Looking for the best Vegan Tips for Beginners? Look no further. I’ve converted to veganism and can give you the tips that helped me the most. Based on the ten million+ #veganlife posts on Instagram, it may feel like you’re the only meat-eater left behind, and everyone else has jumped on the vegan bandwagon. In reality, however, only 3% of Americans identify as all-out vegans – a rate that, according to a 2018 Gallup poll, hasn’t changed since 2012.
Percentages aside, these herbivorous eaters may be on to something. Multiple studies have proved that vegan diets come with many health perks, from promoting immune systems and a healthy gut to lowering heart disease and diabetes risks.
So, if going through these benefits has pushed you over the edge, and you’ve decided to give this life a try, this guide will help you develop a meat-free lifestyle that’s sustainable in the long run. It’ll also help you plan seriously delicious and nutritionally balanced vegan meals.
Without further ado, here are the top 5 vegan tips for beginners.
Do You Have a Reason to be Vegan?
When transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, it’s essential to figure out your “why,” as it’ll be the driving force that keeps you going when you get frustrated, tired, or ticked off at the switch. And if you already have a “why” that isn’t cutting it anymore, feel free to find a different one.
I, for instance, originally became vegan for environmental reasons. I figured this would be the most impactful way I could help improve our planet’s ecological trajectory. The longer I stayed vegan, however, the more connected to animals I became, and over time, my concern for animals’ well-being became a massive part of why I remain a vegan.
To help you find your why, note that the choice to go vegan for most individuals boils down to one of these three reasons:
- Environmental reasons
- Heath reasons
- Ethical reasons
This brings me to the second vegan tip for beginners.
Do Not Try To Be a new “Vegan Superhero”
Some people can watch a single documentary and go vegan cold turkey. If that sounds like you, MORE POWER TO YOU. But this isn’t the reality for most people. Some individuals will even take a whole decade before fully transitioning into the Vegan lifestyle, and THAT’S OKAY. Keep in mind that it’s going to take a while for your cravings and your digestive system to adjust to your new way of life.
With that in mind, I suggest slowly easing into plant-based diets in the order I’ve listed below.
Plant-forward is an eating and cooking pattern that emphasizes plant-based foods, like seeds, nuts, whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. You can include meat in this plant-based diet, but it should never be the meal’s main feature.
- Semi-Vegetarian or Flexitarian
A more restricted option, this diet encourages having a 100% vegetarian diet as the primary option, but occasionally eating meat, fish, and other animal-based products.
Pescatarianism refers to the practice of eating vegetarian foods but still including seafood and fish. Note that pescatarians avoid all other kinds of meat, though some occasionally eat eggs and dairy products.
A step closer to full-out veganism, vegetarian diets eliminate poultry, meat, and most other animal-based foods. This category is further divided into three subcategories, namely Ovo vegetarian (which incorporates eggs but no dairy products), Lacto vegetarian (which includes dairy products but no eggs), and Lacto-ovo vegetarian (which allows both dairy and eggs.)
This is the strictest of the bunch as it involves only having plant-based diets that entirely exclude eggs, dairy, fish, poultry, meat, and all other animal-based foods like gelatin and honey.
See why it may take some people a decade to transition into veganism fully? I always say that anything that minimizes the amount of meat on your plate is a good thing in my book.
Further Ease Your Vegan Transition With Dairy and Meat Alternatives
If you’re craving a meaty bite a week into your veganism journey, fret not. Diary and meat alternatives have got you covered.
From chicken strips made with plant-based protein, beef patties, and almond yogurt to artisan cashew brie, soya cheddar, coconut oil-based mozzarella, and dairy-free plant milk, there seems to be a vegan substitute for just about everything.
What’s more? All these are readily available in vegan grocery shops and local health stores. Some are even available on shelves at standard supermarkets, such as Impossible Foods.
Find a Vegan Buddy
Having a buddy join you on your vegan journey is a tried-and-tested way to stay committed to the lifestyle. Likewise, the buddy system has proven effective when it comes to changing diets. Once you get a vegan buddy, you two can swap recipes you’ve come across and also compare notes on things you both think are working and things that aren’t.
If your friends and family aren’t supportive on days you find it hard to stay committed, a buddy can provide the nudge required to get you through the day. Better yet, if you two live near one another and trust each other in this pandemic period, you can cook together.
Keep Educating Yourself on Veganism
We’ve all heard the saying, “Never stop learning because life will never stop teaching.” Well, in the realm of veganism, learning is a never-ending journey. I’ve been a vegan for more than a decade, but I still constantly encounter new info that blows my mind.
So, while getting started, gather as much information on veganism as possible. This will not only keep you determined and passionate about your new lifestyle, but it’ll also arm you with much-needed answers for when friends and/or family inevitably decide to grill you with countless questions.
A great place to start would be how to read labels and spot non-vegan ingredients or ways to veganize some of your current favorite meals (be they donuts, noodle stir fry, or French toasts.)
Finally, also talk to your doctor or a seasoned vegan to ensure you’re still eating well-balanced diets and aren’t missing out on any nutrients.
Going vegan is genuinely one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in your life. From feeling better mentally and physically to feeling like you’re making a positive impact with your actions, this decision will change your life in a myriad of ways.
I hope these vegan tips for beginners help you on your journey into the amazing world of Veganism!