Before going vegan, as I was transitioning, I would eat completely vegan at home and just be a social non-vegan. Then one day I did a 30 day “vegan challenge” with my sister. Ever since then I decided to stick with it, because it was not half as hard as I thought it was going to be! At first, I was often confused and would look to other vegans for tips. Now I have it (pretty much) mastered and want to share what I’ve learned with all of you. It is honestly the best decision I’ve ever made. And is so much easier then I ever expected!
I’ve learned a lot through my journey, and have had to figure out the vegan world mostly all on my on since I do not really have any vegan friends I hang out with on a daily basis. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, and am hoping that through my journey and process of going vegan, I can help some of you through your transition and give you some of my best tips! What tips do you have for transitioning to a vegan lifestyle?
11 Tips For Going Vegan
1. Know the reason why your going vegan
If you know the reasons why you are going vegan then you will be way more likely to stick to it. Is it because you don’t agree with animal cruelty or the exploitation of animals? Because of the environment, and the negative impact eating animal products have on our planet? Or maybe because of health reasons.
Figure out the reasons why you want to go vegan, and keep these in mind throughout your transition. If you forget the reason why, then you are less likely to stick with it.
2. Vegan staples
Make sure you know and have all your vegan staples in your house. If you want to go vegan, but don’t have the supplies, then it will be difficult to stick with it. I love stalking up on staples such as beans, lentils, potatoes, rice, quinoa, fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, pasta, nuts/seeeds (especially hemp seeds and chia seeds), nutritional yeast, vegan milks, vegan yogurts, cereals, and tempeh or tofu.
I’ve found that a cheaper way to stalk up on all of my essentials (and almost everything I listed above) is by using Thrive Market. I love their “vegan section” as it makes it so easy to browse through everything that is vegan, and everything is at a cheaper price! Best of all they deliver it straight to your door, and I don’t know about you, but I love getting things in the mail 🙂 Thrive market offers a special discount giving you 20% off your first three orders + free shipping which is such a good deal. Who doesn’t want to save money while also being healthy?
3. Call ahead before going to a non vegan restaurant
If you are going to be going out to eat at a restaurant and are not sure if they will have any vegan options for you, it’s best to email or call them beforehand and ask. Restaurants are always so helpful, and you will feel a lot better going to a new restaurant knowing they will have something for you to eat. Just explain to them what vegan is, and that you do not consume any animal by-products whatsoever. If they do not have anything on the menu, they can usually modify some dishes, or make something special for you. Don’t be scared to ask!
4. Use Happy Cow
This app has been life changing for me! I find this app and website especially useful while traveling. It is basically like the Yelp app but solely for vegan/vegetarian restaurants, stores and more. They don’t always have every place in every city that is vegan or serves vegan food, but it is only growing, and has been so helpful for me especially with international travel. I love finding new places to eat through this app. I also love contributing my own reviews and submitting new reviews to restaurants they don’t have on there yet to help out my fellow veggie friends 😉 I’ve found some of my favorite vegan restaurants around the world by using this app.
5. Vegan alternatives & eating abundantly
When I first went vegan, I found it very important and helpful to eat abundantly, and also to be open to all of the vegan alternatives there are to offer these days. Vegan alternatives such as vegan “meats”, vegan yogurts, vegan cheeses, vegan ice creams and vegan chips are great for transitioning to your new plant based lifestyle. By eating these vegan alternatives you won’t feel like you are missing out on anything. And it will help make your new lifestyle a lot easier to adapt.
When you first go vegan it is important to eat a wide variety of food and also to eat plenty of it. Since vegan foods are not as calorie dense as animal product foods, it is okay (and very important) to eat more food then you feel you normally would. Listen to your body and eat when you are hungry + stop when you are full.
6. Educate yourself
Educate yourself on the vegan lifestyle by watching documentaries, reading books and by just doing general research online. This will make you more knowledgable about the vegan lifestyle and why you should stick with it. Becoming more educated on the topic will also be very useful if anyone is ever curious about the vegan lifestyle and asks you questions about it.
A few of my favorites books are:
7. Going at your own pace & making mistakes
When going vegan it is important to go at your own pace. Whether you transition into a vegan lifestyle slowly by just cutting one thing out at a time, or by going cold turkey (cold tofurkey??). Do whatever you feel most comfortable with, and do what you can stick with. If you like a bit of a challenge, then try doing a 30 day challenge like I did, and just stick with it afterwards!
In the beginning of your new vegan lifestyle you might accidentally consume something that is not vegan (I still do this every now and then). It is okay! Just ask yourself why it happened and how you can learn from this for the future.
Move slowly if need be, and transition at your own pace. Don’t let what anyone else is doing or saying affect you. This is your lifestyle and your choices, and it’s amazing that you are making this conscious decision to change your lifestyle for the better in the first place! So if you make mistakes, it’s okay. And if you have a hard time with certain transitions, that’s fine as well! We are all on a journey and nobody is perfect, so do what makes the most sense to you and most importantly do what you want and think is right.
I’m not the hugest advocate on taking supplements, (as I think its best to get your vitamins and minerals from foods and herbs). But, there is one supplement I do recommend and take personally regularly.
B12 is extremely important to take whether your vegan or not. I think everybody should be taking this vitamin (especially as you age) and not enough people do. Your body cannot make this vitamin, so it is essential that you get it from an external source.
B12, also known as the “energy vitamin”, helps with our nervous system, blood-cell formation, digestion, and brain function. This vitamin also helps prevent anemia and enhance our mood.
I love using this b12 spray. I think it tastes good and is very easy to use. You could also get b12 shots, and some vegan foods are fortified with b12.
9. Don’t let what other people say get to you
Remember, this is your choice! Not something you are being forced to do. If you stick with this and stay positive others will come to understand that this is your life and your personal decision, and obviously you are doing it because you want to and are happy with it! Staying positive when others are being negative about your personal lifestyle choices only makes them look bad.
10. Veganize your favorite meals
You can veganize literally anything these days. I love using Pinterest for inspiration to find fun vegan meals to try, there’s so many options to choose from!
11. Look at what you can have, not what you can’t have
This became my motto when I first became vegan. I really tried to look at the world in the sense of what I could I eat now, rather then focusing on what I felt like I couldn’t have. Having this mindset made the whole transition to becoming vegan feel more positive, which it is! In our modern world it is so so easy to be vegan. There’s a vegan alternative for literally everything. You name it, they have it! Enjoy your new lifestyle and expand your horizons. Options are endless!