Regardless of why you're going vegan — whether it's for health, environmental, ethical, or personal reasons — making the change can be challenging, even if you really want to make it happen. So, BuzzFeed Life spoke with a couple of experts — Ginny Messina, registered dietician, and Ryan Andrews, registered dietician and coach at Precision Nutrition — to get their best tips for making the switch to veganism as smooth and sustainable as possible. This isn't medical advice though, so be sure to talk to your doctor before making any dietary changes.
1. Probably don't go vegan overnight. Instead plan to transition gradually.
2. Make just one big dietary change at a time.
3. Alternate big changes with smaller ones.
4. If a particular change is proving super difficult, put it aside and try something different.
5. Know that going vegan doesn't mean you will automagically lose weight.
6. Expect to slip up but don't let lapses derail your efforts.
7. Eat more beans.
8. Chill with arbitrary dietary restrictions.
9. And don't be afraid to seek out processed foods that remind you of the animal-based products you really miss.
10. Find some vegan buddies either online or IRL.
11. Locate the vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants near where you live, work, and travel.
Going out for delicious, celebratory meals is basically a national pastime, so just because some of your usual places might not be in rotation once you're vegan, it shouldn't mean you give up on eating out entirely. Vegetarian Resource Group, VegGuide, and the Happy Cow app have restaurant listings for vegan restaurants all over the world.
12. In the event that you find yourself in a vegan restaurant desert, Chinese, Thai, Ethiopian, and Indian restaurants are great options.
13. Nail a couple of recipes for delicious and celebratory dishes you can bring to potlucks and dinner parties.
14. Get comfortable with ordering off menu.
15. Take Vitamin B12.
16. Make sure you're still getting enough protein.
17. Learn the signs that your vegan diet might need some tweaking.
Both Messina and Andrews say that eating well, being healthy, and feeling great are possible for almost anyone eating a healthy, varied, whole foods-based vegan diet. That said, everyone is different! If you notice that you're fatigued, not sleeping well, not performing well in workouts, or just feeling otherwise off, you might need to make some tweaks to your diet beyond adding in some supplements. Check with your doctor as soon as you notice anything feeling wonky so they can do some labwork and suggest possible dietary changes or supplementation.