My relationship with veganism has had its ups and downs before I finally stuck with it in the spring of 2020. For my full store and how I finally became vegan, click here.
But for those who like me, wanted to go vegan but had no idea where to start, this post is for you. Take it from someone who tried to go vegan or even vegetarian a few times over the years and save yourself some hassle.
How to go Vegan for Beginners:
1. Determine why you want to go vegan
I don’t think the majority of people who choose a vegan lifestyle do it for trivial reasons. There’s usually a stronger motive behind it. If there isn’t, you’re more likely to give it up. There are many benefits to choosing a vegan diet such as better health, animal rights, and environmental concerns.
Whatever reason you choose for going vegan, make sure it’s something you care very strongly for. You’ll be less tempted and quick to give up.
2. Don’t go too quickly
Insert “Don’t quit cold turkey” joke here. It’s extra funny because if you’re going vegan, you are literally quitting turkey. Sorry, I was a comedian in another life.
Anyway, going from eating meat and animal products every day to eating nothing but vegetables can be a bit of a stretch for most. Start slowly and gradually transition. If your reason for going vegan is environmental, maybe start by cutting out cow products as those are the most environmentally damaging. Or maybe start with dairy products.
Cut me or two things out at a time. Learn how to cook, bake, and eat without those products before removing more products. This will also help with the overwhelm of trying to figure out how to cook and what to eat after deciding to go vegan the day before.
3. Substitute, substitute, substitute!
There are vegan options for just about every animal product out there. Such as nut milks, vegan meats, and vegan eggs. I don’t recommend primarily basing your new vegan diet on these items as they can be more costly. But they’re good comfort foods and can help you transition from a non-vegan lifestyle.
4. Check labels
There are a lot of hidden names for animal products and bi-products. Some of the big ones are things like: Casein, Gelatin, Isinglass (found in beers and wines), Whey, and Lactic Acid, to name a few. These ingredients are often used as thickening agents, or for clarifying a product and can be found in meat and dairy-free foods. It’s just always best to double-check.
5. Make your own standards
Some people are primarily vegan but still consume eggs, or honey every now and again. Some people won’t care too much about whether there are eggs in the bread served at a restaurant. And some people are very hard-core and will shame others for not being “perfect” vegans. First, please don’t become someone like that. Treat yourself and everyone else on this journey with kindness.
Even cutting out cow products, or dairy products will make a huge impact on the planet and whatever you’re doing and however much you can do is a huge step in the right direction. So don’t beat yourself up. Define veganism for yourself.
Related reading: Stocking a vegan pantry
Veganism is not a sprint or a destination, rather I believe it is a slow and steady journey. One we may (hopefully) be on for the rest of our lives. So don’t try to do it overnight. Take your time and everything will turn out alright.
Thank you for reading! If you’re new to veganism, I hope this how to vegan guide helped you out a bit. Don’t forget to share this post and follow me on Instagram for daily low waste living inspiration.