitchen, cooking my bland turkey.

    I used to write down everything that I ate. I still have my MyFitnessPal entries from back then. Looking at them nowadays is shocking. 500 grams of low fat quark at 5am in the morning. 1 kilogram of unseasoned chicken on a daily basis.

    If you want to know the honest reason why I went vegan, the true reason for this dramatic shift – here it is: My girlfriend at that time gifted me a book called ‘Eating Animals’, by Jonathan Safran Foer. After devouring the book in less than a week and going through the following weeks of denial, I finally decided to slowly transform into becoming a vegetarian.

    After reading such horrific stories about the daily lives of animals in factory farms, it seemed like a logical next step for me. In retrospect it probably was the combination of love and the hero syndrome. I always wanted to be the one that does the right thing, even if everyone was against it.

    While I was contemplating if I should go vegan, I’ve felt like Neo in the Matrix. Choosing between living life with the bliss of ignorance or living life facing the brutality of reality.

      After making the decision to go vegan – to take the red pill – everyone in my social circle thought that I was going crazy. ‘You will lose all your muscles!’, ‘This can’t be healthy.’ and ‘You won’t last longer than two weeks.’, were things that I heard on a regular basis.

      If I wouldn’t have informed me thoroughly, I wouldn’t have been able to withstand all this negative criticism with facts and data. If I wouldn’t amassed the right knowledge before going vegan, I would’ve spitted out the red pill within a month. Or as in the Matrix – what a great coincidence – ate a traitorous steak.

        Going vegan reminds me of the crypto marketplace. Bare with me:

        I’ve made a couple thousand dollars with cryptocurrencies in the last year. Most people that I know have sold their cryptos for a loss or a minuscule profit. Because when the crisis hit, everyone has sold their stakes, disregarding the enormous potential behind it.

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        What made me able to make money of Ethereum and Bitcoin and co., was my knowledge behind the structures of the cryptocurrencies. The potential of the Blockchain, smart contracts and the problems in the financial markets that it might be able to solve. I’ve gained this advantage by reading a simple book.

        Until now this might’ve seemed like a far stretch from veganism. But you have to realize that in the life that we live in, there are very few things that are more important than knowledge.

        Is going vegan for everyone?

        A long-term transition to a healthier diet can be recommended to everyone in my opinion. But if you fit into one of these categories, you should not follow a complete vegan diet right now:

        • Pregnant women, with no experience of following a vegan diet before.
        • Suffering from a severe mental or physical illness, where your doctor is actively advising against following a vegan diet.
        • Suffering from intense stress. Like a burn-out or a recent break-up.

        If you fit into the previously listed categories, a drastic switch is not recommended in this moment as the short-term stress might harm you or others around you.

        If you still feel unsure whether or not you are fitted for the plant-based nutrition, visit a competent physician near you. You can find plant-based doctors in your area, by visiting PlantBasedDoctors.Org.

        A step-by-step guide to become a vegan

        I wrote down a step-by-step plan for you to slowly get drawn into this vegan journey. Before you know it, you’re already in a good routine.

        1. Ask yourself why you want to become a vegan

        You see me talking a lot about your ‘Why’. I can’t stress this one enough. Asking yourself ‘Why’ is so important. You have to know yourself, not just if you want to become a vegan, but if you want to live a good life. Introspection is a crucial skill that you have to develop.

        Start asking yourself the hard questions:

        • Why do I do what I do?
        • Why am I going to work?
        • Why do I want to follow a vegan diet?

        These questions will show you your motivations and give you a glimpse, of who you really are. They will also make achieving your goals much easier.

        2. Change your mindset

        My biggest ‘Why’ was simply my urgent need to live a life of self-control and integrity. I have a strong need to simply do what is right. After reading the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer,[1]

        I first tried to reject the information and forget what I’ve just read. But every freaking time I’ve eaten a chicken, I’ve felt guilty and shameful. I knew that eating meat would give me a lot of pleasure, but I also knew that one’s own primitive needs shouldn’t outweigh one’s morals and principles. I mean otherwise you could justify rape.

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          You have to change your mindset to the point when you realize that instant gratification should not be the epitome of your life. This shouldn’t sound woo-woo, but start to look at the big picture.

          3. Be prepared for resistance

          You need to know what you’re talking about when you’re becoming a vegan. Whenever you’re swimming against the stream, you will, by the laws of physics, face resistance. The only way to withstand this resistance is by preparation.

