Going vegan can be a daunting process. People may admire others that do it but believe they never could. Thankfully veganism is a fast-growing lifestyle choice and there are lots of people who have done it before you, and many people that will do it after you. If you’re looking to switch to a vegan lifestyle, here are some tips to get you started.
12 Helpful Tips For Transitioning to Veganism
1. Find Local Vegan Eatery Hotspots
Connect with vegans in your area for first-hand advice and experience. Often there are community Facebook groups that will have tons of useful information on your local area. Alternatively, use the Happy Cow app to point you in the direction of vegan friendly restaurants and cafes,
2. Familiarize Yourself With Ordering Out
Over time, you will inevitably gain experience and become more informed of exactly what you can and can’t eat from take-outs, restaurant chains and eateries. Thankfully, a lot of the hard work has been done by many vegans before you, and there are useful online guides to help you out. If you’re unsure about a menu item, ask for allergen advice (all food-sellers are required to have this) and double-check with staff about ingredients.
3. Invest In A Good Cookbook
If experimenting in the kitchen and whipping up a batch of cookies to-taste isn’t your thing, there are millions of tried and tested recipes to give you a helping hand. Individual recipes can be found on blogs, Youtube and Instagram. Even better, invest in a cookbook for a collection of delicious recipes right at your fingertips.
4. Veganize Your Go-To Meals
Going vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up your favourite meals. Plant-based ingredients can be used in place of animal products to veganize just about any dish, or make them even better than the original. See 8 super easy food swaps and 10 veganized comfort foods for some dinner inspiration.
5. Download And Use Apps
Happy Cow, Cruelty-Free Cutter Bunny-Free Barnivore Is It Vegan and E-Numbers guides, are just a few of the apps that make it easy to ditch the animal products. There are also plenty of recipe apps, some free and some paid which are worth investing in. Apps can really optimise a transition to veganism and make a vegan lifestyle a whole lot easier and more convenient.
6. Get Advice On Your Nutritional and Supplementation Needs
From Vitamin B12, healthy fats, zinc and more, it is advisable to check your bloods with a registered professional to ensure you are not deficient in anything, meat-eaters included. However, if you are taking a supplement or multivitamin pill, be wary that the casing of your supplement may not be vegan-friendly. It’s strongly recommended that vegans take B12 supplements, although it is also possible to get this vitamin from fortified foods.
7. Ensure You Consume Sufficient Calories
Everyone has different daily calorie requirements. Therefore, what other people eat is going to be different to what you eat. Height, weight, stress, genetics, build and energy expenditure are all factors of an individual’s complex metabolism. When going vegan, especially if you’re pursuing a wholefood plant-based diet, it’s likely that your meals will be lower in calories than they were before even if the portion sizes look the same. To make sure you’re getting enough calories it might be helpful to keep track of what you’re eating and keep plenty of snacks around so you don’t get too hungry.
8. Understand Allergen Warnings
“May contain traces of […]” is mostly just a way that companies cover themselves. Just because something is produced in the same facility as a milk chocolate bar, does not mean it contains any actual animal products. However, if you do have allergies to any animal products you should be aware of these labels.
9. Find Accidentally Vegan Products
Alongside a selection of intentionally vegan products, every country has mainstream products that are accidentally vegan too. Products such as certain flavours of Doritos, Oreos, Sour Patch Kids, potato chips, crackers, muesli bars and candy can actually be vegan without being labelled as such. A quick read of ingredients can reveal some exciting finds, or barcode scanner apps on your phone can help you out.
10. Don’t Worry About Slip-ups
Not everyone can be 100% perfect the whole time, and that is ay-okay! If you make a mistake, learning from it is what counts, and don’t get too hung up over small things. At the end of the day, if your intentions and heart is in the right place, your actions will eventually align. Remember that practicality isn’t always a reality, be prepared for compromise and forward-thinking.