Being vegan doesn’t have to be difficult. With a few lifestyle changes, it will feel effortless to be vegan. At first, it might feel like your world has completely flipped on its axis.
It will take a few months for you to get used to being vegan and for it to become second nature.
Follow these steps to make transitioning to a vegan lifestyle easier.
1. Read, Read, Read
My first couple of months being vegan, I read everything I could get my hands on. I went vegan 10 years ago so my biggest source of information were books. Now you can find thousands of blog posts on being vegan and in smaller chunks which are more easily digested.
I still would recommend reading books though because you will get a lot more targeted information and it is always worthwhile to read someone else’s journey to veganism and relate to what they went through.
2. Get rid of the meat
If you decided to go vegan overnight, like me, you will have meat products still in your kitchen.
Don’t throw it away. Donate it. An animal still gave its life for that food.
You will want to look closely at the ingredients in some of your favorite foods too. Meat is in some surprising places.
If you are going full-on vegan, you need to remove dairy and egg ingredients as well. Check out this post for a list of dairy ingredients to avoid.
3. Stock up on veggie ingredients
Replace your bare kitchen with healthy, awesome new veggies. This is your chance to experiment and diversify your food intake.
Never tried swiss chard before? You are missing out on a great salad ingredient that is loaded with phytonutrients.
Don’t think of giving up meat as losing out, but actually gaining new foods.
4. Create a recipe bank
You may struggle at first to figure out what you are going to eat every day.
You are so used to eating the same meals you have for years. Most people have less than 25 meals they eat on a regular basis. This is really only 7 days worth of meals.
If you can find 25 veggie meals that you love, then you won’t be left scavenging every night. Trust me, have a recipe bank saves you from that “I don’t have anything to eat” mode.
5. Figure out why you are going vegan
Yeah, I know you already decided to go vegan. But, it’s important to know why you are vegan.
Not only are you going to be asked this very same question, at times you will ask it yourself. You might need to touch base with why you wanted to be vegan in the first place in order to stick with it.
My reason started off as I couldn’t stand behind the cruelty inflicted onto animals raised for food. It changed over time to encompass far more like my health, but the animals are still what keeps me on this vegan diet.
6. Get a role model
It makes you feel less alone. I didn’t know any vegans when I started. I had role models instead when I first started.
One of the first vegan books I read was Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet. I absolutely loved it. I had been vegan for about a year by then and was completely floundering.
My mom gave me an old vegetarian cookbook that I had been using until I found Alicia’s book. I had an aha moment and the lifestyle finally clicked within me.
I loved the way she saw being vegan and it definitely shaped my viewpoint as well.
7. Don’t be preachy
We are all super excited to be on this new journey. We want to share it with the world. We think we have the answer to all life’s problems now and don’t understand why everybody isn’t joining in.
Let me tell you, most people are actually curious and will want to ask questions. Be kind and answer them without looking down on their choices. A small percentage are going to judge you harshly or disrespect your choice to be vegan. It is pointless being preachy with these people because they won’t hear a word you say.
Recently, I had a friend who started eating meat again. I cringed inside, but I didn’t judge them because the only person I can control is myself.
8. Look at your wardrobe
Yes, your clothes can be vegan. Not everyone will go this far. Leather and fur are not vegan. Sorry. This one is tough to follow.
I don’t think you need to throw out or donate all your leather goods. Just maybe refrain from buying them in the future.
There are a lot of great vegan leather goods manufacturers out there now. Check them out.
9. Learn to make ingredient swaps
This will come in handy when you really want an old favorite meal and need to make it vegan. You might come across an awesome recipe and need to replace dairy cream with cashew cream. There really isn’t much you can’t make vegan these days.
When you go out to eat you can go to any restaurant as long as you know how to swap out ingredients. Most restaurants are more than happy to make substitutions.
I will ask for avocado instead of cheese on my sandwich or black beans instead of ground beef on my tacos. Don’t feel like you can’t go out because you are vegan, just learn how to substitute vegan ingredients.
10. Find your community
This might be in real life or it might be online depending on where you live. Most cities have a vegan community group or meetup.
If your city has a vegan restaurant, this is most likely where you will find your people. If you are like me and live in a smaller town, your community is going to be online. There are so many awesome vegan Facebook groups that if you ever have questions or need support, you will find it there.
It is very important to have some people who relate to what you are going through and love being vegan too. It will keep you from feeling pressured to eat meat or do something you know doesn’t support your new lifestyle.