When you want to go vegan but the smoked turkey keeps calling your name…

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One of the hardest things for me to give up when I decided to go vegan was the smoked turkey. You know how it is, momz is throwing down in the kitchen. She decides to make all of your favorite dishes the day after you tell her you’re not eating meat anymore. Or, you find yourself at the church picnic and all the church aunties came correct with their best pots forward.

Tantalizing, familiar scents waft in the air…waakye with the dried beef stew cooked to perfection; Kenkey and grilled tilapia with the sliced onions and hot peppers; greens stew dressed up with all God’s four-legged creatures; suya kebabs stacked and laid to the gawds! You look longingly at all the things you can’t eat because you heard going vegan is the best way to lose weight and you’re on a mission to undo all the damage processed American food has done to your figure and your skin.

I get it.

Giving up meat is hard to do…

especially when you’re African; our food just tastes too darn good!

But here’s the deal, there’s a secret to conquering cravings and going vegan.

Going vegan to lose weight is the best way to fail at the vegan lifestyle. In my experience of going vegan, falling off the wagon, gaining all the weight again, and finally wrangling myself back on the wagon, I’ve realized that going vegan for ethical reasons is what keeps you sober and joyfully meat-free.

There were a few factors that contributed to my initial success at the vegan lifestyle

  1. I had my own kitchen and cooked my own meals. It’s hard to say no when mom is doing the cooking. I don’t care how allergic you say you are to fried chickens, she don’t give a damn. Have a few recipes you really enjoy and can make when you’re in a pinch. Stock the fridge and the pantry with a few vegan-friendly things. My favorite is quick nachos. I always have some hot salsa, avocados, cooked black beans and other fixings in my fridge for when I’m hungry and need something to fill up on.
  2. I educated myself about the perils of eating meat. It started by reading The China Study then spiraled into a rabbit hole of books, movies, podcasts, and general information. The more I learned, the less I craved meat. The more I re-sensitized myself to the plight of animals the more my desire for plant food grew. Watch documentaries, read books, stay woke in a world that wants to keep you asleep.
  3. I was open to trying new things. Like that time I made vegan peanut butter soup with broccoli and beans. Something amazing happens when you go vegan. Your taste buds change and you start craving kale, beans, broccoli…all the good stuff your body has been getting, it begins to want more of. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself stocking up on loads of greens, veggies and fruits–and trying new things. Don’t feel like you’re restricted rather think about your new lifestyle as opening up yourself to a bounty of new things. (Honestly, you don’t realize how much meat displaces other foods until you cut it out entirely)

My advice to anyone who wants to take a stab at going vegan is to commit yourself for a set time; a week, a month, 3 months. Try the 30 Day Vegan challenge. Stay committed by not being afraid to see all that you know is wrong with the food world; that’s how you’ll stay committed. Watch documentaries like Earthling, Forks over Knives, Meet your Meat, listen to Vegetarian Food For Thought podcast…or Brown Vegan’s podcast, do the research.

Lastly, try a gradual approach to eliminating meat from your diet don’t feel like you have to go cold turkey.

Are you trying to clean up your eating? What questions do you have about veganism?

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