Are you considering going vegan but you don’t know where to start? I’ve added 8 beginner vegan tips to help you transition along with a few resources to plan ahead. Read the article below to learn them and start your vegan journey on the right foot!
What is veganism?
“Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose.” – The Vegan Society
There are varying levels of being vegan. A vegan diet does not include any animal products. This includes all types of meat (chicken, seafood, beef, pork, etc.), dairy products, eggs, honey, gelatin, etc. Also, this can include avoiding animal-derived products such as wool, silk, fur, leather, or any products that have been tested on animals (i.e. cosmetic or household).
Why go vegan?
Knowing your “Why” is important when you’re making changes in your life or setting new goals. Write it down and hold on to it. If you can’t come up with a good reason then chances are you’re not going to stick to it. There are three main reasons people adopt a vegan lifestyle. Health, environmental, and ethical reasons. Adopting a vegan lifestyle is a personal decision that no one can decide for you. One reason I became vegan is due to seeing so many people in my community in pain and suffering from food-related illnesses. Click here to learn more about my vegan journey.
What do vegans eat?
“How can you live without cheese, eggs, and meat”. I hear this so much from the people I meet. Or, “all you eat are salads, right”. My favorite one is “how do you get your protein?”.
There are so many delicious options for you to eat on a vegan diet. I’ve compiled an entire grocery list + baking substitutions of what to buy at the grocery store. Just click the image below!
One of the most beautiful things about being vegan is that you can make many of your favorite meals right at home vs just eating highly processed food. Also, it is full of fiber and protein. Vegan meals mainly consist of the following:
- Fruits & Veggies
- Whole Grains
- Nuts and Seeds
- Dairy-Free Milk
- Meat Substitutes
- Dairy-Free Cheese
- Desserts & Pastries
8 Steps to help transition to a vegan lifestyle
1. Do Your Research
I believe educating yourself before transitioning is vital. I read articles, watched documentaries, found great recipes, and created a list of restaurants with vegan options before transitioning. This was great as it helped me gain more valuable reasons for becoming vegan. Recently, I took a vegan cooking class to learn more about vegan cooking and I loved it. I learned so many tips. Check online to see if there are any vegan cooking classes near you.
2. Meal Plan
“You’re worthy of taking time out of your schedule to do something that will benefit you.” – Shana
When I first became vegan I did not plan and that made maintaining my new lifestyle very challenging at times. Therefore I say this with love…”No excuses here just do it.” Find recipes you like that are quick and easy to prepare and make them on your day off. Make a grocery list of pantry staples, fresh produce, and frozen items to purchase. If a week is too much for you then start by just meal planning for a few days and adjust as you go along. Check out some vegan blogs, use Pinterest and start experimenting. Meal planning can save you lots of time, money, and stress. Substitute your favorite animal-based products for vegan substitutes. Check out the vegan meats at your local grocery stores and try a few brands and keep trying until you find a vegan cheese and mock meat brands that work best for you.
Pro tip: If you have not fully transitioned into a vegan diet then week by week eliminate one animal-based product a day. Example, instead of using cow’s milk use non-dairy milk such as almond or oat milk.
3. Check-in with your doctor
6 months into my vegan journey I got a check-up at my doctor’s office to get my blood levels checked. It’s so important to know if you’re body is deficient. You don’t have to do this but I strongly recommend it.
It is recommended to take a B12 supplement on a vegan diet. B12 comes from the soil through harvesting. However, by the time food gets to our plate, it has been heavily processed, sanitized, and more. Therefore, we don’t get as much B12 as non-vegans. Non-vegans get their B12 from animals who are eating the soil. It’s important that you supplement accordingly to what is best for your body. I take a multi-vitamin that includes B12. Also, I take probiotics for gut health.
5. How to be vegan in a non-vegan world
It’s really important to plan. When I know I’m going to be in an environment (e.g. events, dinners) that are non-vegan friendly I ensure that I am mentally prepared. That way I can handle potentially not having any good vegan options on the menu or any awkward tension from others that do not understand what’s it’s like to be vegan. If I’m going to a restaurant then I review the menu ahead of time to see if have any vegan options or contact the restaurant to ask more questions if there is any confusion. If no options are available then I just eat before I go or after. If there are one or two options then I bring a lemon to make my salad dressing or avocado to add it to something. Always keep a snack in your bag. Especially, if you will be out for several hours. Another option is to meal prep and take your food with you. Use websites like Happycow.net to find vegan restaurant options near you. Want to save $$$ on food? Try Imperfectproduce.com or Thrive Market. Again, remember to take it one day at a time.
Protip: I HIGHLY recommend finding and getting healthy snacks & all superfoods at Thrive Market. They beat the prices of all health food stores (and if you use my link you get 25% off your first purchase and a FREE 30-day trial). Thrive Market has the best prices and quality 🙂 Click here to check them out.
6. Find a community
There are so many groups online and even in-person that support the vegan movement. There are a ton of Facebook groups, vegan festivals, and more in-person events. Go to meetup.com or eventbrite.com to find an event near you. If you’re looking for a Facebook group to join then check out my Facebook group by clicking here. It’s available for people interested in transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. We share recipes, vegan tips, and wellness information.
7. Start a food journal
It may be helpful to stay on top of how you feel physically and emotionally. Journal your meals and ask yourself how each meal made you feel. This can help you get to the root of any unknown issues. Such as acne, stress, bloating, etc. Simply start by journaling in the notes app on your smartphone.
8. Take it slow
You don’t have to do everything all at once. Take your time and do what works best for you. Start with one habit at a time. Maybe create one goal a month and implement it into your daily schedule. Ex., research for 30 days and then after that is complete start a new goal to meal plan for the next 30 days. The point is that it’s perfectly fine to take it slow and proceed at your own pace. Being vegan is not a miracle diet it’s a lifestyle. It’s important to remember that our bodies are all unique so don’t compare yourself to others. I hope you found these tips helpful.
Here are some additional resources:
- UN Climate Report
- Reducing Food’s Impact
- Food Additives
- Cruelty-Free Brands
- The Vegan Society
- What the Health*
- Forks Over Knives*
Note: *Documentaries available on Netflix