How to take your first steps toward going vegan from a neuro-linguistic practitioner
Blog by Claire Michalski, Co-Founder of Vegan Founded and Founder of Modern Hippie Mindset.
If you are reading this then it's likely you have been sent it from a friend...because that is what we have asked our audience to do, or maybe you stumbled across it from googling a version of the title and so, I know we don't have to tell you what being vegan is or to try and convince you.
You are already interested and just need some advice to take the plunge into the vegan world - I got you!
Here are the top five tips on how to go vegan:
1. First thing to do - Make the commitment
Make a non-negotiable commitment to yourself to finally align your actions with your ethics. Just like a smoker has to get into the 'I'm doing this!' headspace before stepping away from the cigarettes; a meat eater has to say the same thing because ultimately you are quitting a lifetime of habits.
So many vegans shout out about how it's easy to go vegan now, and they have a point. It is easy to get vegan options. They are everywhere! But I know just like any lifestyle change it takes commitment and a bunch of lifelong neural pathways to stop letting your brain travel down!
Let me explain. A habit is formed from a repeated action, and this repeated action creates a neural pathway in your brain. When you try to 'break a habit' your brain wants you to keep returning to this pathway before it is lost! Your brain is actually trying to help you out, but when you want to stop bad habits, it can be...challenging!
When we form new habits, we are creating a brand new neural pathway. So, you will need to keep picking up those vegan burgers, repeatedly go for the dairy-free ice cream, and say the words "Latte with oat milk please" a bunch of times before it becomes automatic!
This leads me to your next step...
2. Get support
Being trained as a 'stop smoking', 'adult weight management' and mindset life coach (get to know here), I know the most important thing a person can do when making a positive life change is to get support. Tell your friends and family about the commitment you have made and ask them to support you in it. This will hold you accountable whenever you are with them too. It also gives you a support network for any time you find it difficult. Getting a few vegans on board as your support network will work wonders too. The vegan community is always happy to help someone go vegan.
3. Don't ditch, switch!
Any diet adjustment is difficult. Firstly you have those pesky pathways in your mind telling you to eat what you always have and secondly you are likely to be addicted to some. Certain foods give us massive dopamine hits. Things like chocolate and carbs. It's usually high-fat food - things with lots of sugar. Why? Because our outdated body is scared we won't find food for the next few days so tells your brain to consume as much as you can!
The good news is (well, for your transitional period towards veganism) vegan food does this too. So don't ditch all your habits at once, just switch them. Enjoy chocolate? Get vegan chocolate. Enjoy crisps? So many crisps are vegan. This of course doesn't advocate for a healthy vegan diet, but it does make the initial commitment much easier for you.
4. Clear out your cupboards
This one really does make you take the plunge but it works just the same as when you are changing your diet to only have healthy foods. Clearing your kitchen out of all the non-vegan foods means it simply isn't there for you to have. It really cements the non-negotiable commitment to yourself. Actions taken from the commitment you have set increase your self-trust and you are much more likely to stick with it.
5. Tool up!
Before anyone embarks on a journey they haven't explored before, they need some tools. If I dropped you in the middle of the woods and told you to find your way out, the first thing you would do is open your phone to bring up a map to get you to your destination. Do the same thing to go vegan because it is a new journey. Download useful apps such as HappyCow, join Facebook groups, get vegan recipe books, and sign up to Veganuary (which you can do at any point of the year); basically, be fully prepared for the journey ahead.
Write down why you want to go vegan. Make a list of at least 5 reasons and read them. Really feel your determination, emotion, and passion for making this change. Include the benefits for you, the positive impact you are having on the planet, and the animals that you are not harming anymore. Then come back to this list every single time you may find it difficult. If it helps, stick it up somewhere that you see every day. This actually works amazingly for any life goal you have!
I believe in you.
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