5 Tips for Transitioning to Veganism

It’s the first week in January and the beginning of Veganuary– a campaign to encourage people to eat vegan for the month of January. This year over 40,000 people have pledged to take part. If you’re one of them you might already be wondering how you can keep eating vegan though out the whole month when we live in a world where eating animal products is the norm and there are so many temptations around!

I took part in Veganuary last year and have been eating a plant-based diet ever since. In this article I want to share with you some of my experiences in transitioning to veganism. Hopefully it will help you enjoy Veganuary and transition to veganism for a month or even more.

tips for being vegan

5 Tips for Transitioning to Veganism

1. Know why you’re doing it

Is it for the animals? The planet? Your health? Or maybe purely for the challenge.

If you know why you’re doing it you can focus on that reason and the bigger picture when you’re faced by temptations and the urge to quit.

Originally, I wanted to try veganism for the health benefits, but then as I learnt more about veganism my motivations changed and I became more concerned about animal welfare and the positive impact that veganism can have in terms of the environment. Everyone will have their own reasons and your reason is just as good as the next persons.

 

2. Make an effort to try new foods

Last year you were probably stuck in the habit of eating the same meals over and over again. If you transfer the same practice towards vegan food you’re likely to get bored and give up. Take Veganuary as an opportunity to get excited about food again and try new vegan foods.

How about having homemade granola with almond milk for breakfast, a delicious vegan soup for lunch and peanut butter dahl for dinner? With delicious snacks like this vegan brownie of course!

I do acknowledge that it can be extra effort to try new things, so, as I mentioned in my ‘how to approach meat free meals’ post, you could just swap out meat for a vegan protein source or non-dairy milk for mylk (e.g. almond, rice, oat) in a recipe that you already love. Plus, there are an increasing number of off-the-shelf vegan options available, which equal zero effort in cooking (although I would generally advocate to make food yourself so you know what went into it).

Last year in Veganuary I set myself the challenge of making a new dish every week – I tried the Nākd Almond & Raspberry Cookies from the Veganuary website and a great vegan quiche from the I Quit Sugar for Life cookbook.

There are lot’s of great recipes on the Veganuary website – look out for my contribution: curried bean burgers.

curried bean burger healthyandpsyched

 

3. Get support through social media and vegan meet-ups.

If you’re stuck for inspiration on what to eat, what products you can buy or anything else related to veganism then get on social media. There are loads of facebook groups and hashtags on twitter and instagram related to veganism. You will be able to ask questions, share your experience, get support and find out about vegan events in your local area.

For me, using the hashtag #Veganuary on instagram really helped me transition to veganism in January 2016 because I felt part of a community and I didn’t want to let them down.

Although – a note of caution. I have had to unfollow some twitter accounts because they were posting too many pictures of injured animals, which made me upset. I have also experienced some negative comments on messages I have posted in facebook groups, for example, when I posted a picture of a fry’s chicken nugget and said it tasted like the real thing! Some people are just plain rude and over opinionated when they are hiding behind their computer screen – so try and take no notice of them. All of the vegans I have met in real life have been lovely and nothing like the vegan stereotypes.

 

4. Don’t worry if you eat animal products

Yep! You read that correctly! Don’t worry if you eat animal products by accident or as a choice. Almost every vegan I’ve spoken to has accidently eaten animal products, for example, if they misread a product label or have been served something they didn’t realise wasn’t vegan until after they’d eaten it. You might also be surprised to learn that many people who identify as vegan have chosen to eat something with animal products at some point for various reasons.

I have previously confessed in my interview with Skating Tomato that I do eat yogurt sometimes when I go back to my parent’s house and it’s in the fridge!! 9 times out of 10 I’m not bothered about it or I can resist, but then sometimes I just feel like I have to try it… or eat a whole 500g tub! The silly thing is I don’t even like the taste of it as much as I used to but I just get a craving at 10pm at night and feel like I don’t have the will power to resist! Another example is that I tried some vegetables from my boyfriends chicken Thai Green Curry when we were in Thailand because I wanted to see how it tasted.

The key message is don’t worry if you eat animal products. It doesn’t make you a ‘bad’ vegan and don’t let it be an excuse to give up on your vegan journey. Just accept it has happened, stop thinking about it and move on.

