Whenever someone discovers that I’m a vegan, it’s quickly followed by them saying “I could never do that!” Before I began my vegan journey, I was a vegetarian for around 8 years and I too was one of those people who thought, and said, “I could never follow a vegan diet!” Almost 4 years later and I’m still following a vegan diet after giving it a go for a day to see how things would go.
I’ve been asked countless times by friends what my best advice and top tips for taking up a vegan diet are so today I thought I’d share some of my top tips with you on the matter. Maybe you don’t want to follow a vegan diet and that’s fine, maybe you are just curious about how one would do so. If that’s you, then keep reading!
Do It Gradually
As I just mentioned, before becoming a fully fledged vegan I followed a vegetarian diet from the age of 13 to about 21. My main reason for deciding to cut meat, fish and poultry from my diet was because it didn’t sit right with me that animals were hunted, farmed and born to be killed for us to eat, when there was an abundance of other sources of food where no animal cruelty or death would need to take place. If you’re just starting to look into veganism, you’ll notice that everyone has their own reasons for deciding to make that change and this is mine, the animals. At the age of 13 I was more than aware of where my McDonald’s burger and my Birds Eye fish fingers were coming from and I decided that I didn’t want to play a part in contributing to that anymore, so I took to google to search “how to eat as a vegetarian.” I hadn’t yet really started cooking for myself but I thought that at this age, I should probably start learning how to cook, so I did.
Many years passed and I learnt how to make a veggie burger more interesting than the piece of cardboard it looks like(they’re not really aesthetically pleasing are they?!) and with age, I started to become more aware of the dairy industry and how it works. With all of that backstory in mind, my advice and point in this is to transition to a vegan diet gradually, rather than suddenly cutting out all meat, dairy and other animal derivatives all at once. Why? Because I’ve heard from so many people doing this that they failed early on because they just couldn’t adjust to such a drastic change to their diet in such large proportions!
I personally found transitioning from being a vegetarian to a vegan quite straight forward and easy as I wasn’t really cutting out too much from my diet. That might sound weird, right? But that brings me onto my next point..
Don’t Cut, Just Swap!
There is a common misconception with veganism that you suddenly have to cut out 90% of the foods you eat and I’m here to tell you that you 100% don’t have to cut out your favourite foods, you simply need to swap them out for vegan alternatives! Confused? Let me explain. You probably know that there are milk alternatives, such as soya milk, oat milk and even hemp milk, but did you know that there are also cheese alternatives? These are often made with either coconut oil or cashews and are both readily available across the UK in our supermarkets. What about eggs? Have you heard of scrambled tofu? Google it, try it, have your mind blown! If you’re concerned about the eggs in baking then you have a number of options also. A powder alternative can be purchased online or in larger supermarkets or you can even substitute it with a bit of vegetable oil and a milk alternative.
Other items that are easy to swap out are things like your favourite snacks. Crisps, biscuits, chocolate, all of these things have vegan friendly alternatives and some of your favourite snacks might even be “accidentally vegan” already, hello Oreo’s!
Get In Your Vitamins
Especially in the early days. From my own personal experience and research, you can get the majority of your vital vitamins and minerals from a whole vegan diet, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still take some vitamins to give your body an extra boost. Over the years I’ve chopped and changed the ones that I take but I’m currently taking a vegan multivitamin from Holland & Barrett. I’ve known of a few people to tell me that a vegan diet has made them unwell, but I’d suggest that a poor vegan diet made them unwell, as opposed to veganism in itself. If this particular part of veganism is what’s stopping you from adjusting your diet, then there are websites like HealthLabs.com where you can purchase tests that check for possible nutritional deficiencies that you as a vegan may encounter if your diet is off-balance. HealthLabs have kindly given me a discount code to share where you can receive 25% off all vegan testing when using the code TULIP25.
Pinterest Is Your New Recipe Book
You probably already have a Pinterest account, so you’re good to go with this tip. Simply type in “vegan” into the search bar and you’ll be greeted with thousands of results. I do own a handful of vegan recipe books which I love, but Pinterest is my go to for recipes. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, I’m always on the hunt for easy, tasty recipes that I can make at home. You can find my food board on Pinterest here. There are so people online that create super easy vegan recipes that even as a beginner cook you can follow!
Research Restaurants That Offer Vegan Options
I say that, but more often than not every single eatery I’ve been to over the last couple of years has had at least one vegan option on their menu. If you enjoy eating out, then it is definitely worth having a quick Google and looking up some restaurants/cafes that you regularly visit to see what vegan options they have to offer. Veganism is becoming increasingly popular so businesses are catching onto this and adding new and exciting vegan options to their menus. Even Toby Carvery has a vegan option now, so you don’t have to miss out or stop eating at your favourite restaurants. You can even get adventurous and search for vegan restaurants and vegan cafes, yes they exist! My personal favourite is Be The Change in the centre of Worcester(if you’re close by then deffo give them a try!)
I’ve enjoyed putting this post together so much that I think I’m going to start talking about veganism as a whole more here on Love, Maisie. Maybe next time I’ll delve into the vegan lifestyle and how to adapt to that. If you have any questions about what I’ve mentioned in this post, then please be sure to let me know in the comments below, I’m always happy to help/chat about this topic! Do you follow a vegan diet? Have you considered giving it a go? I’d love to know!