So, you’ve either watched a horrific factory farming video, seen a vegan video online, or witnessed cruelty against an animal and now want to become a vegan. No matter what made you want to take that leap, congrats! The animals will appreciate your decision.
Your vegan journey should be eye-opening, life-changing, but also enjoyable. Here are some easy, stress-free tips to help you go vegan and STAY vegan!
1) Learn More About Animal Rights
Watching one video or documentary is a great start, but there is more to learn about veganism and animal rights. It’s important to learn about the many ways that humans exploit animals so that you can end your contribution to that suffering. Doing this research will also help motivate you to fully switch to a vegan lifestyle and stay vegan for life.
Forget how you were taught things at school because that’s the worst way to teach anyone anything! People learn differently and have different needs. Learning should be fun, so find the easiest and most fun way to learn more about animal rights.
For visual learners, videos are the way to go. You can check out Earthlings, Dominion, Lucent, Cowspiracy, Land of Hope and Glory, Cow, The Cove, and Blackfish. Peta has a more comprehensive list of movies for kids and adults that will help teach empathy and also help you learn about animal rights issues and why becoming vegan is so important.
If you like reading or enjoy listening to audiobooks, check out Animal Liberation by Peter Singer, In Defense of Animals by Peter Singer, When Animals Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, and They All Had Eyes: Confessions of a Vivisectionist by Michael Slusher. There is also a great list of animal rights books on Goodreads.
If you have any questions about your vegan journey, want to learn more about veganism and animal rights, or just want to talk to other vegans, Reddit has some great vegan communities like Vegan, Animal Rights, Vegan Anarchism, and Vegan Activism.
2) Wean & Replace
If you love meat and are used to eating it all of the time, it might be easier for you to wean yourself off of meat instead of going cold-tofu overnight.
Start by cutting out red meat, then chicken, then fish. Go slowly and only make the next adjustment once you feel like you’re not missing out on anything. This also works when cutting out dairy and eggs.
When you cut an animal product out of your diet, find delicious vegan replacements, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. Remove the animal product, and replace it with something else that tastes just as good or better.
There’s a wide range of plant-based meat options at many supermarkets now. Not all plant-based meat is created equal. If you don’t like one thing, try something else. Tofu, tempeh, and beans can replace many dishes that typically have meat.
Cheese tends to be a really difficult thing for people to cut out but now you can buy delicious vegan cheese at most markets or make it yourself at home!
Any non-vegan dish can be vegan, even haggis! Look up vegan recipes for your favorite dishes and try them out. Ditch what you don’t like, keep eating what you do. It’s that easy!
3) Learn How to Cook
If you don’t know how to cook, learn! Unless you’re rich and can order out for every meal, learning how to cook is the best option for you because it will save you so much money and you’ll be able to eat well. This is especially important if you live somewhere with limited vegan options.
Another way to learn how to cook is by taking a cooking class. Some vegan restaurants will offer cooking courses, especially in SE Asia. Take advantage of that if you come across a vegan restaurant offering classes.
4) Try Different Countries!
The main reason why meat eaters think vegan food sucks is because they’ve only tried vegan burgers, salads, and pizza. Vegan Western food tends to be bland.
There are so many countries around the world that have delicious vegan dishes. You can try vegan food from Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, China, Mexico, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, and India to start.
Hop onto Happy Cow to find local restaurants that serve vegan food from other countries. Be adventurous and try something you’ve never tried before. If possible, avoid trying non-Western vegan food at Western restaurants since it won’t be authentic and will taste bland.
If there’s an Asian market near you or close enough to you, that place will be your vegan heaven! Asian markets are not only cheap, but are also packed with vegan essentials like tofu, miso paste, tempeh, dried mushrooms, noodles, hot sauce, fresh produce, and so much more!
MommyTang‘s YouTube channel has lots of easy Asian recipes that look and taste incredible.
5) Take Your Vitamins
The most common (and annoying) misconception about a vegan diet is that it’s unhealthy or lacking in nutrients. When done correctly, a vegan diet can be much healthier than an omnivore one.
It’s common for beginner vegans to remove all animal products from their diet, but continue to eat heavily processed food. This is why so many people saying they feel sick after going vegan. If all they eat is pasta and Beyond Burgers, of course, they’re going to have health issues!
A vegan diet isn’t automatically healthy. There’s a lot of vegan junk food out there, which makes it easy to be an unhealthy vegan.
Try to eat organic produce as much as possible since organic produce is more nutrient dense than common produce. Your diet should contain a lot of dark leafy greens and other dark green veggies.
When choosing what to eat, make sure you have a variety of natural colors on your plate. If your plate is all brown, you’re going to end up having health issues. Avoid processed food as much as possible, and eat whole foods. This is something everyone should be doing regardless if they are vegan or not.