          Next to reading my articles on Lifehack and visiting my Youtube channel, I advise you to read the following books. These books alone will give you more knowledge about healthy nutrition than 99% of the general population. The big three are:

          • How Not To Die – A book with over 2,400 five star reviews on Amazon. How to prevent our leading causes of death with nutrition. All proceeds from the book go to charity.
          • Eating Animals – The ethics behind eating animals, as the book title says. The one book that made me go vegan.
          • The China Study – A book about the most comprehensive study ever done on the relation of diet and human health. A second book on health, as the biggest argument you will get into, regarding veganism, will be about the health aspects.

          4. Set a new standard for yourself

          After fool-proofing yourself with the necessary knowledge, your main goal should be to set a new standard. And the only way you’re setting a new standard in the long-term, is by making a sustainable transition.

          Eating plant-based is normal for me. I don’t feel restricted in any way, veganism means living a more natural and ethical life for me. My diet is full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, ‘plant-milks’, seeds and beans.

          I don’t wear fur nor any other animal skin. Not because I don’t have to, but because I don’t want to. I mean: I’d rather consider the place where I live, love and laugh a garden, not a cemetery.

          Going vegan also means saying no to immediate gratification and taking a look at the bigger picture. Going vegan signals self-control.

          By going vegan you’re setting your own gratification aside for the bigger picture. Be it for your health, the planet or the animals. You’re setting priorities and you show that you live a life of principles.

          5. Analyze your eating habits

          People often tell me that they have never eaten anything vegan. Which is of course complete bullocks. If you’ve ever eaten a banana, you’ve eaten vegan food. Chances are you’re already eating vegan to a pretty high degree.

          To find out to what degree, write down how your current eating habits look like. This may be tedious but this is golden. What do you eat from breakfast to dinner? Once you’ve figured out what you’re currently eating, you can think about how you can better your eating habits.

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          To make keeping track of your daily diet easily, I recommend you to use the app MyFitnessPal. It’s free and easy-to-use.

          6. Eat more whole-food, plant-based foods

          Instead of advising people to stop eating what they’re currently eating, I like to advise them that they should simply eat more of the good stuff. Research has shown that people even lose more weight when they’re advised to eat more veggies instead of being advised to eat less sweets. If you’re eating brown rice, broccoli and chicken for lunch right now, I’ll advise you to simply double the portion size of your broccoli and rice, while keeping the chicken portion the same size.

          After some time you’ll crave healthier and healthier foods. Making it far easier to eat good nutrition. You’ve developed a habit before you know it.

          If you want to know more about vegan foods, check out my other article that gives you 40+ vegan recipes ideas.

            7. Buy vegan alternatives

            After you’ve analyzed your eating habits, highlight the meals where you’re currently eating non-veggie. Meals containing meat, dairy, honey and cheese.

            Buy vegan alternative foods for these meals. Nowadays these vegan-foods can be found in nearly every supermarket. It’s absolutely easy to find alternatives. Like cheese on your pizza? Guess what, there are vegan alternatives for it. Always liked eating grill ribs? Yes, there are vegan grill ribs available. I’m not joking, the possibilities are nearly endless.

            8. Buy vegan clothes

            This is the last and hardest part. I don’t advise you to throw your current clothes away. Instead I’ll advise you to buy ethical new clothes. Pay special attention when buying jackets and shoes. You want to stay clear from wool and leather.

            The shoes are usually the trickiest part to find while being a vegan. Here’s a guide on your shoes, which are probably the hardest clothes to buy vegan:

            Going vegan can be easier than you might think if you simply follow these proven steps. Even if it may be challenging at some point, in the end, swallowing the red pill will be worth it, trust me.

            Reference

            [1] Jonathan Safran Foer: Eating Animals

            More by this author

            Florian Wüest

            Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

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            Last Updated on July 12, 2021

            100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

            100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier
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            Want to learn some quick and easy life hacks that are easy to do, low cost and saves you time?

            By tweaking little things in your daily life, it can make your life much more convenient!

            Here’re 100 of the most practical life hacks so you can just pick up any of them right away!

