Tips for a Happy and Healthy Veganuary

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And of course, these tips aren’t just for this month! These will serve you no matter when you decide to go vegan. And of course, I’m always here to help so if you have a specific question, feel free to reach out. Either shoot me an email, send me a DM on Insta or find me at one of the place I’m vending at! I’m happy to talk and share.

Tip #1: Veganize What’s Familiar

I heard this tip from someone at an event and its so logical that it gets overlooked. When we go vegan we think that we have to create these elaborate, fancy meals that we’ve never made before. Nope! We sure don’t! The best way to help make the transition is to just veganize what you already cook. You’d be surprised how easy it is, especially if your Latinx and you’re already enjoying rice and beans and plantanos and tamales and tacos and pupusas. All you need is to swamp out an ingredient or two and the same spices (or make a new blend) and bam! Food for days!

Tip #2: Eat What You Want To Eat

There’s A LOT of pressure to be a “perfect” vegan, whatever that means. We see on social media all these colorful plates of greens an veggies and fruits and whole, unprocessed foods. And yes! THat’s super healthy and we should all try and eat more fruits and veggies. But to be real, sometimes I want French fries and a vegan burger, vegan donuts and vegan pie! and that’s ok too! If your life before veganism was burgers and fries, eat vegan burgers and fries. Transitioning to veganism isn't all or nothing. It’s doing the best that you can with the knowledge that you have. Once you get more comfortable, start introducing new foods into your diet.

Tip #3: Try New Foods

I know I just said in tip 2 to eat what you want and know and you should do that. But you should also try new foods, especially as you continue on your vegan journey. Things that you’ve haven’t liked before you may like now. As what you eat changes, what you crave will also change. It won’t happen overnight and it won’t happen passively without any effort from you BUT it will happen. I used to hate broccoli, even when I went vegetarian. Now? I LOVE BROCCOLI! Who says that? Who craves broccoli? This mujer! But it took about two years for that to happen. But even if you only do this for one month or three months or however long, you can still change your tastes and what you like and what you don’t.

Tip #4: Connect With Other Vegans of Color

This is a big one! It can be really isolating becoming vegan, if you’re the only vegan you know, especially if you’re a person of color. Not seeing yourself represented in any space can be difficult, but veganism seems to be tougher than most because of the perception that veganism is white people shit. I can tell you confidently that it’s not white people shit. Many of our ancestors lived mostly plant-based since hunting was more energy consuming than gathering and eventually planting and harvesting. Also, there are cultures all over the world that have lived plant-based or vegetarian for centuries before white people ever did it. Though the term “vegan” was created by an Anglo-Saxon man, it doesn’t mean that he invented this way of eating or living. He just gave it a name, in English. SO find other vegans to connect with whether it’s online or in person. This will help alleviate some of the isolation you might feel. BUT a warning: not all vegan spaces are welcoming to POC. So make sure to find a space that makes you feel comfortable and do some research on these spaces, if they’re a formal space or organization, to make sure that they don’t do you or others any harm.

Tip #5: Do Your Research (especially if you’re living with health issues)

I’ve heard from folks about wanting to go vegan but they’re having trouble because they’re living with health issues or chronic disease. Obviously you want to be healthy along with making sure that your lifestyle does the last amount of harm and living in line with your values. I’ve heard from people living with chronic disease that they did some research online before they made the switch. They found others living with their same illness and saw how they manage. I would also suggest going to a nutritionist or dietician that is vegan-friendly and see what they say. You may never be able to go fully vegan but you can do as much as possible without hurting yourself in the process.

If you’re not living with a chronic illness, I think research is still an important step to take when first starting. The research can be about anything that would help make the transition easier for you, whether it’s researching recipes for cooking and baking your favorite foods, history of certain foods or just finding others from similar backgrounds online (connected to tip #4). It can also demystify the veganism thing. Vegans are just people trying to make a small impact on a large problem. Some vegan are problematic, for sure, but a lot of us are just making the connections between our oppression as people of color and the oppression of nonhuman animals.

I hope those helped! Do you have any tips for new vegans or those who are veg-curious? Share them in the comments or send me a message through email or social media and I’ll share it!

Still have questions? Need a specific answer to a specific question? Message andI’ll help answer it (if I don’t know it already).

Ivonne QuirozComment