I come across many people that are vegan, or are currently transitioning.
It’s so interesting to hear the stories about how and why they went vegan. Everyone is a little different! Some go from meat-eater to complete vegan overnight, others make the change over several months.
Sometimes we need a period of time to get our head around the new lifestyle, plan out how it will work for us, and just learn about what veganism is and what we’re going to eat. It can help us find the joy in veganism and stay cruelty-free in the long-term.
It’s easy to get stuck in the “I want to go vegan but don’t know where to start” phase though. Can you relate? This post may help! You can tick off each point before you dive right into veganism, feeling more prepared and motivated to get stuck in.
Ensure You Know What Veganism Is
What is your knowledge around the subject? If all you know is that vegans don’t eat animals products, and tofu sounds like a foreign language, you probably need to do a little more digging. Veganism isn’t about perfection, but we do avoid animal exploitation wherever possible. This includes meat, fish, dairy, eggs, certain e-numbers, harmful materials such as leather and wool, as well as a host more. Things we love to eat are fruit, veggies, beans, lentils, nuts, staples such as pasta and rice, and dairy/meat substitutes like plant-based milk, chocolate, tofu and tempeh.
This isn’t to put you off! Going vegan is easy, and you can transition slowly. That’s why the lifestyle is growing at such a rapid pace. As a vegan, I personally eat a much wider variety of foods now than I did as a vegetarian or meat-eater. It was all cheese, eggs and roast dinners before – not the healthiest or most diverse! It’s good to have a base understanding of what to eat, avoid and why. You may be interested in these posts:
Write Down Why You Want To Go Vegan
There are so many good reasons to go vegan, but most people either want to transition due to animal cruelty, health reasons, or the effect on the environment. Perhaps all three resonate with you?
I went vegan for the animals, but around a year ago I started to eat a more healthy vegan diet and felt so much better for it. I try to regularly watch vegan documentaries and keep in touch with vegan news online, as it helps me to keep connected to both the health benefits, and compassion towards farm animals.
Choose your primary reason for wanting to opt into a vegan lifestyle. Write down now what veganism will do for you, how it will make you feel, and how it will help you to achieve your goals (compassion, weight loss etc). If relevant, describe the positive impact you’ll be having on animals and the world around you. Keep this safe so that you can regularly remind yourself of why you’re doing this. It can also help to have visual reminders such as photos or videos, that represent your reasoning or where you want to be. It will also encourage you to go fully vegan sooner, rather than procrastinate at the stage you’re at now.
Decide How You Want To Eat
This point ties in nicely with WHY you want to go vegan.
If you’re going vegan for health reasons or weight loss, you probably don’t want to pack your freezer full of veggie nuggets and non-dairy ice cream. Except for the occasional treat, of course! Your diet will fit in more with a plant-based plan, rather than standard vegan fare. You will want to familiarise yourself with ingredients such as tofu, tempeh and tahini so that you can create healthy meals at home. Look up how you can make your favourite meals healthy and vegan. For example, did you know you can make plant-based meaty tacos using walnuts? I have a Pinterest board full of Healthy Plant-Based recipes! Check it out for inspiration.
If you’re going vegan for the animals and still want to have creature comforts such as meaty burgers and store-bought cheese, you can easily find what you need at the supermarket. Get yourself comfortable around the vegetarian freezer section, free from aisle and vegan ingredients. Being vegan has never been easier! You can find ready meals, Magnums, mozzarella – you can even create your own pizza at Asda! PS. It tastes really good.
It’s always good to know what you’ll be eating, and where you’ll be buying it from. Start buying these foods now! It will make the transition so much easier.
Veganize Your Favourite Meals
Did you know that most of us make the same 5-7 meals at home on rotation? It seems kind of restrictive when you think about it! But we all love having easy, go-to meals when we’ve had a long day or don’t want to experiment with something new.
What are your meals? Have a think about what you’ve eaten at home in the last month. What can you do to make them vegan? Some may be easier than others, such as switching out beef for veggie mince in a spaghetti bolognese. If you’re stuck, google it – there’s a solution for everything now and lots of fantastic meal and recipes sites out there.
When you’re comfortable cooking them vegan, moving over to vegan completely will be a breeze, as you’ll already have meals you can turn to rather than starting from scratch.
Add New Foods In
Having a wide variety of foods in our diet not only makes life more interesting, but it gives us better all-round nutrition too. There are many foods that people don’t eat before they go vegan, even though they’re delicious! Some include: houmous, avocado, tofu, tempeh, seitan, quinoa, lentils, and tahini. Have you tried them?
Go to your local large supermarket and browse the ‘free from’ and vegetarian aisles. You should also go down the canned and whole foods aisle as if you’re visiting a brand new store. What can you see that’s vegan and appealing? Buy a few new things every time you go and experiment using them. You may not like them all, but there will definitely be many new foods you can get into your body. Have fun with it!
Having people around you is key! Telling family and friends what you’re planning on doing is a good idea, so that you’re not just springing it on them. When you explain, stay calm, non-patronising and don’t expect them to go vegan with you. Simply set a good example! Not everyone will agree with you going vegan, as there are so many myths and preconceptions about the lifestyle. That’s ok, you have to do what is right for YOU.
If you don’t know anybody else in real life that is vegan, utilise the online community! Most vegans are more than excited to help you transition and answer questions, and there are also Facebook groups and pages (like Learner Vegan!) to support you as a new vegan. I actually didn’t know any other vegans when I first went vegan 6 years ago. But through joining online communities, I now have friends and acquaintances that I know I can turn to online and meet up with. It’s reassuring to know there are people living the same lifestyle as me.
We actually have a private Facebook Group where you can ask questions, share insight and connect with other new vegans. No judgement, only positivity!
Try putting your town/county/area + ‘vegans’ (eg. Stafford vegans) into Google and/or Facebook to see where your local vegans are hanging out. Introduce yourself and get talking. It’s a great opportunity to find out where vegan food is sold, and make new friends too.
If face-to-face socialising is more your thing, many of these groups hold meals, events and meet-ups in person too. The number of vegan fairs held in the UK is also growing rapidly. People arrange lift shares, meetups and volunteering to them. You can find at least one every month!
This one isn’t essential, but if you’re unsure about what vegans eat, and you’re still eating a lot of meat and fish, it can certainly help. Vegetarian is the step before veganism for a lot of people, and gives you a transition period to learn about meat replacements, nutrition and the animal industries. If you do choose to go vegetarian first, remember not to just increase your reliance on cheese and eggs. This could make it harder to go fully vegan and will do your health no good! Instead, go vegetarian with an emphasis on looking for vegan foods too.
Get yourself down to the vegetarian fridge and freezer section to replace your meat and fish. Find out what brands and items you like the taste of – we’re all different! Once you’ve done this, I’d recommend researching the egg and dairy industries to familiarise yourself with why people go from vegetarian to vegan. You can also check out my post ‘Making The Leap From Vegetarian To Vegan‘ to help you make that final step.
How many of these are you already confident with?
If it’s all of them, what are you waiting for? Reach out and let’s get you vegan!
If you need more tailored support, I also offer personal coaching! It’s completely bespoke, affordable and enables you to transition with ease. Coaching can help with unique questions and issues, motivation, and save time researching the internet for answers. Find out more!