Tips for the Aspiring Vegan- Part 3

3. Experiment with Meat Alternatives
Meat can be very acidic for your body! In many people the acids pool in the extremities and this causes gout. The first step after eliminating dairy is to eliminate red meat from your diet. If you already do this then you are on the right track. I definitely didn’t quit having meat products ‘cold turkey’. Once I was comfortable with eating only white meats such as chicken and turkey, and fish products such as wild salmon, I began to try meat alternatives such as legumes and some grains. Legumes can be very hearty and make you feel satisfied when you eat them. Try chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, quinoa, and tempeh. The options are almost endless!!! These alternatives can be easily added as a side dish to any meal. Once you are comfortable preparing these dishes, which to be perfectly honest, took me a few months, then try having family vegan nights. It could be one night a week at first. This is totally achievable, and your family might see it as a special occasion. Include lots of vegetables with rich colours. Colourful food, like my brussel sprout salad that I had for dinner tonight really appeals to the senses!! Slowly increase the frequency of dinners that are meat free. Notice how you feel afterwards and in the morning of the next day. It is important to note that red meat, although acidic, is a source of vitamin B-12, and therefore including sea vegetables, leafy greens and pumpkin seeds in your diet are essential to maintaining your body’s B-12 and iron. Everyone’s body is different. I began with taking a B-12 supplement until I felt comfortable with supplementing my B-12 with whole foods. I should also let you know that it took me 6 months to eliminate red and white meat from my diet and a few years to completely eliminate fish. After 4 years I progressed to eating mostly nuts and seeds as meat alternatives, and began learning about a raw diet. Making an effort to try one recipe a week allowed me to slowly make this change. The point is, wherever you are on your vegan journey, try not to be too hard on yourself, and celebrate the steps you are already taking towards a healthier and happier future!

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