Last weekend, my friend told me he’s been wanting to go vegan but isn’t quite sure how to do it. He’s already a pescatarian, so he asked me where to go from there. This made me realize that a lot of people are probably behind the animal and environmental reasons and want to go vegan, but don’t know how to cook meals without so many staple items in the standard American diet. So, if you need that extra boost or a few more tips on how to successfully go vegan, I’ve got you covered.
- Go slowly
Any progress is good progress for the animals and the environment! So take as many steps as you need to make sure that going vegan becomes a sustainable lifestyle for you. Start out by eliminating one or two non-vegan food items at a time. What I did was eliminate meat and fish first. I stayed eating this way for around a year before I started eliminating eggs and dairy products from my diet. This way, you can learn how to cook filling and tasty meals that are pescatarian, vegetarian, and vegan before becoming a full-time vegan. I found that this step helped make my transition extremely easy.
- Watch Vegan “What I Eat in a Day” YouTube Videos
We’re living in the age of the internet and YouTube, so inevitably, there is no shortage of vegan YouTube channels or vegan content online. Watching Caitlin Shoemaker, Veggie Rose, Maddie Lymburner, Rachel Ama, Supreme Banana, and so many more vegan YouTubers and videos makes going vegan a lot easier. You can be fully behind the idea of going vegan while simultaneously not knowing how to do it. That’s why seeing what other vegans eat for meals and getting the recipes helps immensely when you’re transitioning to veganism or just need more food inspo.
- Remind yourself why you initially wanted to go vegan
Re-watch or re-read whatever it was that sparked that initial desire to go vegan. By seeing that slaughterhouse video, that vegan documentary, or that inspiring animal rights or environmental speech, it will help continuously remind and encourage you to keep on going. With this method you definitely won’t be left saying, “buT wHAt AboUt BAcOn?” Veganism is not just a fad diet. Once you’re completely behind the reasons (or grossed out by slaughterhouse footage), it becomes hard TO eat non-vegan foods. Your journey might, and probably will, take longer than people who go vegan overnight – that’s totally normal and still incredible because any change that leads you to a more plant-based diet helps!
- Give up your favorite non-vegan foods last
Veganism shouldn’t be something that feels restrictive or be something you hate. If you feel like you’re restricting certain foods from yourself, that’s when it becomes more like a diet that you can break or give in to compared to a lifestyle change. You deserve to love the way you eat! And genuinely enjoying what you are eating everyday is what creates a vegan diet that is sustainable. That’s why you need to take eliminating certain food items at your own pace. Personally, for the last few months I was a vegetarian, I ate completely vegan except for having ice cream occasionally. Then my local grocery store got vegan Ben and Jerry’s, and I finally reached full veganism.
- Eat veganized versions of your favorite foods!
You’ll find out quickly that pasta, potatoes, rice, beans, oats, fruits and veggies become your best friends as a vegan. But when you’re in the mood for food closer to the average American’s diet, stock up on vegan alternatives! Since veganism is a sort of trend lately, finding vegan alternatives is easier than ever.
For realistic burgers, reach for the Impossible Burger or Beyond Burger. Morning Star chicken nuggets are my favorite chicken alternative, but the brand Gardein ALWAYS has insanely good veganized meat and fish. For plant-based milks there’s soy, rice, oat, coconut, almond, cashew, flax, and macadamia milk. Almond and rice milk taste a lot lighter and less creamy than other plant-based options. Ripple milk is probably the closest to the taste of cow’s milk. However, soy milk is my favorite because it tastes amazing and is a very easy way to incorporate some protein into your meals. Also, oat milk is definitely having a moment right now, so check that out too! There are also vegan coffee creamers made by many different brands.
For butter replacements, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and Earth Balance make great vegan butter. Violife, Follow Your Heart, Miyoko’s, and Chao make good vegan versions of cheese. For cream cheese though, I am convinced no one will make a better, more accurate vegan cream cheese than Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s also has the best vegan chocolate chips because their regular chocolate chips are accidentally vegan. Last but not least: vegan ice cream. Ben and Jerry’s, So Delicious, and Oatly make the best veganized ice cream in my opinion. There are also a bunch of other vegan ice cream brands I haven’t tried, so check them out!
Going vegan was the best decision I’ve ever made regarding food. I now get so much more excited to eat and cook than I ever did before. It’s like opening up an entire new world of food filled with incredible recipes to explore. So if you want to go vegan, take your time, follow these steps, and you’ll be helping the animals and the environment with your vegan lifestyle in no time!