I had so much fun sharing 47 Ways to Get Fit - from bloggers, that I wanted to do another round-up of quotes and advice from bloggers and from my own adventures as a vegan. These 31 Vegan Wellness Tips are for vegans, or anyone looking to add more plant-based meals to their life, flirt with veganism (as Alicia Silverstone would say), and embrace their own health, happiness and overall wellness...
31 Vegan Wellness Tips
1. Lemon Water Mornings.
I love this habit. Not only for its supposed "alkalyzing" impact on the body, but for another reason. Hydration. Instead of loading your body with caffeine first thing in the morning, load it with hydration. Chug some lemon water first thing in the morning.
The lemon adds a hint of vitamin C and all those other benefits that are raved about. I find that hydrating with lemon water or lemon tea first thing in the morning, makes my skin feel better, makes my hunger feel more moderate, and I just feel a bit more energized. Note: Most people advise warm lemon water, but I have found warm or room temp is great. Chilled even works if need be.
2. Love Your Legumes.
If you came into veganism not really loving foods like chickpeas, lentils and beans in general, you may have a bit of work to do. Legumes are such an important part of a plant-based diet. Legumes are generally rich in things like fiber, protein, iron and B vitamins - and more. The good news is that there are SO many ways to serve legumes.
You can serve them smashed in sandwiches, on avocado toast with pineapple, or like this, in soups, in veggie burgers, popped (my famous popped lentils), in curries over grains, blended into hummus or bean dip and on and on. Even picky eaters can find some way to sneak legumes into their diets thanks to all the creative recipes on the internet.
3. Eat Vegan. Help the Planet. Boost Your Self Esteem.
We all want to help the planet, help each other and help the animals. Well eating more vegan meals is one way to do that.
"An image I found on a Vive Soy carton a few years ago that really inspired me towards eating a more plant-based diet. I saved it on my phone and look at it all the time." - Harriet E, HarrietEmily
4. Veganize Your Faves.
If your favorite food is cheese, then eat cheese. Just make sure that cheese falls in line with your values. Luckily, vegan cheese is amazing. If your favorite dessert is ice cream. Same thing. Vegan ice cream, it is pure bliss. If your favorite food is... You get the picture. There are vegan versions for just about everything nowadays! If you need help veganizing your favorite recipe or food - ask the friendly crew over on the Finding Vegan community boards - there is even a "veganize this" topic board!.. community.findingvegan.com!
Veganize those faves! like cheese..
5. Get in the Kitchen.
You may not think of yourself as someone who likes to cook. Well there is hope for you yet! Make it your goal to change that.
I recently chatted with a friend who never cooked for herself, but then after trying a few meals at home, she got really excited about food and ingredients and making her own meals. She said it became a very therapeutic. Chopping, simmering, plating. She actually looked forward to it, this activity she used to scowl at.
So even if you never get in the kitchen, give yourself a little nudge. Buy a cool new cookbook. Try just one popular blog recipe. See if a spark ignites inside you. Your body will thank you and your health may depend on it..
"People who frequently cook meals at home eat healthier and consume fewer calories than those who cook less, according to new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research." - Science Daily
"If you decide to make one simple change, start cooking. Not focused on big fancy meals or ingredients, just simply the act of cooking." - Amanda P, more on how cooking leads to good health here: HeartBeetKitchen
Need guidance? Check out my cookbook Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen
recipes YOU can make! (from HHVK)
6. Get to Know Vegan Convenience Food Brands.
It would be awesome if we all lived in a world where we had 2-3 hours every night to prep, prepare, enjoy and wind down from a vegan dinner feast. Home-cooked with love at a leisurely pace. Ha. In the real world, frozen pizzas, pre-made soups, pre-chopped salads and more DO happen. Well lucky for plant-based eaters, there are plenty of amazing vegan-friendly brands in grocery stores today.
Brands like.. Amy's Kitchen, Daiya, Field Roast, Earth Balance, Annie's, Earth Balance, Earthbound Farms, Sweet Earth, Follow Your Heart, Gardein, Hampton Creek, LightLife, do you need me to continue because I will literally be here all night? Try out a few vegan convenience food items and embrace them when need be. Try not to depend on them, but know that they are out there when you need a cooking helping hand.
7. Invest in a Vitamix.
Seriously guys. This one is a must-do for anyone who loves to cook. I know the price tag is shocking at first glance, but so is a car or your cell phone or that fancy pair of shoes in the back of your closet that you only wore once. A Vitamix is a machine that will last you (possibly a lifetime, but at least 7 years.)
