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How to ease into the vegan diet

If you just aren't ready to completely adopt a vegan lifestyle, here are five painless ways to ease into the vegan diet. Even if you make one change in your current eating habits to include more plant-based foods, you'll improve your diet and your health.

If you've been on the fence about going vegan, and you just aren't ready to completely adopt a vegan lifestyle, here are five painless ways to ease into the vegan diet. Even if you make one change in your current eating habits to include more plant-based foods, you'll improve your diet and your health.
If you've been on the fence about going vegan, and you just aren't ready to completely adopt a vegan lifestyle, here are five painless ways to ease into the vegan diet. Even if you make one change in your current eating habits to include more plant-based foods, you'll improve your diet and your health.

5 Ways to ease into the vegan diet

1. Swap out milk

Replace your current intake of milk with a non-dairy alternative. One of the newest non-dairy milks on the market is flaxmilk from FlaxUSA, which is significantly lower in calories than dairy milk (50 to 60 calories per cup) while providing 1000 milligrams of heart-healthy omega-3s and just as much calcium as regular milk. Other dairy-free alternatives are almond milk, rice milk, soymilk, and hemp milk.

>>Easy ways to remove dairy from your diet

2. Go with the grains, beans, and nuts

Start by serving smaller portions of animal proteins, such as meats, poultry, and seafood. Bolster your meal with whole grains, beans, and nuts, which also provide protein. For example, instead of serving a 6-ounce steak with a side of rice, make a grain salad that features 2 ounces of steak, chopped veggies, beans, and nuts. Then try the dish without the steak.

>>5 Vegan fitness foods

3. Swap in meaty substitutes

Mushrooms and tempeh are vegan foods that can satisfy your craving for meaty chew. Try a grilled portabello mushroom in place of a beef burger, swap in tempeh for ground beef or turkey in spaghetti sauce, add sauteed mushrooms and tempeh to pasta in place of chicken or seafood. Chunks of sauteed tofu can also stand in for seafood or poultry in salads or soups.

>>Try this Vegan Tempeh Reuben

4. Fill your plate with fresh-picked produce

Put farmers' market on your weekly to-do list and bring home fresh-picked veggies, fruit, and herbs. Not only is produce low in calories and loaded with nutrients, it has exceptional taste, which will make you appreciate a plant-based diet. If you've been basing your fruit and veggie opinions on canned goods, it's no wonder you think a vegan diet is hard to follow. Surprise your palate with the fresh flavors of locally farmed produce and you'll look forward to eating less meat.

>>5 Ways to improve your vegan diet

5. Try Meatless Monday...or Tuesday or Wednesday

Instead of eliminate all animal products from your diet, eliminate them for one or two days per week. On those days, experiment with vegan foods, such as dairy-free alternatives for cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, and base your meals on whole grains, fresh produce, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. If you're faced with a day of vegan eating instead of a lifetime, you may find the vegan diet easier to swallow. You'll also find that it can be delicious, nutritious, and a way of life that makes you feel good.

More vegan lifestyle tips!
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