 

5. Don’t throw away your non-vegan toiletries and leather goods

Don’t feel obliged to throw away the content of your makeup bag or your favourite leather coat. Personally, I don’t think it makes financial sense. It would be much less wasteful to use up the products and then buy new vegan-friendly ones to replace them.

If you do decide that you really don’t want to use them then it would be nice to give the items to your family/friends or unopened products to charities (e.g. a collection for a homeless shelter) so that people can make use of them.

 

Hope this post about transitioning to veganism has been helpful.

Also check out my posts on…

How to approach meat-free meals

Eating out as a vegan: 6 tips to avoid eating animal products or getting hangry

Top 4 vegan fish and chips recipes

Review: 3 vegan blueberry pancake recipes

 

If you have anything else you’d like to know please ask me in the comments or you can use my facebook page.

 

Photo credit: The cow image used in the cover photo is by my lovely friend Adriana  instagram: @a.d.moser. She is also currently vegan and loves sharing recipe inspiration with me 🙂

52 Comments

  1. January 3, 2017 / 6:54 pm

    Great post, Rachel! I like your softly softly approach. I might even reblog it

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 3, 2017 / 7:51 pm

      Thanks Chris 🙂 I don’t want to get all shouty and tell people to GO VEGAN, but I would like to help them if they have decided to. Also I want to share recipes so everyone can enjoy vegan food and reduce their consumption of animal products without even thinking about it.

  2. January 3, 2017 / 6:55 pm

    Oh, except you don’t seem to have a Reblog button

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 3, 2017 / 7:49 pm

      Oh.. Erm… do you know where I can turn on a reblog option?

      • January 4, 2017 / 10:22 am

        Your dashboard should have the option

      • January 4, 2017 / 10:26 am

        Go into themes-customise-widgets – +a widget

  3. January 3, 2017 / 7:29 pm

    A really lovely post and a great way to get people to try it.

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 3, 2017 / 7:48 pm

      Thanks for your comment Lorna. I was a bit worried what people would comment because I don’t usually do posts like this, but your positive response has made me happy.

  4. January 25, 2017 / 10:44 am

    What a great post, I’m not doing Veganuary this year, but tempted to give it a try next year x

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 25, 2017 / 12:06 pm

      It is really interesting to try. I did it last year and am still vegan (apart from the odd thing every now and again that I admitted to in the post). Even if you tried it for a day a week or even a week it does change your perceptions on food.

  5. January 25, 2017 / 11:43 am

    A lovely post especially for those who are thinking of trying it x

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 25, 2017 / 12:07 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I just wanted to get across that you don’t have to be a militant vegan – just do what you can (if you choose to try it).

  6. Lynne Harper
    January 25, 2017 / 12:25 pm

    This is something thats coming up more and more and something that does come into my mind more often now, Its most definitely something i would consider doing and the fabulous alternatives on offer now are incredible x

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 25, 2017 / 12:41 pm

      You’re right- there are lots of alternatives on offer and thankfully enough things on the menu if you’re eating out.

  7. January 25, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    I didn’t take part in Veganuary, but am really trying to make the small lifestyle changes that will add up. Great tips!

    • January 25, 2017 / 2:34 pm

      I think that’s a very realistic and sensible approach. The worst thing would be trying to change everything at once and it not fit with your lifestyle. At least you are conscious of making some changes which is really nice 🙂

  8. January 25, 2017 / 1:53 pm

    YES! I loved it when you didn’t layer on the guilt for eating meat products. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 10 years and I try my best to make ethical choices, stretching to vegan meals most days. I’m a big believer that living this lifestyle takes time to get used to and it’s easy to mess up. I mean, there’s eggs in so many things that you might not think of at first!

    Weirdly enough I broke my vow in Thailand too! That’s because I had a rule – I’ll always ask for the vegetarian option, but I’m not turning down food if someone gets my order wrong. After all, I’m a guest in their country and if the language barrier gets in the way then perhaps I should have made more of an effort with my Thai!