I use my Vitamix at least twice a day - usually more. I use it to blend the thickest, creamiest smoothies ever, the silkiest green smoothies, DIY oat flour, homemade dips and spreads, nut butters, frothy lattes, silky soups and more.
My Vitamix makes it SO easy for me to live a healthy, happy vegan life. Before my Vitamix I had to go to special smoothie shops to get perfectly blended smoothies. I had to buy all my green juices at stores. I couldn't make my own flours or silky blended soups. I ate out a lot more. Bottom line, start a Vitamix fund. Aim for the less expensive reconditioned Vitamixes if need be! Use my link to get free shipping on a new Vitamix.
8. Do Your Best! Perfection is Not the Goal.
People sometimes think that eating vegan is all about perfection. Restriction. Removing joy. Well I am here to say that vegan living is exactly the opposite of all that. Adding more vegan meals to your diet is all about self love. Embracing foods you love. Adding joy to every meal.
Kristy of Keepin' it Kind says,
"Veganism isn't about perfection. It's about compassion- compassion for the animals, the earth, and yourself. If you make a mistake, remember to be compassionate with yourself. Don't beat yourself up about it. Learn from it and move forward."
..Kristy also has an amazing book called "But I Could Never Go Vegan!"
Hanging with Jason, Whitney and Kristy last winter at Kristy's book launch signing..
9. Sleep Well.
Sleep is ridiculously important, for everyone. For vegan options, there are plenty of super cozy synthetic down comforters and pillows on the market today. And natural memory foam mattresses. I personally adore my Essentia natural memory foam mattress and pillows. You do not need feathers to feel like a prince or princess as you enter dreamland each night.
And sleeping well means going to sleep with a smile on your face. Positive thoughts for happy dreams and restorative sleep. "Before I fall asleep at night, I think of three positive things that happened that day. It leaves me with a peaceful, positive feeling just as I drift off." - Sus D, Rough Measures
10. Take Your B12.
Nutritionally, vitamin B12 is the only nutrient that vegans cannot find in plant-based foods. Many foods like non-dairy milks are fortified, so you are probably getting it somewhere. But just in case, take a B12 supplement daily - or every other day or so. I only take one about once or twice a week and I have never been deficient in vitamin B12 - after numerous blood tests over the years. Buy a B12 supplement.
Other Nutrients to Watch. Just like I have never been deficient in B12, I have also never been deficient in iron. But I was low in vitamin D once. So, other nutrients to make sure you are getting enough of: vitamins D and E, iron, B12 (above) and zinc, among others. Just like non-vegans - it is a good idea to tune into the nutritional values of the foods you are eating - aka read labels, google nutrition facts of produce, I love self.nutritiondata. Ask your doctor to run some blood tests to make sure you are on the right track.
11. Get Out There. Screen Free Adventures.
Plan one day or night a week, probably on a weekend if you work long hours, and plan an adventure. Make an adventure calendar and add something fun, new, exciting or just plain silly-creative to your adventure calendar. Only there is one catch -- the adventure cannot involve technology, devices or staring at a screen.
Bonus points for fresh air, new scenery in your rear view window, fitness-infused adventures or healthy eating fun. If you have some great ideas for me and for your own family - add them here!
And yes, this is a wellness tip for vegans and pretty much everyone who owns a cell phone :)
12. Immune System Boost.
There are plenty of ways to give your immune system a boost when you are vegan. I love a citrus smoothie, or creating a flu-busting tonic by blending coconut water with fresh ginger, lemon juice, cayenne, turmeric, and in extreme cases, raw garlic too. Sometimes I will add in a whole peeled orange or other fruit for added sweetness.
Another great remedy.. "When feeling ill, I reach first for a golden turmeric milk (warm almond milk with turmeric, black pepper and cardamom) I swear by it for getting rid of coughs and colds, but also picking me up if I feel low." - Katherine H, VeggieDesserts
citrus + greens work too!..
13. One Step at a Time.
"Going vegan" can seem overwhelming for the average mainstream-diet eater. But most adult vegans grew up eating animal products. I know I did! I grew up eating meat, milk, eggs... Going vegan was a slow process for me - it took years - not "thirty days" on a vegan diet.
I applaud the people who went vegan "overnight" but that is not the case for most. Most people go vegan, slide back, try again, slide back again until they achieve their ideal way of eating to optimize their health and happiness from the inside out.