It is highly recommended that you take B12 and research other vitamins that you may need. Make sure the vitamins that you buy are vegan because most vitamins contain animal products. If your stomach is sensitive to vitamins, there are vegan vitamins for sensitive stomachs.
To ensure that you’re getting enough nutrients in your diet, you can get a chemistry panel at the doctor. It’s a simple blood test that will check your vitamin levels, electrolytes, and organ levels.
A vegan diet should make you feel energized and healthy. If you’re feeling tired, foggy, or like something is off, that means you need more of a certain nutrient. Do your research and see a vegan nutritionist if you can. Vegan probiotics or eating vegan yogurt and pickles can help balance your gut health and help with a lot of common health issues.
6) Don’t Stress Over Cravings and Slip-ups
It’s normal to have cravings for animal products at the beginning of your vegan journey. Don’t feel bad about that. Understand that you have been eating animal products for your entire life and are undoing decades of conditioning.
Remember why you became vegan in the first place. You’re doing it for the animals. Rewatch Dominion as many times as you need to. Reach out to vegans online and in person if you need support.
If you slip up and end up eating an animal product, don’t beat yourself up about it. You must maintain a positive mindset when transitioning into a vegan diet because when you start feeling guilty and making yourself feel bad, you will be more likely to give up your vegan lifestyle and go back to eating animal products.
Eating vegan is not limiting your diet, it’s expanding into a better one. Not only are you helping end animal cruelty and saving millions of innocent lives, but you’re also opening your eyes and stomach to different food, different cultures, different experiences, and a healthier way of thinking and living.
So, if you end up eating an animal product, fine. Tomorrow is a new day. Start again with a positive state of mind. Journaling can help a lot with letting out any frustration and staying focused on why you’re doing this in the first place.
7) Learn How to Play Defensive Omnivore Bingo
Once you start telling other people that you’re vegan, you’re going to start hearing the same responses over and over again. Meat eaters always make the same, tired anti-vegan comments and non-arguments against veganism.
There’s even a Defensive Omnivore Bingo Card that you can start playing to see how long it takes for you to get BINGO! Should get familiar with these common questions and comments so that you can reply logically and rationally.
If you’re sick of making the same vegan talking points and trust me, you’re going to get sick of it eventually, you can link to Earthing Ed’s Ted Talk entitled, “Every Argument Against Veganism.”
Be polite, calm, and respectful when talking about veganism. You want to show people that vegans are rational and compassionate people who are well-educated on animal rights issues. If the omni you’re talking to is being too hostile or annoying, then just end the argument and walk away.
8) Tell Friends & Family in a Non-confrontational Way…Unless you Hate Your Friends and Family
When telling friends and family about your veganism, tell them calmly and positively rather than attacking everyone for not being vegan. Don’t start acting holier-than-thou. No one likes that. You’re just going to put people off and annoy them. Only go that route if you hate your friends and family and want to start an argument that will go nowhere fast.
If you have receptive family and friends who are interested in veganism and have genuine questions about it, share your perspective and what you’ve learned about veganism. Avoid criticizing their choices and telling them what to do because they will just shut down completely. Be agave nectar instead of apple cider vinegar.
9) Become Involved in Animal Rights Activism
The main reason why so much animal abuse and exploitation exist is that people are uneducated about these issues and have been taught that abusing animals and being speciest is ok. Education is key if we are to end animal suffering once and for all.
There are so many ways to help animals and teach people about animal rights issues. Do what you enjoy and feel comfortable with.
If you enjoy social situations and talking to strangers, then start or join a vegan outreach program where you set up a booth or pass out leaflets about an animal rights issue of your choice. Choose an issue that you feel passionate about and help spread the word. Lifting Vegan Logic has a great video about how to do vegan outreach most effectively.
You can also start an animal rights social media account or blog where you talk, write, or post about animal rights issues, share petitions and raise awareness on different causes.
For those who aren’t into creating content, sharing animal rights content on your social media will help a lot. Even if you only have two followers, you might be able to get one of those followers to become vegan or change their habits that contribute to animal exploitation.
If you’re an artist or writer, you can use your art to raise awareness on animal rights issues. A lot of different animal rights organizations are looking for graphic artists, writers, editors, and videographers to help them with campaigns.
You can find paid work or volunteer for different vegan organizations and businesses. VeganJobs is a great resource for finding volunteer and paid work near you.
Don’t try to do too much too soon. Take it one day at a time. A slow, steady, and stress-free transition into veganism will help make it more likely for you to remain a vegan for the rest of your life.
Remember that you’re doing it for the animals and yourself. Enjoy your vegan journey!