It’s that time of the year again where people start to make their “New Year’s Resolutions…” and while I could go on a tangent about how you can make the switch to plants any time of the year, or share my favorite recipes, I’ll let the other vegan bloggers do that.
Some of you are choosing to go vegan in 2019 and I applaud you… but can I give some solid advice?
Actually, the following advice comes from a conversation we recently had on the radio show with our friend & vegan chef, Leslie Durso.
I love having Leslie on because she really knows what she’s talking about and she has expertise to back it up. Once simply known as Leslie the lab girl with Bill Nye the science guy, Leslie took her love of education and shifted from science to plant-based food. After establishing herself as a private chef for the NYC and Hollywood elite, Leslie emerged as a public persona, hosting cooking segments on television and online.
I took advantage of having her on the show to ask her, “HOW people can make the switch to a vegan lifestyle go more smoothly, and how to navigate holiday/public gatherings with people that don’t understand what vegan is.”
Listen to the entire LIVE recording of our interview with Leslie here.
For those of you who just here for the advice, here’s a little bit of our conversation…
TVW: For the newbie vegans out there who are just starting out, how do you stick to being vegan? Especially around the holidays? What do you do?
Leslie: "Yeah, the holidays are a tough time because going home, people can be very defensive about their beliefs, especially when it comes to how you eat. I'd say that you have got to be super respectful. Everyone is in a different place in their food journey and everyone deserves to be respected. So, the holidays might not be the best time to make a big scene at the table and tell everyone that 'meat is murder…' You might want to just play it a little bit more low-key.
Usually when you go vegan, things start to happen to you physically. Your skin gets brighter and better, your hair gets shinier, and you'll notice that people will just [naturally] ask you about it.
Let them spark the conversation as opposed to being the one that's preaching to everybody.
As far as what to avoid and how to get through it food-wise. You know, it is tough, especially when you're new and you don't know what's in everything. You might be eating something and your Aunt Betty says, 'Oh yeah that doesn't have any animals in it," except that she forgot that there's actually eggs in it. Don't beat yourself up, do the best that you can. If you can cook for everyone, even better. It's a great way to inspire conversation when someone tastes your delicious appetizer or cookies and says, 'Wow! These are really good," and you can show them that you don't need to put the eggs & dairy in them. It's just as delicious without!
Bring your own food with you so that you're not without when there's appetizers of cheese & crackers and you can't eat anything. Go get your favorite snack and keep a smile on your face!”
TVW: “I know a lot of people that will be trying to go vegan this year in 2019 and a lot of those people are used to having animal products. While some of those things are addicting because of the chemicals found in them, it can be hard to start. Where do you start when you tell people to start [going plant based]? Is it taking dairy out first or should you go all at once? How would you suggest a smooth transition into veganism?”
Leslie: "Well it depends on the person and where they're at, but I tell them to immediately to start adding large quantities of produce into their diet, so that you're substituting with really healthy food. I was mentioning that there are a lot of the plant-based cheeses and plant-based meats and those are so fantastic, but if you just sub out meat for those items, you're still not getting the foundation of your diet. The foundation of your diet should always be whole plants. So I encourage people to first do that and then to eliminate things out.
Then I usually ask them to start with dairy because dairy is the thing that people find hardest to cut out. I also believe that it's one of the most unhealthy things, so that it should go first. So, if you can get that out of your diet then everything else seems much easier."
So there you have it: solid advice about how to go vegan in 2019. Please take some time to read through more of my beginner’s advice on how to have the best experience of going vegan in 2019 like…