9 Tips To Start Going Vegan
Updated: Dec 4, 2019
So you want to go vegan - great! There are so many reasons to change to a vegan diet, whether it's for ethical reasons, the environment, or for a healthier lifestyle. However, changing up your diet can be a huge adjustment, especially if you've regularly eaten meat for your entire life. Going vegan is easier said than done and can end up being a bigger task than you might imagine - but don't be disheartened! If you've got the drive to commit to going vegan, you'll get there, it just might not happen overnight - so we've put together some tips to help to go vegan.
#1: Take it at your own pace
Some people might want to just make an overnight change, and that's great! But there's nothing wrong with taking it slow and this could likely mean that you're more likely to stick to the diet. You could just take it one meal at a time, starting out by having all vegan breakfasts and working up to every meal and snacks. Or you could go vegetarian first by cutting out meat and fish, and then when you're more comfortable you could cut out dairy later.
There's a big mental shift when going vegan. You want cooking vegan meals to feel natural, so when you're peckish you opt for something vegan without a second thought. If you've been a meat eater your whole life it might take some time to completely develop a new eating habit. If you're finding it difficult to cut out so many foods all at once, don't worry, take it at your own pace and change your habits at a rate that feels comfortable.
#2: Veganise your favourite meals
You don't want going vegan to feel restrictive, or like it means you have to cut out all your favourite things. Do some research and find vegan versions of your favourites! If you love mac and cheese, make an alternative with plant milk and yeast flakes. If you love the heartiness of meat, try vegan synthetic meats or jackfruit. If you love a shepherd's pie on a Sunday, try making a version with lentils. Find a way you can still eat your faves!
#3: Fill yourself up
If you're used to cooking with meat, often those kinds of meals have meat at the centre and relies on it to be the most filling part. A mistake people can make is making the same meal just without the meat - so you end up with essentially a meal of side dishes and come away not feeling very satisfied. Make sure you're making meals that will really fill you up, with things like chickpeas, lentils, beans, and tofu. This has the added benefit of making sure you're eating enough protein, as all these filling ingredients are great protein sources!
#4: Feel free to supplement
When you go vegan, you might want to try to get all your nutrients solely from your food - which is a great goal! However, it might take some time to research where you can get all your nutrients and create recipes to make sure you're eating them regularly. Or maybe you can't get your hands on what you need - some plant milk brands fortify their product with hard to get nutrients like B12, but maybe they're out of your budget or you can't find anywhere that sells them. Feel free to take supplements! A B12 supplement is a great idea. Take a look at your diet and think about what you might be missing - if you're low on something it might not leave you feeling great which may make you want to give up on your vegan journey. Just taking a daily supplement with your breakfast could be a pretty simple solution!
#5: Look for ingredient swaps
A simple way to start cooking vegan meals is to just swap out meat/dairy ingredients for vegan versions.
If you want a cheesy flavour, add yeast flakes. If you want a creamy texture, try coconut cream. This can be a great way to keep cooking and not feel like you have to start from scratch and learn all entirely new recipes - just take what you already know and swap
out some vegan alternatives!
#6: Keep your kitchen stocked
Try to stock up on some essentials that you'll be using all the time, like chickpeas and lentils, oats if you have them for breakfast, and various herbs and spices. Make going vegan as easy for yourself as possible - always have ingredients to hand! If you're hungry and haven't got a meal planned it can be easy to just make something non-vegan that feels like less hassle. By having a well-stocked kitchen, you'll make it easier to cook without planning in advance by just using what you have.
#7: Follow some vegan influencers
Following vegans online can be a great way to find inspiration and motivation. Follow instagrammers, bloggers, youtubers, subscribe to vegan magazines - whatever way you prefer to get your content, find some vegans to follow! They'll regularly share with you what they're cooking and eating, sharing tips or delicious meals that will get you excited to cook and inspire you to try new vegan options.
#8: Start collecting recipes
Find a way to start collecting the new vegan recipes that you love. You could start a pinterest board or keep a notebook or scrapbook. When you try a new vegan recipe or veganise your favourite non-vegan meal, keep that recipe somewhere so you can try it again and again, and add notes on how you might adapt the recipe to suit your tastes. It's a great idea to keep track of recipes somewhere so that when you plan your meals for the week, or if you're hungry and need a quick idea of what to make, you have somewhere to turn to for tried and tested vegan meals you love.
#9: Try new things!
Remember to have fun with it! Find the fun in cooking, put on some music and make yourself a nice drink and enjoy the process. Or make a range of new dishes and invite some friends round to try them out! Get out of your comfort zone with new ingredients and new meals, enjoy the process of finding new things to try and expanding your cooking skills. Hopefully you'll find some new favourite totally vegan foods!