January 1, 2003 was the official start of the vegan journey for Caroline and me. Looking back, we asked ourselves, “Did we learn anything that can help a new vegan just getting started?” Yes! If you haven’t done it already: Purge all your non-vegan food.
Why? If you’re anything like me, when food is around, it will get eaten. Self-control and willpower can work for a short while, but hunger is a powerful urge. By taking any lingering, loitering, non-vegan food out of the picture, you make doing the vegan thing easier. You make it easier to eat a healthy, vegan goodie at home than to jump in the car to search for a non-vegan snack from your old lifestyle. You set yourself up for success.
Make sense? It sounds simple enough, right? And a little extra thought will help you make the most of your “purge”. Let’s break it down.
- Who? You. It’s important that you do the purging. It helps you seal your commitment. You need to say “good-bye”.
- Where? Purge every place you squirrel away a stash of food. The obvious places are your fridge, your freezer, and your pantry cupboard. But don’t forget your car(s), the coffee table by the TV, and the snack drawer in your desk at work.
- When? This one’s tricky, but the timing is critical. It’s best if you purge just after you’ve shopped for your new, vegan food (think “out with the old and in with the new”). And have a meal right away, so you’re not tempted to splurge while you purge.
- How? For me, throwing the non-vegan food in the trash can was symbolic. It meant these things are no longer food to me. If your conscience would feel better taking the items to a soup kitchen or a friend, do that. But do it right away (see “Why?” above).
Getting started as a vegan can be a struggle, a real challenge. But it does get easier. I can’t wait to hear what your #1 getting started tip will be a few years from now! You can do it!!