There’s a lot of tips about going vegan floating about at the moment, so here’s another one. Even though I haven’t written this yet (I don’t really do planning or editing) and have only read two or three others, this is definitely the best one out there.
I’m going to start by pointing out the obvious. I do not know you, I do not know your circumstances and I do not know what you like to eat. So this is going to have to be pretty general.
The only real tips for anything are planning and education, and a lifestyle change like going vegan is no different. Read blogs, watch discussions and documentaries on Netflix/YouTube/etc, get onto Google and look at pictures of pigs. Try to get a well-rounded view on how animal agriculture, and a diet and lifestyle involving animal products, impacts the environment, your health (generally speaking) and people on a global scale as well as the obvious unnecessary cruelty to animals. Maybe also try to see how the lifestyle might intersect with other interests you have. Last year I wrote a piece for Mad Rabbits about how I feel veganism aligns with the punk and hardcore scenes.
Long and short, do your research to find your why.
That’s your education sorted. Onto planning. In my last post I wrote about shopping on a tight budget. Veganism can be expensive; the same as any diet/lifestyle. But it doesn’t have to be. Before you go out shopping, you’ve looked into educating yourself and found your reasons for going vegan. It can seem daunting at first, you might think you’ll have to fill your cupboards, fridge and freezer with all new items, but you’ll find it’s easier than you thought. You’ve probably already got some spices and herbs around, and some tinned stuff. You’ve probably got a handful of fruit and veg you really like too. The foundations are there; it’s just a matter of building on them.
The first thing I want you to do is think of three favourite foods/recipes for each meal of the day and five snacks. They’re probably not vegan, and that’s fine. See what you can swap for vegan ingredients. Does it involve minced beef or turkey? Swap it out for veggie mince, or more vegetables. Stick with what you know and focus on making your favourite comfort recipes vegan friendly first. That way if you’re ever struggling or having a rough day in general, you’ve always got those to turn to. Rather than making a whole new internal menu, try to adapt the internal menu you already have.
If you follow some vegans on Twitter (or pages dedicated to vegan food/clothes etc) you may see certain words pop up that you’re not sure about. At times this can be a bit intimidating, as it can seem like we have our own dictionary. I get you might not want to message someone about it. We’d love it if you do, it makes my day to be messaged out of the blue by people looking for information of advice, but if you’d rather Google something to see what it is then do some further searching to see what can be made with certain things then that’s perfectly fine too. Go with what feels comfortable for you.
And, most importantly, I’d say. Do not be afraid of fucking up. We all do it from time to time. You might buy something you’ve been told is vegan, eaten it and then found out there’s been a change in recipe/ingredients and it now contains eggs. You may have just not checked the label on some soup and not realise that some vegetable soup contains cream or whey powder. You haven’t failed. The vegan police aren’t going to come to your house and ban you from carrying on your journey. It’s part of learning, and as with all learning it gets far easier the more you do it. Something I still do when I’m in a supermarket is check packaging to see if a product is vegan, despite having no intention of buying it. That way I can combine education with planning. I know what new products I can use in future, and start to think about how I can use them.
It’s a really good time to find new things being released, so see how you get on. If you’d like to get in touch to either ask questions or just tell me you’re planning on trying a couple of meals feel free to DM me on Twitter!