It can be intimidating to begin a new lifestyle, especially one that will have a major impact on your daily life in pretty much every way imaginable. One way to prepare yourself is by doing plenty of research, including getting advice from people who have gone before you. Frankly, hearing what they have to say can be invaluable to a successful transition.
So, if you’re considering ditching meat and other animal byproducts in the near future, these 12 pieces of advice from practicing vegans are required reading.
12. Listen to your body.
“A lot of people are allergic or intolerant to soya and quorn so try things but make note of any reactions (usually a dodgy tummy). If you want to be a ‘clean-eating’ vegan then stay away from junk food and meat/dairy substitutes, they are usually bulked out with carbs and fat. If that doesn’t bother you, go wild.” —lolalal
11. Ease into it with foods from regions that eat naturally plant-based.
“Focus your attention to foods from regions that naturally tend to be plant-based. Don’t try to replace your favorites all at once but look to eating beans and grains for satiation. Tacos, burritos, curries, Asian noodles, chili and cornbread, cannellini beans and pasta, are all friendly and easy ways to feel full and nourished.” —elyseh4fc39db5a
10. Expand your cooking range and community to help you feel entrenched.
“Do yourself a favor and purchase the Vegan Stoner cookbook on Amazon. So many awesome and easy vegan recipes. Vegan Mac and Peas is simple and delicious!” —emmaf49fcf7695
“‘Accidentally Vegan’ is a great IG page with everyday items that are unintentionally vegan friendly. ‘Madeleine Olivia’ does great budget vegan food shopping haul videos on YouTube, along with recipes from said hauls.” —lolalal
9. Hopefully you enjoy Indian and Mexican foods.
“Curries are fantastic! Sweet potato, chickpeas, lentils and tofu can all be used instead of meat! You can use coconut cream for a creamy curry sauce.
Mexican food is also easy as heck to make vegan – just use beans and mushrooms instead of meat and load up on veggies 🙂 .” —cazboline”
8. It’s fine to start just with the easy stuff.
“Jumping right in with the plan of learning a million new vegan recipes is awesome, but can be super overwhelming. Fall back on the easy (and cheap!) stuff – PBJ, pasta with marinara, smoothies, oatmeal, falafel, soups, chili (just minus the meat), etc. Chipotle is also my fav dependable easy option for a quick and yummy vegan meal.” –Mbpanda
7. Give your tastebuds a break before jumping into meat and cheese alternatives.
“I wouldn’t suggest jumping right in to meat alternatives, trust me they will taste a lot better when you haven’t had a burger in a year. If you go straight from having real meat to meat alternatives, the thought may make you feel sick.” —cieraskye
“Do a cheese detox before trying vegan cheese! I waited about 6 months and it gave my tastebuds a chance to adjust because it is a very different taste. I would also recommend trying to get your hands on Mozzarisella, it’s the best vegan pizza cheese.” —lolalal
6. You might want to supplement with vitamins.
“Make sure to take a B12 supplement and perhaps iron. I’ve been vegan for over 2 years. The first year I didn’t supplement and my energy levels paid for it.” —kmfogleman
5. Get your cheese substitute recs here!
“Cheese for yeast flakes! It makes the transition easier, trust me. Just sprinkle it on top if you’re craving a cheesy taste.” —alicep47367d31a
“For me, cutting out dairy was the most difficult part. So here’s some recommendations to hopefully help someone else! Milk: so many awesome alternatives (soy, coconut, nut, hemp, etc.) but my absolute fav is oat milk. Oatly is the best brand imo. I actually strongly prefer it over dairy milk even if I wasn’t vegan. Cheese: Fieldroast’s Chao has been the best I’ve tried so far. Great for grilled cheese, pizza, sandwiches, etc. Also a fan of Follow Your Heart brand and Kite Hill’s ricotta. Butter: Earth Balance is fantastic. I’ve also heard Miyokos is outstanding (for cheeses too) but I haven’t tried it yet! ” —biebersdadssoulpatch
4. Eat more vegetables.
“Don’t think of it as losing access to food. Just start focusing more eating a ton vegetables and everywhere you can have a vegetable instead – do It! Mac and cheese lover? Try sweet potato mac. Big taco fan? Chickpea tacos it is. You’ll feel better and not like you are being deprived of anything. Also Oreos are still vegan if you’re in veggie overload.” —odonnellshea17
3. Become an expert at reading labels.
“Learn to read food labels…milk is hidden in so many things!” – Mariah
2. If you’re giving up a favorite food, try finding a replacement recipe.
“When I’m making vegan mac and ‘cheese’, I make a white sauce using unsweetened soya milk heated and thickened with cornstarch. I then add salt, smoked paprika and mustard powder. Maybe it doesn’t taste like traditional mac and cheese, but the smoke paprika definitely is reminiscent of smoked cheese, and it works for me!” —enilorac2
1. Become friends with nuts, seeds, and fresh herbs.
“Nuts and seeds are seriously slept on. Roast them on top veggies, sprinkle on pasta or salads, or make your own trail mix. They’re so versatile.” —copperfox666
“You MUST use spices and herbs – fresh herbs will change your life!” –emcduffie916
I’m not going vegan any time soon, but these tips are definitely interesting anyway.
Are you vegan? Are you considering it? Let us know what you think!