Tips for Going Vegan
- Inform yourself. Firstly, ensure that your intentions for going vegan are clear in your mind. Are you an ethical vegan? Environmental vegan? Or just determined to get healthy? Whatever the catalyst, don't forget why you're making the change. Research the benefits of going vegan, the conditions of factory farming, the impact of going vegan on the environment - anything that will keep you on your path. Also, make sure that you're aware of the many hidden animal ingredients such as lecithin (which isn't always soy based), gelatine, casein and propolis. There are apps and websites which go through these ingredients (and others) in more detail.
- Do not rely on substitutes. The pull towards fake meats and cheeses will be strong when you first go vegan. However, such products can be extremely unhealthy, packed full of soy, oil, salt and preservatives. Try to stay as whole plant-based as you can, taking your nutrition from lots of colourful fruit and veg. However, this doesn't mean that you should avoid them completely. When eating out, there's no harm in indulging once in a while.
- Find replacements for your favourites. Missing out on a precious food love can be heartbreaking, but it can be equally as fun to explore and find healthy vegan alternatives for all your favourite meals. For example, vegan lasagne can be made with butternut squash and a cheese sauce made from almond milk and spices. And then same cheese sauce can be altered to create a delicious and healthy macaroni cheese. Research is key and don't be afraid to get cooking! When you're vegan, it's harder to rely on frozen/pre-prepared meals and it forces you in to the kitchen. For ideas: check out Sim's Kitchenette.
- Be well equipped. It's very important that when you first go vegan - and are less familiar with ingredients and whether you can eat in certain places - to ensure that you always carry snacks. This will stop you going hungry if you ever find yourself in an area without healthy vegan options. Don't just settle for chips. Pack yourself a small snack box with fresh fruit, dried fruit, pasta salad, snack bars, whatever tickles your fancy.
- Finally, go at your own pace. People will tell you to take it in stages and others will tell you that the best method is to go cold turkey. I suggest you do what seems best for you. Some people (who have lots of willpower when it comes to food - like myself) will find it easy to cut out meat and dairy overnight. Others will need a little more time. If you do choose the latter, start with meat, then dairy, the eggs. Finally, you can choose to cut out other animal products such as honey.