            83 tie a small piece of bright colored fabric

              84 write random letter

                85 use a rubberband

                  86 dorm smell bad

                    87 lean your phone on your sunglassess

                      89 how to waterproof your shoes

                        90 take a picture of the name card

                          91 iron inside out

                            92 old newspaper

                              93 tumble try shoes

                                keep a card like this

                                  SONY DSC

                                    94 soap bar

                                      95 make a hole

                                        96 drop the battery

                                          97 use a coozie

                                            98 when taking a picture

                                              use a clean dust pan

                                                try a pants hanger

                                                  use your cellphone light

                                                    use a spring from an old pen

                                                      quick and easy iphone speaker

                                                        user binder clips

                                                          wrap a wet paper towel around your beverage

                                                            put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle

                                                              clean out an old lotion bottle for your beach

                                                                use a muffin tin to serve condiments at a bbq

                                                                  doritos are great for kindling

                                                                    use nail polish to identify different keys

                                                                      use a hanging shoe rack to store cleaning supplies

                                                                        freeze grapes to chill white wine without

                                                                          use paper clips to organize your cables

                                                                            almost finished your jar of nutella

                                                                              sick of having a box full of tangled

                                                                                unroll the rim to increase the capacity

                                                                                  cut open toilet paper rolls and use as a cuff

                                                                                    remove the stem from strawberries

                                                                                      turn an old bottle into a simple little cord holder

                                                                                        for iced coffee and iced cappuccino, use frozen coffee cubes

                                                                                          how to fold a fitted bed sheet

                                                                                            tired of snoozing past your alarm

                                                                                              place a rubber band around an open paint can to wipe your brush on

                                                                                                ut a wooden spoon across a boiling pot

                                                                                                  use bread clips to save flip-flops

                                                                                                    take pictures of friends holding items

                                                                                                      how i always know which headphone is the left one

                                                                                                        put a stocking over the end of a vacuum

                                                                                                          How to make sure you drink enough water

                                                                                                            user a can opener to open blister

                                                                                                              good sandwich guide

                                                                                                                turn your muffin pans upside down

                                                                                                                  50 pounds of groceries and living on the 5th floor

                                                                                                                    the right way to make a blt

                                                                                                                      add one teaspoon of baking soda

                                                                                                                        38

                                                                                                                          hair straighteners equals to collar irons

                                                                                                                            stack your clothes vertically to see them all

                                                                                                                              the right way to make cookies in the summer

                                                                                                                                how to clean a blender

                                                                                                                                  the right way to eat a popsicle

                                                                                                                                    use bread clips to label and organize power cords

                                                                                                                                      to get the built up residue off of your shower head

                                                                                                                                        user a hair clip to orgainize long wires

                                                                                                                                          a frozen saturated sponge in a bag

                                                                                                                                            rub stuck zipper teeth with a graphite pencil

                                                                                                                                              use a soda pop tab

                                                                                                                                                50

                                                                                                                                                  51 How to multiply large numbers in your head.

                                                                                                                                                    52 How to open a bottle if you dont have a corkscrew.

                                                                                                                                                      rub a walnut on damaged wooden furniture

                                                                                                                                                        kids fall out of bed

                                                                                                                                                          use toothpaste to clear up hazy car

                                                                                                                                                            58

                                                                                                                                                              59 keep pizza out while driving home

                                                                                                                                                                60 put your straw through the tab to keep it from rising

                                                                                                                                                                  hold oreos with a fork so your fingers

                                                                                                                                                                    Never lose your remotes again

                                                                                                                                                                      hiding your emergency money

                                                                                                                                                                        use a bread tab to hold your spot on a roll

                                                                                                                                                                          if you are at a hotel and run out of chargers

                                                                                                                                                                            keep a square of cardboard in a ziplock bag

                                                                                                                                                                              If you need to pee or smoke at a bar

                                                                                                                                                                                drill holes in the bottom of your garbage

                                                                                                                                                                                  use an accented letter as your passcode

                                                                                                                                                                                    use a squeeze ketchup bottle top with your shopvac

                                                                                                                                                                                      do something unusual when locking the door

                                                                                                                                                                                        when heating leftovers space out a circle in the middle

                                                                                                                                                                                          dont burn yourself in those hard to reach candles

                                                                                                                                                                                            put a small amount of water in a glass when you microwave your pizza

                                                                                                                                                                                              75 use a piece of paper to organize

                                                                                                                                                                                                use half a pool noodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                  pencil case to store cables

                                                                                                                                                                                                    78 clothespin to hold nail

                                                                                                                                                                                                      79 make blts

                                                                                                                                                                                                        80 take a picture of your fridge

                                                                                                                                                                                                          81 fill plastic water bottles

                                                                                                                                                                                                            82 right ways to eat chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                              99 if your plug keeps failing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                100 put the banana on the wire

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  88 before you throw away a post it

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Source: Reddit LifeProTips

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There you go, 100 awesome life hacks that you can try right now to make your life a lot easier!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    20 Popular Life Hacks From the Internet Debunked (or Verified)

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