"Success comes with small steps towards a larger goal. When you take a step back, just keep looking forward. Don't allow stress to overshadow all the good you are doing. Eating plant based successfully is a process and you can make it if you try." - Sophia T-D, Veggies Don't Bite
14. Wake Up with the Sun.
Starting your day a bit earlier is something to consider for wellness.
"Start waking up earlier and use that time to do something you love, like read, or meditate or even some yoga. It makes waking earlier easier, more enjoyable and no matter what happens throughout the day you took care of yourself." - Sarah H, read more on this tip here: The Seasonal Diet
15. Check In with Your Body Each Morning.
"I highly recommend a daily yoga practice like Ashtanga Yoga, first-thing in the morning, because it allows you to check in with your body and start to notice which foods and habits help your health and which are a detriment." - Stefanie RD, more on yoga here: GreensAgeBlog
16. Get to Know Whole Foods ... no, not just the store.
Start with as many whole foods as you can. Whole foods as in a whole bunch of kale .. not just the mega-amazing grocery store.
Instead of buying only pre-washed and pre-chopped salads, pre-diced veggies and more, try to buy a few whole food items and prep them yourself. You do not have to do this all the time - I certainly do not - but once in a while it is a good idea to look at those raw ingredients in their purest form.
Even better: head to a farmer's market or pick-your-own fruit or veggie farm when possible. I love to visit a pick-your-own apple farm in the fall and a berry farm in summer. Then every time I eat those foods, year round, I remember those trips to the farms.
17. Make Friends and Play Nice.
Make friends in the vegan community for social support! You will feel more connected to plant-based eating when you have friends who have the same meals, situations, challenges and joys.
But also learn to live and eat happily alongside your non-vegan friends and family! This will make you life much easier and feel less closed off. I adore hanging out with my vegan friends as well as my many non-vegan friends and family.
Reach out to meet people on community.findingvegan.com!
18. Have a Fave Fitness Routine.
Get excited about your workout. Ask around to your fitness-savvy friends or online to see what others do each day. Here is one example..
"I run 7 miles 5 days a week, followed by Sun Salutations. At 56, this routine, plus meditation, keeps me healthy and happy!" - Deborah B, Debs Pots
19. For the Kids.
You will gain a sense of pride when you pass on healthy habits to the kids in your life. Encourage children to embrace their natural love of fruits and veggies. More plants is always a good thing.
"Teach you kids and yourself to love fruits and vegetables from an early age on. I try to get as many different types and colored fruits and veggies in each meal." - Vanessa C, Vegan Family Recipes
Set a Good Example for the Next Generation. "I go running, or to my Capoeira class, and I make sure my kids will know where I'm going (rather than saying "somewhere" or just sneaking out like some of my parent friends do). This way I hope to inspire my girls and raise them with the values that sport is something you actively make time for and is important." - Moran Z, VeganHighTechMom
20. Have an Artistic Outlook.
Cooking is a great way to express your creativity. Art, even in the form of cooking, stimulates the imagination and reduces stress, read more on the health benefits of art.
"Cooking is an art. Food is the medium and canvas, but your body is the gallery which your master piece can shine. Produce something you're proud of with the most love and care" - Rebecca P, Strength and Sunshine
21. Veggies Alllll Dayyyyy.
Veggies can squeeze their way into just about any meal or snack. Veggies can be added to smoothies and soups, pasta dishes, sandwiches, breakfast skillets or burritos and more. Veggies are packed with fiber, phytochemicals and even protein - one bunch of broccoli contains 17g protein! Add them all day long.
"I make sure to incorporate some sort of veggie(a lot of times many) at breakfast, lunch and dinner. My snacks almost always contain veggies and my smoothies aren't complete without a green. If we focus on "getting more of the green goods in" than using the deny ourselves tactic, we're more likely to stick to healthy habits." - Emma A, CravingNature
"Eat the rainbow." Try and eat as many colors as you can during the day and you'll feel the benefits. You'll have more energy, your skin will glow, and your waist will likely shrink." - linda M, Veganosity
"Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. The human body is over 50%. Hydration plays a role in mental function, mood & many body processes. Here are some tips & recipes for staying hydrated" - Janelle Y, Get a few hydration tips and recipes: York and Spoon
blended pineapple lemonade..
23. Don't Overwhelm Yourself.
"Don’t think of changing your diet as a diet. Think of it as easing into a healthy lifestyle, and do whatever you can now, regardless of where you’re at in the process." - Molly P, Get more tips from Molly here: Clean Food Dirty Girl
24. Love Your Kitchen Space.
Instead of dreading your kitchen time, look forward to it. Creating a happy space to cook in is key! And as the old saying goes, food prepared with love truly does taste better.
