by Jamie Landa, Food Campaigns Intern

So you’ve realized that a diet free from animal products is better for the planet, your health, and your wallet, not to mention it can be enjoyable and it doesn’t have to be hard? Now what?

Beginning a new way of eating can be an adjustment. Before you embark on a plant-based diet, try these tips to make it as smooth a transition as possible. If you follow these, you can have a much easier time sticking to a vegan or vegetarian diet, but remember the goal is simply to reduce dollars spent on animal products and slip-ups from your diet aren’t a big deal. No one’s perfect and you’re new at this!

1. Start Slow

If you’re currently eating a diet that includes meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal products, going directly to a vegan diet will be a huge shift from what you’re used to. Starting out with a vegetarian diet or even just giving up one kind of meat at a time (for example, beef this month, chicken next month) will help you transition easily.

If you’re currently vegetarian and looking to begin a vegan diet, you can begin by eating vegan only when you cook at home, one day a week, or on the weekends. You can learn what kinds of plant-based meals you like during these periods and then use them as you expand your vegan diet into the rest of the week!

Replacing every product in your kitchen (condiments, dressings, etc..) with a vegan version immediately can be costly, and will contribute to food waste. A better idea would be to replace non-vegan items as they run out with their vegan counterparts. This will make it an easier transition both financially and mentally.

Above all, be forgiving and kind to yourself. You…