Tips For Becoming Vegan

For some people, becoming vegan can be quite a daunting jump out of the comfort zone. We live in a world where it’s normal to consume things like milk, meat, and eggs, wear things made of leather, silk,  and wool, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

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Having a plant-based lifestyle can be a great change for most people, but it does take a little bit of effort – sometimes more than you would think when making an omnivore meal. Now I’m not saying this to try and scare you off, depending on your current diet and lifestyle choices, you may have to be prepared to make a lot of changes to adapt to the vegan life. For some people, this might be easier than it is for others, it all totally depends on your own person lifestyle and how much/often you consume animal products.

I went vegan back in January 2018 for Veganuary when I was 17 – I decided I wanted to stop eating meat literally weeks before my birthday the following year! I asked my friends who I knew were already vegan for some tips, and they told me to take it slow and be easy on myself! That’s exactly how I’ve been practising a vegan lifestyle these past few years, and I really hope these tips will help out anyone looking into it too.

These are my tips for changing to veganism, even if you’re a full-on carnivore.  

There isn’t a strict rule book.

When becoming a vegan, there isn’t a rule book that someone published that says all the things you have to do. The main idea is to only consume and buy products that aren’t from an animal source. So the usual things people avoid are dairy, meat, fish, eggs, leather, wool, and any other fabrics that are an animal product.

But say you have a strict allergy to soybeans, which is what a lot of vegan alternative foods are made from, its okay to find something else to replace it with. The same theory goes for people with nut allergies as well – a lot of protein sources and milk alternatives vegans have are from nuts like almonds or hazelnuts. There are obviously other milk and protein alternatives, you just have to find the one that suits you the most.

It’s also totally okay to pace yourself with finding what suits you best. If in the first few steps you can’t find a vegan protein alternative that works for you yet but you have one that’s vegetarian option, continuing to use that option until you find a better one is a great place to start.

When becoming vegan, essentially, you make your own rule book based on your own opinions and views to the lifestyle, and how it affects you personally. Remember, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re doing it wrong or you’re “not a real vegan” if you slip up or don’t do it exactly their way. You’re doing it for your own reasons, not for anyone else’s.

Everyone has their own opinions and reasons.

Everyone who becomes a vegan has their own reasons for doing so, whether it’s for the environment, the animals, or for their health. If someone has a different reason or opinion to you on veganism, that doesn’t mean you have to change to please them.

Opinions can differ from person to person. Some people are more strict than others, and stick firmly to being completely vegan, while others may decide to be more flexible depending on their views. Some people maybe decide they’re okay with still using byproducts from bees, or having eggs if they have their own chickens, and so on. Some people may need more protein than others and so may decide to eat eggs, or people who require more iron may still take supplements that still contain small amounts of animal products.

The reasons that you decide to go vegan are completely your own, and you shouldn’t let anyone else’s views change what best suits you personally. Also don’t let it get you down if those who are strict look down on you for slipping up, they would’ve made mistakes too in the past and so will you, you’re only human.

Go at your own pace

No matter what your current diet and lifestyle is, the change to veganism can be a challenge, and sometimes it might not even work out. The way I changed over my diet originally, I went from omnivore to vegetarian first – I couldn’t give up cheese! But eventually, after a few months of just originally giving up meat, I was ready to full-on vegan.

This period of time also gave me the opportunity to see whether or not I would be up for the full transition or not. I have known friends in the past who were vegetarian and turned vegan, and it made them unwell because they either went too fast, or they weren’t giving their body the right nutrients. If this is the case then no one is forcing you to continue, you have to do what’s best for your body!

Veganism isn’t something you have to go 100% headfirst at when you first start out, and if you accidentally eat something that isn’t vegan, or you decide to be at least vegetarian while on holiday, that doesn’t take away your title as a vegan!

Any kind of lifestyle change like veganism should be liberating and fun, not a chore and something to make you unhappy. So if the pressure of going full out straight away is affecting you, then just tone it done to a level you are happy with, and build yourself up from there.  

It’s not as expensive as it seems.

One misconception of veganism is that its expensive, when in reality it’s just as expensive as any normal diet. People don’t usually see meat as expensive, because they’re so used to the price that they don’t actually register how much it actually costs.

Veganism isn’t any more expensive than a normal diet, as long as you’re smart with what you buy – many vegan recipes require many staple foods such as beans and lentils,  which may seem expensive if you’re buying in bulk, but they can be so worth it.

If you really look at your budget for what you buy as a meat-eater and swap it to what you would eat while vegan, you would notice things like the fact that tofu is no more expensive than a pack of beef or chicken.

If you start using dried produce as well, this will save you money as a lot of the time packs can last a long time, and you often use less than you’d think. You can also save money on food by growing your own! Even with just a small garden or balcony, you can easily grow plants like tomatoes or courgettes, and herbs and lettuces on a windowsill.  

If you’re wanting to look into what are good vegan pantry staples, I have another post on that, which can be great when first starting out!

You don’t need to be picture perfect

So you probably found out about the vegan lifestyle from people on social media. Now let me remind you, you don’t need to be like them in every way. Yes, it’s great that they show you all their tricks of the trade on how they live, but if it doesn’t suit your life, you do have to do that.

Say you find an Instagrammer or YouTuber whose entire wardrobe is completely vegan, but you own a pair of leather shoes that you adore. If you already own something that isn’t vegan and you know you love and use it, no one is telling you that you have to get rid of it to be a “true” vegan. Because in reality, it’s better for the environment to keep it out of landfill and continue to enjoy them.

As with my previous point, going at your own pace is essential! Nobody expects you to have fully transitioned in 2 weeks or even a month of being vegan, and you shouldn’t either. It’s okay if you need to eat up some of the food in your cupboard throughout the journey, and you shouldn’t feel like a failure if you accidentally find some non vegan food you forgot to eat!