Trinity of Trinity's kitchen says, "Always prepare your food with a big heart full of love. It will taste so much better and nourish you ten fold in return."
25. Vegan Living is About Finding Something Better.
"Vegan diet isn't about giving up something, it is about finding something better. Better for the animals, environment and us.
Eating Plants till we photosynthesize!" - Richa H, VeganRicha
Richa also says, "Wellness: Whenever I need to add balance to my meals, I go back to my roots. Indian food served traditionally in big plates with many small bowls filled with a variety of preparations of beans, pulses and veggies. Many flavors, textures and colors that all work together. The same principles can be applies to everyday food whether in a bowl or a plate. Add many flavors, textures, colors. Play with spices and herbs." Richa is also the author of Vegan Richa's Indian Cooking
26. Fancy Schmancy. Keep Your Kitchen Simple Silly.
When it comes to fancy kitchen appliances, you do not need to go overboard and buy everything in sight at Williams & Sonoma. Keep it simple and infuse your kitchen space with a few essentials. Maybe you do not need a blender, stand mixer AND a food processor. (Trust me, you probably do not need all those things!) Fancy block of expensive knives? Just invest in one super high quality Chef's knife. Keep kitchen gear minimal, when possible. (But yes, for me, my Vitamix is a basic kitchen essential, no matter how fancy it is!)
Natalie says this, "You were born with the best kitchen utensils attached to your arms. Forget the mixing spoon, use your hands. Get messy while you're in the kitchen, get to know your food before you ever even put it on a plate. Less utensils to clean, more fingers to lick!" - Natalie T, Feasting on Fruit And Margaret D of veggieprimer says, "Healthy doesn't have to be hard!"
27. At Work.
Seek out other vegetarian or vegan eaters at work! You can make new friends this way and maybe have someone in the bunch who has your back if those "how do you get your protein?" questions start flying.
28. Travel the Vegan World!
When possible get outside of your hometown and see the world on a vegan adventure. Browse vegan travel blogs like VeganMiam and check out the amazing HappyCow App for vegan restaurants all over the globe. If possible, visit cities like Los Angeles, NYC and San Francisco - all incredibly vegan friendly. Plus, checking out how other cities, states and countries live and eat is an eye-opening education on the big picture of how people feed themselves and what healthy habits really look like.
vegan room service menu in Lucerne Switzerland!.
29. Fashion Fix
So you have mastered your diet and found all the vegan cheeses, restaurants and cookbooks your heart and stomach could ever desire. Well now comes the fashion challenge. Start slowly and learn the basics. No leather, silk, wool, skins or furs. Leather will be the hardest part. But there are TONS of faux leathers and synthetic fabrics in the fashion world today. Stores like Anthropologie, Mod Cloth and BCBG have even embraced faux or vegan leather items.
Try to focus on only buying new items that are vegan, as opposed to tossing all your current wardrobe staples that contain a little leather. You can either wear those out until they are done - or donate them to wardrobe collection charities like GoodWill.
Some of my vegan fashion fix faves.. Moo Shoes, Vaute Couture and more - and check out this list. Also check out my favorite vegan handbag designers.
30. Ask Questions.
If you get "stuck" as a vegan or have problems, questions or just want to chat about things on your mind - start chatting! Luckily, the modern world with the internet, makes this SO easy. Community.findingvegan.com is just one of the lively vegan community boards offering up free chatting and interaction.
31. Go Back to the Beginning.
I have been vegan for over thirteen years. And I have watched the vegan world expand in ways I only ever imagined. It has been magical and inspiring. I am constantly proud of my choice to live a vegan lifestyle. But even still, there are plenty of people out there that may not fully understand veganism or plant-based eating in general. So when interacting with those people I always go back to the beginning of why I went vegan in the first place. The animals.
My childhood pets, local wildlife and animals in books.
The animals I now see on the Internet everyday, on my Facebook feed, both the extremely happy and uplifting stories of rescue and also those heartbreakingly sad stories of horror.
For me, vegan wellness all comes back to what I feel in my heart. Eating a plant-based diet makes 100% sense to my body, mind and soul and I just could never see myself living any other way. Everything else, has fallen into place.
Your turn! What do YOU do to stay well as a vegan or as someone who wants to eat more plant-based recipes? Share your own wellness tips in the comments, I would love to hear them!
THANK YOU to all the amazing vegan bloggers contributed quotes - they are all awesome bloggers part of the FindingVegan.com community.