Vegan - Cabbage Salad - Smiling Salad

1. Everybody is going to ask you “But how do you get enough protein?”

And this is what you can tell them: chickpeas, lentils, legumes, whole grains, tofu, tempeh, seitan, almond milk, soy milk, almond butter, peanut butter, oatmeal, veggie burgers, pinto beans, broccoli… how do I not get enough protein?

2. Some vegans don’t eat honey.

And if you’re one of those, try substitutes like agave nectar, coconut nectar and date paste. Drizzle your favorite on soy or coconut milk yogurt with some granola and fresh fruit for an easy and healthy breakfast.

3. Netflix is your friend.

While there aren’t cooking classes on this popular streaming service (well, yet), there’s a slew of documentaries that makes going vegan easy without even trying. Check out “Vegucated,” which tracks the transformation of three totally different carnivores into vegans over the course of a few weeks. Then there’s fan favorite “Forks Over Knives” which paints a fascinating picture about the health benefits of a vegan diet. For dessert, try “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” where you can learn about the slew of benefits juicing offers. And if you want factory farm-infused nightmares, watch “Frankensteer” for a thought-provoking look inside the beef industry.

4. Giving up cheese isn’t as hard as you think.

“I think I could go vegan..excepts for cheese,” or “But how could you give up cheese?!?” sound familiar? Alas, it’s not as awful as you think. First off, Kite Hill makes a mean artisan White Alder soft ripened “cheese” that you can fool the most refined gourmands into thinking is a soft and creamy brie. Second off, if you consider everything when making the vegan shift as “Wow, I’m missing out on so much,” you’re going to wind up cranky, deprived, and well, really bummed about giving up cheese. Instead of wasting all that energy, try to reframe everything in the positive: focus on all that you can eat and do enjoy instead of being bogged down by all the no-nos. Besides, axing cheese is great for your body (in fact, many vegans report clearer skin when they relinquish their cheese and dairy habits), animals, and the environment. If that’s not the good side of “giving up” I don’t know what is. For more tips on giving up cheese and what to eat to get that same fix (hello, nutritional yeast —a silly name for a life-changing food), visit “3 Things They Won’t Tell You About Giving Up Cheese

5. You should probably take a B12 supplement.

..if you’re not eating enough of foods fortified with it (cereals, soy products, my good pal nutritional yeast). You can read a long explanation why here, or you could just fork over the couple bucks and know doing so is a good idea. B12 deficiency is linked to lots of bad stuff (infertility, etc.)

What other tips do you have for going vegan?