Find your own community

Being the only person in your family to be vegan or plant-based can make it a really daunting and lonely, but having some likeminded people around can really boost your confidence about it!

Keep an eye out to see if any of your friends are vegan or ask on social media if anyone you know is, look for Facebook groups for in your area, find podcasts on the topic, follow Instagram accounts, and you could even comment on YouTube or Instagram posts and find some friends that way! I recently made a large group of friends and we made a group chat for veganism specifically and we all share recipes and tips, so I really recommend this!

Some Facebook groups I really recommend joining are Vegan Food UK, and Vegan For Beginners. Having these groups is a great way to find new recipes, get tips, and learning about new vegan food that’s available.

Some Instagram account pages I would recommend:

@Veganhings – a really lovely account I found while researching vegan pages in Edinburgh, and she shares a huge selection of posts, ranging from stuff she cooks herself, local restaurants and take-aways, and supermarket finds! Definitely a page I recommend if you’re looking for eats in the Edinburgh area or just some recipe inspo.

@Shelbizleee – Focuses on mostly on sustainability, but also LGBT and plant-based topics, I really recommend her account if you’re looking into living more sustainably. She also has a youtube channel where she talks more in-depth on these topics and does a load of reviews!

@Maxlamanna – Max is one of my favourite vegan chefs that focuses mainly on food waste and how to tackle it in your own home. He shares great recipes and tips on how to make things such as carrot top pesto or even banana peel bread! He also released his first cookbook More Plants, Less Waste which not only has food recipes but things such as deodorant, toothpaste, and even kitchen cleaner.

@Sustainably_vegan – Immy was one of the first people I originally followed back when I started my vegan journey and she’s honestly one of my favourite “influencers” out there. She posts a lot about walking, food prep, slow fashion, and of course sustainability! She also has a youtube channel where she talks about these same topics and more.

@Sovegan – In all honesty, I think Roxy and Ben of So Vegan genuinely make my favourite recipes of all time. I have both their cookbooks So Vegan in 5 and One Pot Vegan and they contain so many diverse recipes that it really inspires me to try out new meals and ingredients I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. They make the biggest portions so I know whenever I make something of theirs I’ll always get leftovers too! They also have an app too which has all their recipes on there, which is great for out shopping or you need some inspo.

@Weareveganuary – I think Veganuary is one of the accounts that every vegan should know about and follow. They post recipes, information about animals and vegetables, news from mainstream or well-known brands, and also quotes from famous vegan people! During January they have a pledge you can take apart of where they send you daily emails which are to help you stay motivated and keep you updated on news as a lot of brands announce new vegan products in January a lot more now!

@Unjadedjade – You may have heard of Jade Bowler if you apart of the Studytube community on youtube, but you may not know that she’s actually vegan! I think she’s someone you should follow if you’re a young person and interested in veganism, studying, positivity and self-growth, I definitely recommend her. I’ve learnt so much from Jade in so many ways, she’s definitely one of my role models, even if she’s only a year older than me!

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first day out of quarantine: my housemate’s birthday!! cue the surprise. . My housemate loves swimming. His story actually inspires me so much. He never learned to swim growing up, so at uni last year he decided to casually teach himself…!! 🥺 This legend literally taught himself by watching YT videos and taking different Minerva students to the pool with him every day. So cool. . For his birthday, we surprised him by taking him to a lake!! 🥺 after swimming in *freezing* water, lying on the beach, singing to Pedro’s guitar and walking silly amounts of steps back home, today was the most refreshing day of the last 2 weeks. Who knew Berlin had such pretty lakes ❤️❤️

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@Vegan_food_uk – If you live in the UK like me, this account is basically a staple you need. They post about all the new and upcoming vegan food, whether it’s in supermarkets or in restaurants, they also have a youtube channel where they post videos of their reviews of exciting new food!

@Emilie__phoenix – I’ve known Emilie before I was even 10 years old, and she was the first person I met who was vegan, and now as we’re both officially adults she’s become one of my main inspirations with veganism and self-care, so without sounding completely biased, I really recommend checking her account out!

@Gittemary – Gittemarie is a Danish YouTuber and activist who I have recently discovered and she talks a lot about sustainability and food waste, along with veganism. She posts a load of videos on greenwashing, plastic pollution, reducing waste, as well as plant-based recipes.

@Evannalynch – you may know Evanna Lynch from the days she starred in Harry Potter as Luna Lovegood, but she’s also a huge vegan activist, host of vegan podcast The ChickPeeps, and ambassador for Veganuary. I think she’s a huge inspiration for anyone looking to become vegan who is also a Potterhead or aspiring actor!

@Dereksarno – I have to admit, Derek Sarno does some of the most eye-catching pictures of the most amazing looking vegan food I have ever seen – made to look good enough to catch out a meat eater even if it’s all plant-based! Derek is also the chef and creator of the products at Wicked Kitchen, which are available in Tesco here in the UK. – Another great place to check out if you want to be conscious about your food waste too! Kathryn shares so many different tricks and recipes throughout the year, she’s one of my favourite creators!

@Calumharris – A great vegan chef who makes SO many amazing recipes each week. I recently discovered his account and its one of my new favourites

@Fitgreenmind – Where do I even start?! Maya is one of my foodie inspirations, and is a great inspiration for any young people learning to cook, regardless of if they’re vegan or not! She makes so many different recipes from all different cultures, so many of which are absolutely mouthwatering.

@Recipesandplaces – Another great creator I love. Francesca makes so many recipes not only from her home of Italy, but of all different countries too – a lot of which also help minimise food waste too.

These are all the tips I have, and I hope it makes your journey to veganism a little easier! Let me know if you have any tips on becoming vegan too!

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