Veganuary - Tips For Going Vegan
I'll assume that you're reading this either because you want to go vegan and don't know where to start or have tried going vegan and are finding it a little difficult. Guess what? I was exactly the same about a year and a half ago. And look at me now! A fully-fledged vegan and I want you to join the club. So here's a little post on how I did it.
Feel free to show this to a friend too so you can try it together and keep each other motivated. (Hint: that was a tip).
Tips For Going Vegan - What Worked For Me
1. Have solid reasons as to why you're going vegan (for both your own motivation and for when a non-vegan asks you about your motivates and attempts (and fails) to prove you wrong). This could be ethical reasons, weight loss, clearer skin or general health. For me it was initially to lose weight but soon meant learning the truth about the meat, egg and dairy industries. Now whenever I see an egg, and see it as potential food, by brain reminds me of the videos and photos I've seen of new-born chicks being killed just because they're male (and therefore can't lay eggs). That's only one of my reasons for sticking to veganism but if you want to find out more then I suggest that you watch any of the following: Earthlings, Cowspiracy, Vegucated, Live And Let Live, Forks Over Knives, Speciesism. If you know of any more, comment them below!
2. In my experience, it's best to transition gradually instead of suddenly. I know that going vegan from scratch has worked for some people but I tried going vegan for a week (before even becoming vegetarian) and I managed about 1.5 days. So, I suggest starting with just making your breakfasts vegan. Here are a few staple ideas: cereal (check the ingredients list), porridge, pancakes (I have a recipe here), toast. When it comes to milk for the cereal and porridge, there are SO many vegan options available! My favourite is oat milk but I love unsweetened almond milk too and Waitrose often have '3 for £3' deals on the Alpro brand of milk. Once you've mastered vegan breakfasts, move to lunch, dinner and/or snacks and so on. You can find some inspiration on my Instagram here.
3. Go vegetarian first (or try going 'vegan where possible'). This is very much linked to the tip above and doesn't really need much explaining! For me it was quite easy as I didn't feel like I needed meat, but if you think you'll struggle then I suggest you try these products out as meat replacements: firm tofu (it's great baked in the oven in olive oil, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper and garlic), tempeh (I found tempeh in my local health foods store), some of the Linda McCartney frozen products (I love the vegan sausages, pulled pork burgers and hoisin duck - just check that what you're buying is vegan), Quorn frozen fish fingers and Miigan Pea Protein (you can get this online).
4. Have a good knowledge of vegan treats! If there's one thing I struggled with most, it would definitely be thinking that I could never have chocolate, cake or biscuits again. Ohh how wrong I was. Here are a few sweet treats that are vegan: Oreos, Bourbon Creams (I know, I was shocked too), vegan cake (100% recommend this recipe but I always make my own icing), a lot of things in the 'Free From' section at supermarkets, Ben & Jerry's Dairy Free ice cream, most dark chocolates (read the ingredients lists though), 'Moo Free' chocolate, 'So Free' chocolate, and so much more! Most crisps are vegan too but you have to look a little more closely for meat in ingredients lists as this isn't put in bold unlike egg and milk.
5. Eat out to begin with if you can't think of meal ideas (and if you can afford to eat out often). This will help you get ideas! Indian and chinese restaurants usually have a lot of vegan options but Pizza Express and Zizzi's have really good vegan pizzas, for any of you pizza lovers out there.
6. Or, instead of getting ideas from restaurants, get on Instagram! Just search for #vegan and there you go. Stalk a few food blog pages, save anything you like the look of and get creating!
7. Don't try the vegan cheese that supermarkets sell in the Free From section. Honestly, just make your own haha or go to a health foods store. I personally love this recipe by Minimalist Baker for vegan parmesan!
8. If you're at all worried about getting enough vitamins, take supplements. You don't need to if you're eating a balanced diet but if it'll put your mind at ease then go for it!
9. Know that by going vegan you will gain so much (compassion, self-love, knowledge about your body and its health, and so much more). A lot of people think that going vegan means cutting out a lot from their lives. Yes, it's a big change, but I would never even dream of going back!
10. Don't be too hard on yourself if you have a few slips along the way by accident. In my first week of actually going vegan I finished my friend's doner kebab on a (slightly drunk) night out. Another time I got halfway through a packet of roasted peanuts before realising that 'milk' was for some weird reason on the ingredients list...? Slip ups happen!
I hope these tips help you if you're trying to go vegan; if you have any extra tips of your own then comment them down below or send them to me on Instagram and I'll share them on my story.
Good luck Angels! Love, Ally x