Millions of people have already transitioned to a vegan diet, and they come from every country on the planet! Here, we give our top tips to help you transition smoothly, too.
Is It Hard To Go Vegan?
Most people who become vegan find there is a period of adjustment but how challenging the transition is depends on many things, including how much people want to be vegan, how much research they have done, and how much support they are getting. All of these things can be easily addressed, which makes the whole experience a pleasure and an adventure, rather than a hardship or a chore.
How Do I Start Turning Vegan?
Some people decide to go “cold turkey” on animal products and go from omnivore to vegan overnight. Others prefer to reduce their reliance on meat, milk, and eggs over time. And more people still, try a supported vegan challenge with Generation Vegan or Veganuary and commit to trying vegan for a set period, usually a week or a month. Whatever is right for you is the right path. And if you find that taking one route isn’t working out for you, you are free to try another. Here are some options that people often find helpful.
Phase Out One Product at a Time
This is a great idea to help you adjust over time. Find a fantastic plant milk to replace dairy, then find a yoghurt or an ice cream, then a vegan fried chicken, then a burger … you get the idea!
Read Up On The Basics Of Vegan Cooking
Spend a little time looking through the many vegan recipe sites, and searching out how to make your favourite meal vegan. You’ll get plenty of inspiration, discover some new products, and feel inspired to make a whole range of meals.
Try Out A Vegan Diet For A Week Or A Month
Having the friendly support of those who have already made the transition can be invaluable. We recommend Generation Vegan’s 7-Day Challenges, where you can choose to focus on the issue that matters most to you (animals, planet, humanity, or health) or you can sign up for their fully 30-day program. Alternatively, try Veganury’s month-long pledge. If you take part in January, you’ll be trying vegan alongside hundreds of thousands of others worldwide. All these challenges are free to take part in.
Vegan Before 6 Plan, And Eat Vegan Each Day Until Dinner
Some people find it helpful to start by being vegan at breakfast and lunch, and not to worry too much about dinner. Breakfasts can easily be veganised, whether you are having toast or oatmeal, fruit, smoothies, pancakes, or something more substantial. Lunch can also be a simple swap — choosing a vegan soup, sandwich, burrito, or sushi, for example. Once they have settled into this routine, people may feel ready to veganise the evening meal, too.
Explore The Hundreds Of Vegan Alternatives To Meat, Milk, And Egg-Based Foods
Get curious! Look around your local shop with renewed eyes. Check out the fresh produce, the different grains and legumes, try some plant milks and cheeses, and experiment with vegan mince, sausages, burgers, schnitzels, and all the other enticing plant-based products. Don’t worry too much about what you are leaving out. Just focus on all those tasty new foods that you are introducing.
Commit To Trying Five New Vegan Foods A Week
Accentuate the positive by building new foods into your diet, and set yourself a target to try five new things each week. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. There are probably many fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains you have never picked up before. This is the perfect time to give them a go. It doesn’t have to be five. Make it as many as you like.
How To Go Vegan?
Ten options to get you started on your vegan journey!
1. Vegan Before Six
Simple swaps can make breakfast and lunch fully vegan, so this is a great place to start. Choose from cereals, toast, pancakes, oatmeal, fresh fruits with yoghurt, or a cooked breakfast of sausages, tomatoes, hash browns, and beans to start your day off right. For lunch, think about soups, wraps, baguettes, salad bowls, jacket potatoes, or a burrito. All can be easily veganised with no loss of flavour or enjoyment.
2. Do A Vegan Test-Drive
Try it for seven or 30 days and see how you feel. When we know it’s not forever, we can throw ourselves into the experience, embrace it, and really enjoy it. Let Generation Vegan or Veganuary guide you with their excellent supported challenges. They’re free to take part!
3. Be Almost Vegan
If there is one food you really cannot imagine living without, be vegan apart from that one food. Almost vegan is 100% better than not being vegan at all. So, don’t abandon your good reasons and principles just because one item feels too hard to give up. Be vegan apart from that one item.
4. Make Your Kitchen Vegan
If you keep only vegan items in your kitchen it is a lot harder to fall off the wagon in those early transitional days. Stock up your cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer, with everything you need to rustle up a tasty meal, and keep a few snacks on standby too.
5. Discover New Ingredients
Go on a voyage of discovery. Explore your local shops. Search out new recipes, and try new ingredients. Most new vegans say that their culinary horizons expand hugely, which is not what they had expected at all. But this is because they were open-minded and willing to try new things. Be bold! Give them a try!
6. Veganise Your Favourite Meal
Most meals can be veganised quite easily. If there is a meal that means a lot to you — perhaps it is something you have as a tradition with your family, or it is something you make when you want to treat yourself — start experimenting with it now. Find out what needs to change to make it just as delicious but fully vegan.
7. Become An Expert Label Reader
So many everyday foods are vegan but they don’t say so on the packaging. Spend a little extra time reading the labels to find out what is really in those foods. Look out for the obvious ingredients like milk powder and gelatine, but also look out for casein, whey, and albumin — all of which come from animals, too.
8. Join a Group
If you are the only vegan you know, it can feel a little isolating, especially if you keep having to explain your decision, and what you will and won’t eat. Being around like-minded people can be hugely rewarding and relaxing. If there is a vegan meet-up group near you, go along. Otherwise, you’ll find plenty of vegan groups on social media. Go find your tribe.
9. Remember Why You Started
There are so many powerful reasons to be vegan but, when temptation strikes, we tend to forget these. Remind yourself by watching films like Cowspiracy, Seaspiracy, Earthlings, and The Game Changers. Read books like Eating Animals, Animal Liberation, and How Not To Die. Remind yourself of the overwhelmingly positive reasons to be vegan, and don’t worry if you slip up. That doesn’t mean you’re not vegan; it just means you’re human.
10. Tell Your Friends And Family
It’s a great idea to tell the people you love about your new diet as soon as possible for two reasons: it helps them get used to the idea but it is also a powerful statement of intent on your part. If they worry about how they will feed you, offer to make dishes when you are eating together. That way you are also showcasing veganism to a whole new audience, and reassuring the people who care for you that the food is tasty and that you are eating well as a vegan.
How Many Vegans Go Back To Eating Meat?
We don’t know for sure. Lots of people dip in and out of veganism over many years, while others who ate meat and became vegan may stop being vegan but never go back to eating meat. Our food choices are ours alone, and they can and do change, sometimes day to day. We’re thankful that in many countries, we seem to have hit peak meat, and consumption is declining. In terms of planetary health and animal suffering, this cannot come soon enough.
However, the number of animals being slaughtered continues to rise. This is for two reasons; the human population continues to grow, so meat consumption grows too, and also because people who are reducing meat consumption tend to ditch red meat for chicken. Since chickens are so much smaller than cows, there is a lot more slaughter associated with eating white meat than red. That is one reason why at VFC we focus on recreating delicious chicken-style vegan products. Almost all chickens are intensively farmed and are slaughtered in their billions. They get the absolute worst of the suffering meted out to farmed animals.
For the sake of the planet and to reduce the suffering in the world, going vegan is the number one action we can take, and all around the world people are moving towards a fully vegan diet. How they get there is entirely up to them, and there are lots of tricks and tools to help them on their way. So, whether you jump straight in or take a more steady approach, it doesn’t matter. The best approach is the one that works, so if you are struggling to stick with veganism, despite your best intentions, use some of our tips and tricks to help you stay on track.