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How do I start following a vegan diet?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Are you ready to make meat disappear from your diet? Go vegan the right way with Dr. Oz's dos and don'ts. Learn which foods to avoid, when to add vitamin supplements and more!
Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics

Education is the key to success. Consider meeting with a registered dietitian specializing in vegetarian diets to help you get started. Invest in some good vegetarian cookbooks to get ideas. You can either start by replacing plant based proteins at some meals/week and then gradually easing into a completely vegan diet or do it all at once.

How to get started is always the million dollar question for a lot of issues. It really depends on your personality and your resources. I like to remind my clients that big changes in their habits lead to big changes in their health, and small changes lead to smaller changes in health. That said, know yourself, and if you need to go slower, by all means, go at a pace that is workable for you. Start adding in more produce to your meals, and eventually it will crowd out the meat and dairy.

If possible, I recommend working with someone certified in plant-based nutrition, because it's all too common for folks to want to help animals and stop eating them. They don't have much of a plan beyond what they are removing from their plates, and too often what is left is still junk food. There are lots of new cookbooks, and anything from Forks Over Knives will have great healthy, delicious recipes. Engine 2 is another great resource. fatfreevegan.com has wonderful recipes too. 
Kathy Freston
Nutrition & Dietetics
One thing about breaking your animal product addiction (that is less true of some other addictions) is that it's okay to lean into a vegan diet -- you don't have to beat yourself up over small backsliding, and you don't have to go (ahem) cold turkey right away. Many people have success with Mark Bittman's "Vegan until 6," and then they progressively move to "Vegan 24/7." Some start with Meatless Mondays, and then move to three days per week. Before they know it, they're vegan all the time. I encourage people who can't (or don't want to) adopt a completely vegan diet all at once to "lean into it" in whatever way makes the most sense for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.