Goodbye, meats and cheeses, hello veggies! Jay Z announced this week on his website that he and wife Beyonce are embarking on a 22-day vegan challenge, adding to the growing number of Hollywood stars who are opting for a plant-based diet. Olivia Wilde, Natalie Portman and Alicia Silverstone are just a few of the stars have also opted for a similar lifestyle. So we checked in with Executive Chef and Paleta Founder, Kelly Boyer, who has prepared farm to table meal deliveries of every variety (vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian) for a host of celebrities including Jaime King, Jamie Lynn Sigler, and Malin Akerman about the pro’s of going vegan—and how you start.
“Whether you are motivated by improving your heart and overall body health or to take a stand against cruelty to animals produced on factory farms, there are so many amazing options available to us now, you’ll hardly notice the difference,” Boyer tells InStyle.com exclusively. “I often create whole holiday spreads for my family with just one animal protein option and the rest are vegan. And…I keep it a secret until the end of the meal. Guests are generally shocked because they didn’t notice a thing, just enjoyed a beautiful spread of whole grains and rich produce.”
Interested in going vegan? Here are 4 steps to ease into the lifestyle:
1. Start by looking at what you can buy for your home.
Most grocery stores now have entire vegan sections that can offer you “meat” and “dairy” substitutes that so closely resemble the “real thing” so you’ll be able to satisfy any of those cravings, Boyer says. You can do so much research on-line as well on various product alternatives (the list is truly endless).
2. Start looking for new recipes to make at home.
“There are so many recipes available online that provide alternates for typical animal-based ingredients,” she says. “One thing to be sure to focus on is making sure your nutrients are balanced. Vegans need to make sure they are getting enough protein in their diet. But, don’t forget…vegetables have a lot of protein, too! A vegan diet is easily supplemented by legumes, nuts, and tofu (but please only eat organic, non-gmo soy products!).”
3. Remember, you can still dine out!
“It’s been years since I’ve been in a restaurant that did not offer at least a few vegan options,” she said. “And, if they don’t call out an item as vegan, chefs are very often happy to accommodate a request to replace butter with olive oil, or to keep the cheese off the plate. Just ask and don’t be shy! And guess what…french fries are vegan…so you never ever have to say goodbye to those favorites.”
4. Don’t go cold turkey.
“My best recommendation is to start out slow!” says Boyer. “Try a vegetarian lifestyle for a few weeks which does allow dairy.Ease yourself into it. You’ll certainly be motivated by how good you are feeling!”
Plus, see Beyonce and Jay Z’s best onstage moments!