A couple days ago I celebrated my 1 year vegan-niversary! To me, it’s an accomplishment that I’m proud of, but I also consider it the very beginning of a life-long, vegan journey! This past year of being vegan has been quite the learning experience, and I’ve definitely learned some useful tips along the way. So, I thought I’d share some of my simple tips for going vegan.
Tip #1: Go at your own pace. Some people are able to go vegan overnight (I like to say cold tofu!), but some people (like myself) need to transition at a slower pace. If it helps, start by becoming a vegetarian and then try eliminating non-vegan foods over time. This is exactly what I did and it really helped me to feel fully comfortable as a vegan. Like I’ve said before, there are vegans who would disagree with me, but I believe it’s better to be heading in the right direction than to get so overwhelmed and quit. So it’s important to change at a pace that’s right for you.
Tip #2: Keep it simple. Veganism doesn’t have to be hard at all. Honestly, don’t pay any attention to all these fancy vegan food Instagram accounts. They’re lovely, but this is definitely one of the things that intimidated me at first…seeing vegan food that was made with ingredients I’ve never heard of! My advice is to focus on eating well-balanced meals that taste good to you. Use ingredients that you’re used to and keep things easy for yourself.
Tip #3: Before going fully vegan, start by switching to a plant-based diet. After you become comfortable with eating plant-based, then try switching everything else. The thought of having to change everything at once (from food to products) can be so overwhelming for anyone who’s not vegan yet. Luckily, before I went vegan, I already had experience with buying cruelty-free products, so it was a bit easier to switch to vegan products. But if you’re going from completely non-vegan, and not really even knowing which brands are cruelty-free, it can be incredibly stressful. So start where you think you should (food is probably your best bet) and try not to overload yourself.
Tip #4: Experiment with food. This sounds like the complete opposite of tip #2, but what I mean is that meals don’t have to be the equivalent of meat, potatoes, and vegetables…if that makes any sense. Try making your own meals by throwing a bunch of foods together and making something new. You can use simple ingredients, but make what tastes good to you. Try to have fun with your food…even if it’s simple.
Tip #5: Plan and prepare meals (or at least individual dishes) ahead of time. It sometimes can be a bit harder to pull together a balanced vegan meal without being prepared. I like to make large batches of dishes I love and freeze them. Then I can just quickly pull them out of the freezer and have a healthy meal ready in no time.
Tip #6: Take a look at why you want to be vegan. Is it for animals, health, the environment, all of the above? By doing this, it will help you to keep going. Going vegan in a non-vegan world can feel difficult. While times are changing, and veganism is becoming increasingly popular, it’s still not the norm. But, if you have your own belief and reason to be vegan, then it will be your inspiration to continue.
Tip #7: Research and gain lots of knowledge. Learn as much as you can about veganism and about all the reasons to be vegan. Read books, watch documentaries, follow bloggers, find a community (online or in-person), etc. It will make things so much easier.
Tip #8: Youtube is a great place to see and connect to other vegans. You’ll find all kinds of other like-minded individuals that will provide all sorts of inspiration. I’m the only vegan in my circle, so Youtube has been really helpful for me to connect to others who see certain issues the same way I do.
Tip #9: Live compassionately in everything you do — from what you eat and use, to the activities you participate in. Honestly, there’s all kinds of small ways to help animals. I’ve started picking up elastic bands on the ground when I see them, so that small animals don’t eat them and choke. I’ve also picked up and cut up those plastic rings from cans so that animals don’t get caught in them. If you live with full compassion in everything you do, it will make veganism incredibly easy.
Tip #10: Don’t give up and do the best you can. There’s really no such thing as a perfect vegan. Mistakes will be made; there will likely be occasional times when you eat something that’s not vegan by accident. Don’t be hard on yourself and keep going. Veganism is a journey, not a destination…or so I’ve heard!
I hope some of my tips are helpful to you, if you’re considering veganism! Vegans: what are some of your tips for going vegan?