Howdy and welcome! Whether you’re trying Veganuary, simply cutting down on meat and dairy, or thinking of becoming vegan, you are so welcome here. In this post you’ll discover the ten things that I think are invaluable when it it comes to going vegan for beginners!
If you’d said to me five years ago that one day I’d be vegan, I would have snorted into my bacon. I loved meat and thought that a high-meat-and-eggs-diet was super healthy; I couldn’t imagine maintaining my high protein diet without animal products.
I can’t remember what first prompted me to try and quit animal products; from memory it was something to do with watching videos about animal agriculture and how awful the treatment was, combined with reading about the impact on the planet from consuming animals.
Anyway, I decided to give it up, spent two weeks eating courgetti mixed with sun dried tomatoes, and threw in the towel when I lost five pounds in the first fortnight- I couldn’t see how it was sustainable.
Second time around I spent a couple of weeks in agony as my digestive system struggled to cope with the change, and quit my attempt again.
The third time I meant business. I researched nutrition and convenient vegan products; I made sure that I knew where to get hold of vegan versions of everything I usually ate and I made sure that the macronutrients I was consuming were essentially the same as before.
Going vegan wasn’t an easy process for me and I think it can take a lot of determination; there are some things that are really important for beginner vegans to have!
A vegan friend
I was very lucky to have a friend who had gone vegan before me, and paved the way through the thick jungle of vegan confusion. Was I supposed to only eat flowers now?
Plain crisps were vegan but junk food, could I still have them? Did I have to wear t-shirts with avocados on and make the V-sign at fellow vegans? Why would anyone eat the vegan version of frankfurters?
Turns out the answers were no, yes, no, and because they are delicious. Anyway, having a vegan friend for support when everyone around you thinks you’re barking mad (geddit) will be a huge help, especially during the first few months.
A sense of humor
Get ready to practise your fake laugh, cos there are gonna be a whoooole lot of jokes coming your way and not one of them will be original. Still, try to remember that veganism seems totally nuts to most people and that people are just trying to make light of a fairly awkward and pretty important subject.
Jump down from your high horse- (remember vegans aren’t supposed to ride 😉) – and don’t be unapproachable. You might be the cool vegan that people come to for help if they decide to cut down on animal products themselves.
The key to my success. I need treats, I tell you- treats that make me forget I’m vegan. There are some seriously scrumptious vegan chocolates and hampers that aren’t eight-thousand per cent cocoa, ideal for those who want to satisfy a sweet tooth in an ethical way!
A Nutrition App (Like Cronometer)
If you’re worried about not getting the nutrition you need, grab the Cronometer nurition app and simply pop in what you’re eating to get a full breakdown of the nutrients and macros that you’re consuming each day.
Vegan dessert cookbooks
I am a bit lover of desserts; preferably really thick and chocolatey and slathered with frosting. Before going vegan I grabbed myself a a couple of vegan dessert books so that I could have the treats I wanted and not feel deprived and martyr-y. No-one likes a martyr-y vegan.
A Tofu Press
When I started eating tofu I was like WHY, WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THIS TO THEMSELVES? Anything I made with tofu was like eating tasteless, scrambled, watery eggs.
Then I tried a tofu press and: *holy music, clouds part to reveal sun beams and angels*. A tofu press gets rid of the water from a block of tofu so that it’s ready to get firm and juicy and soak up loads of delicious marinade. Just trust me and get one.
A sense of purpose
If you experience side effects during transition to veganism like I did, it is only a heck-strong sense of purpose (and world-class stubbornness) that will stop you quitting. Bodies don’t like huge changes in diet after 28 years, whatever they are, and mine made this perfectly clear by sending me to the bathroom every fifteen minutes for the first fortnight after transition.
It was not fun. My stomach hurt, a lot.
I tried to remember why I was doing it, adjusted my diet to be as close nutritionally to what I’d had before, and carried on. After two weeks I was right as rain.
I’m not a drinker, but if I was I would be really ticked off if I’d given up most chocolate, most ice cream, burgers, hot dogs, frosting and cheese and then had to say goodbye to a glass of un-wine-ding at the end of the day.
There are plenty of vegan alcohol options that may be good to stock up on if you want to treat yourself for your efforts. (Also, there are so many vegan companies now that you won’t have to give up anything that I mentioned above- yay!)
Easy vegan cookbooks
It’s good for you to cook from scratch and it’s great for animals if you don’t kill them and put them in your meal! So stack some of the best vegan cookbooks on your kitchen shelf for vegan meal inspiration that isn’t avocado on toast.
Not giving a Hoot
I flicked through a brilliant book recently. It’s called The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, and if you’re the sort of person who finds other people’s opinions and judgement quite disheartening, I thoroughly recommend you read it.
I’m not the kind of person to give many hoots about what other people think, hence going vegan. It is important to only give a hoot about important things.
Important things include caring for other people, and our health, and animals. Not-important things include convincing your neighbour’s sister that there is protein in lentils. Y’all get me?
If you need some more help with giving fewer hoots, check out the book.I hope this guide on hacks to make going vegan easier has been helpful!