Five tips for going vegan!

I recently saw an article on here giving 5 great tips for going vegetarian. So, for anyone wanting to go that step further, here are 5 tips to help you go vegan, and to prove it is not as hard as it might sound.

If you are interested in being vegan, or looking to cut down and need recipe inspiration and advice, read our regular column “Vegans don’t eat grass”. You can read our first article here.


1. Don't be afraid of mistakes 

It surprises me how many times people have said to me that they couldn't go vegan because they would make too many mistakes, eating things with non-vegan ingredients and forgetting what they can and can’t have. I haven’t been vegan for particularly long, just over a year, but already I’ve lost count of how many non-vegan things have accidently passed my lips. There was caramel vodka (which had milk in), naan bread (yogurt), paprika Pringles, and a tragic incident with a prawn dumpling, just to name a few.

Making mistakes is okay. It doesn't make you any less of a vegan and they’re bound to happen to everyone, so don’t let that put you off. It doesn't ruin your ethics, or the impact you’re making.


2. Be curious – read ingredients

There are two sides to this one. Read the ingredients of things you might assume are vegan, there are some sneaky ingredients in there. For example, some wines are not always vegan (have a quick google to check when you are shopping), and some sauces use anchovies. On the other hand, some things you may think are not going to be vegan actually are, and that’s always a nice surprise. These include Oreos, a lot of cheap chocolate and biscuits, some ready-made pastry and some supermarket garlic breads! Have a look at the hashtag #accidentallyveganuk to find posts of things people have found that happen to be vegan.


3. Don’t put a timescale on it

It can be daunting to think that you are never going to get to eat some of your current favourite foods again. My advice is to just try going vegan and tell yourself you’ll see how it goes, it does not mean you’ll never get to have those foods again, you are in control, you can change your diet when you please. Plus, in the meantime you’ll find lots of favourite vegan foods and will find yourself missing the old ones less and less. When I went vegan, I told myself I would break it once a year for something I really craved, I haven’t yet felt the need to do that, but it helped me in the beginning to not feel like I was missing out.


4. Take your vitamins

It can be more difficult to get all the necessary vitamins on a vegan diet. There are plenty great vegan sources of important vitamins, so it’s not that they’re not available, but it may take time to learn and readjust your diet. It’s a good idea for everyone to take a multi-vitamin, but especially new vegans. Most important, is taking a B12 supplement; anyone going vegan must take one to maintain good health, as this is a vitamin only naturally found in animal products.


5. On campus shops at Exeter sell a lot of great vegan food

Obviously, there’s the vegan staple of pitta and hummus but there’s also so much more I did not expect! A vegan sausage roll, vegan pies, soup, rice pot, pasta and lots of great vegan sauces, noodles, couscous and more. They have vegan sweets as well, moo free chocolate is one of my favourite things on this earth, and there’s chocolate spread, chewy sweets, milkshakes and an iced coffee! Comida also has 3-4 vegan fillings and a couple of sauces. There’s a vegan option at pie minister, and the new pizza place, plus the student guild shop has a range of amazing vegan lunches, including Southern Fried ‘chicken’ wraps and Char Sui noodles! This is just listing a few of my favourites but there is countless more, we’re spoilt for choice so you won’t have to worry about not finding anything nice to eat.