Who ever said going vegan has to be difficult? Being vegan is simple and easy if you follow a few principals: cook for yourself, read labels, and eat enough food to feel nourished. In case that’s not enough info to help you go vegan, keep reading for my 10 minute guide to going vegan today!
This blog post should take you way less than 10 minutes to read, and I’ve also thrown in a 10 minute video and some recipes to get you started on your vegan journey.
Simply put, veganism is a lifestyle in which you do not consume animal products for food, clothing, or beauty/personal care. We’re just going to worry about the food part in this post because it’s the core of your vegan life, and because food happens to be my specialty 😉 So let’s jump in to the simple steps for going vegan. If you don’t feel like reading, simply watch the video below!
Create a plan for going vegan
Yep, it all starts with a plan. Hopefully this blog post will help you create one. Ask yourself why you are making this lifestyle shift. Is it for the animals, for your health, or the environment? Or maybe all three. Knowing your why will help you stick with your plan. It’s up to you whether you should go vegan overnight or transition slowly. Ask yourself which is more practical and sustainable. An easy way to get started is by going 100% vegan 1 day a week, then working your way up. Or you could commit to a vegan meal plan but allow yourself to eat animal products outside of your home. Try something and see how it works. If it doesn’t work out, pivot and try something else until you find your flow.
Follow a vegan meal plan every week
Meal plans are everything when your goal is to eat well. I’ve been vegan 10 years and still eat so much better when I’ve meal prepped for the week. Meal planning means you plan out your meals, while meal prepping means you take a day or two each week to cook for the following days. Meal prepping makes your life so much easier, and you will be more likely to stick with your eating plans. I send a free meal prep guide in my newsletter each week. Sign up for that here. You can also find a lot of meal prep blog posts here on the blog, like: $30 meal prep, fast and easy meal prep, and this Caribbean-inspired meal prep.
Follow the 80:20 rule for eating: also, avoid diets
The 80:20 rule means that 80% of the time you are eating wholesome, unprocessed plant based foods––fruits, legumes, whole grains, greens, vegetables, nuts and seeds––and 20% of the time you indulge in processed and sugary or fatty vegan foods. There are so many amazing plant-based products now and it’s more difficult than ever to be a “healthy” vegan. Focus on making unprocessed and home cooked food the core of your diet. Whole foods, like the ones I mentioned above, are more nutrient dense, higher in fiber, full of protein, and bursting with the compounds you need to support your health and feel great.
Don’t get caught up in diets––raw food, high fat low carb, etc––unless you have a medical condition and your doctor or nutritionist prescribes a certain way of eating. Fruit is healthy, wholesome soy is healthy, raw and cooked foods are both good: just stick to 80:20.
Be kind to yourself
If you fall off the wagon, don’t be too hard on yourself. Reflect on what went wrong and get back on. Learn from your mistakes to help you create a stronger foundation for staying vegan.
Take a few supplements: B12, vitamin D, iodine
B12 is the main nutrient you need to supplement when you are vegan. It’s so easy. I like to take a chewable tablet supplement but a pill or spray is fine too. And actually, I really like to streamline my vitamins so I take a simple multivitamin called Ritual that has just 9 nutrients total (all you need). If you want to give that one a try, here’s a discount link.
You should also use iodized sea salt because plant based foods, with the exception of seaweed, are low in this mineral. An iodine deficiency will lead to thyroid issues, so just use the salt.
Give away your non-vegan food when you get started
If you live with non-vegans, don’t give away their food…but maybe give your food to them. Just try to eliminate temptation. The best way to do this is to educate yourself on the plight of animals in the animal agriculture system. That will turn you off real quick. Cheese however, is a different story. It is literally addictive. Learn about the dairy industry, and try your best not to eat it. Try vegan cheese (not addictive) in the meantime––Miyoko’s and VioLife are favorites. You’ll get through the cravings.
A plant eaters social life
Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you have to forgo having a social life. These days people are more comfortable with veganism and are aware of what the lifestyle is all about. If you are eating at someone else’s house or going to a party, take a tried-and-true vegan dish that you love to share with the others. If you are eating out, check the menu to find your vegan option before you show up.
If you encounter haters on your journey, don’t listen to them. Tune them out.
Educate yourself and use trusted sources of nutrition info
Educate yourself with the nutrition knowledge that will give you the confidence and ambition to be successful. My favorite sources of information about vegan nutrition are NutritionFacts.org, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and World’s Healthiest Foods. Watching documentaries is another way to stay informed, motivated and educated. My favorite vegan documentaries are What The Health, Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, and Vegucated.
Join a community
When everyone around you is eating a standard American diet it can be difficult to become vegan. However, when you surround yourself (if even over the internet) with like minded herbivores it becomes easier. The support of others can be essential to our success in any endeavor; going vegan is no different. Join vegan facebook groups, local meetups, and follow vegan bloggers to start building your circle. Ask questions in the comments, help others, and share your story!
Speaking of comments, leave a comment below with your questions about going vegan, or your advice for others!
For more vegan tips be sure to check out my vegan meal preps, my Vegan 101 playlist on YouTube, follow me on Instagram, and sign up for my newsletter which features a free weekly meal prep guide. I’m wishing you the very best!