5 Must-Read Tips For New Vegans

5 Tips For New Vegans

Whether you're trying out veganism during Veganuary, looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, or are ready to completely switch to the vegan lifestyle; going vegan can be daunting and overwhelming. To make your experience as enjoyable and sustainable as possible, these helpful tips are worth bearing in mind as you embrace your changes.

1 | It's Not "All Or Nothing"

Going vegan can be overwhelming and it can feel like you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders when you learn what happens to the animals, our health, and our planet when we choose to exploit animals. It's not about perfection, it's about intention. It's better to make small changes one step at a time than to try to do everything all at once and risk getting overwhelmed and giving up; it's not "all or nothing" and you don't have to be perfect. Focus on one area of your life before trying to change anything else and you'll find the transition to veganism a whole lot easier to manage.

2 | Plan Your Meals

Dietary changes can be tricky and if you're used to eating certain foods that you can no longer eat meal times can be a struggle. The best work around for this is to plan your meals or at least plan your options. To begin with, work on "veganising" your favourite meals and learn how to cook them. Create a repertoire of "go to" dishes that you can easily cook at home, make for lunch, and have as snacks. Invest in a few cookbooks (I recommend Much More Veg and Thug Kitchen but there are plenty of options to choose from) and always keep your kitchen and pantry stocked up with food staples to avoid the temptation to snack on non-vegan foods.

3 | Eat More

One of the biggest mistakes new vegans make is not eating enough. The typical Western diet encourages restriction and "moderation" because it's heavy on processed foods, red meat, saturated fats, and sugar. Whole plant-based foods are lower in calories and require you to eat a lot of them to pack in enough. On a whole food plant-based diet, your portion size needs to be a lot bigger (or you might find you need to eat more meals) and if you're always feeling hungry then you need to eat more - listen to your body. Eat with abandon and get used to piling up your plate with vegetables!

4 | You Don't Have To Go Without

If you're worried you might have to sacrifice socialising with friends because you've "gone vegan", don't worry about it; there's no reason why you should have to go without. Lots of foods are accidentally vegan and plenty of restaurants offer vegan dishes (or are happy to cater to dietary requirements if you ask). Traditional Western food isn't particularly vegan-friendly; Indian, Ethiopian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Middle Eastern are much better at having accidentally vegan dishes. Unless your friends refuse to eat anywhere except steak houses and carveries, you can continue to dine out with them without any problems. Websites and apps like Happy Cow can help find somewhere you will all enjoy eating. If you have a favourite non-vegan snack or ingredient, look for your alternatives, pretty much anything can be (and has been) "veganised" so there really is no reason to go without.

5 | Mistakes Will Happen

Going vegan is a learning process and it's fairly likely you're going to mess up and eat something that isn't vegan. Perhaps you didn't mean to or maybe you did, that's okay. The important part is not giving up because of a few mistakes or weak moments. If you mess up, forgive yourself and move on. It's not "all or nothing" and making a few mistakes doesn't mean you should stop trying altogether. You don't need to memorise all the facts or even have all your answers figured out. People are going to ask you questions and it's perfectly fine not to have a response figured out. No one is asking you to be perfect.

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5 Tips For New Vegans