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 25, 2017 / 2:41 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment. It’s hard to make ethical choices all of the time for so many reasons- everyone I’ve spoken to has told me stories of some occasions when they don’t- it’s just impossible to do it and I think it would drive me mad if I had to- I have other priorities sometimes! But I worry that some people are trying to live up to that ideal or think that to be a vegetarian or vegan you have to never deviate from that.
      hahah Thailand is amazing right! I found the people to be extremely helpful and friendly. We had such a nice host one day who ordered everything vegan for me, but when I was on my own I just tried my best to pick things I thought we vegan.

  9. Dannii
    January 25, 2017 / 3:30 pm

    These are all great tips! I recently had to go vegan as my 10 week old daughter has a dairy intolerance (I am breast feeding) and I didn’t eat meat anyway. I am really enjoying trying new things though.

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 25, 2017 / 6:36 pm

      I’ve never heard or thought about that before. I hope that you have a good experience being vegan especially when eating out.

  10. January 25, 2017 / 5:42 pm

    I always try to eat healthy and whole foods and stay away from processed foods but I have never really thought of going vegan. It’s not something I would be opposed to trying sometime but it’s just not something that has ever been on my radar to try.

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 25, 2017 / 6:37 pm

      That’s a good approach to eating. I always try and promote eating lots of healthy wholefoods through my blog.

  11. January 25, 2017 / 6:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing such great tips, I think they’ll help lots of people. I’m not interested in being fully vegan myself but I do strive to add more plant based meals into my diet and tend to have at least one fully plant based meal a day. I do enjoy meat but I don’t miss it from many meals xxx

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 25, 2017 / 6:41 pm

      Thanks Laura. Hope you’re enjoying your plantbased meals. I think the more you eat plantbased meals the easier it is to make them and it becomes a habit rather than an effort. I’m hoping to give people lots of ideas through my blog so they can incorporate some plantbased meals into their diet- I’m not trying to be preachy or ‘convert’ people 🙂

  12. January 25, 2017 / 6:40 pm

    Thank you for the tips! My husband has returned to being vegetarian late last year and I am slowly transitioning into it by eating more plant-based food. I will incorporate the tips you’ve given to help boost me up! Thanks!

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 25, 2017 / 6:42 pm

      Hi Katrina. Glad it was a helpful article- hope you can get some inspiration from my recipe section as well. Do you enjoy cooking?

  13. January 25, 2017 / 7:24 pm

    Peanut butter daal sounds amazing, I love vegan food and your right it is good to branch out of your comfort zone!

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 25, 2017 / 10:27 pm

      Thanks 🙂 Sometimes food experiments don’t work but I think it’s worth the chance because you might find your next favorite food!

  14. January 25, 2017 / 8:45 pm

    Great tips I’ve never thought about becoming vegan I do however have a few meat free days a week.

  15. January 25, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    I think it’s great you have done this as going vegan isn’t easy. I used to be veggie at one time and had to give it up because i was sick of restaurants offering the same boring choices and i don’t cook either. Those burgers look great x

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 25, 2017 / 10:21 pm

      Haha – I get what you mean about restaurants. I usually try and go to exciting vegan places, but when I have to go to the local pub I’m happy to settle for a plain jacket potato- at least it’s something!

  16. January 25, 2017 / 11:18 pm

    Some great tips – I was a vegetarian for a very short time. Unfortunately i found it too difficult due to hating most vegetables. However it made me try more things and find more things i like. It’s all about finding what is right – there are so many alternatives to people with allergies or who wish to be vegetarian/vegan x

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 25, 2017 / 11:22 pm

      I can imagine that would be difficult! I totally agree it’s about finding what works for you 🙂

  17. January 26, 2017 / 6:38 am

    I have actually teased with the idea of trying being a veggie and seeing how I get on first. I find a lot of it for me is eating routines and being stuck in a rut, or no doubt I’d probably be eating more veggie and vegan foods. It’s just lots of exciting bits and isn’t ‘boring’ as people may think.

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 26, 2017 / 10:13 am

      Hey Annie, I think you’re exactly right about eating routines. Now for me it would be strange to base my meal on meat because my brain doesn’t think like that anymore. You could start with finding a couple of veggie/vegan meals you like and having them every week or swapping meat in one of your favorite dishes for some beans/lentils/tofu. Also, you’re probably eating a lot of veggie stuff anyway but don’t realize it.

  18. January 26, 2017 / 9:16 am

    I did veganary last year and have done it for odd months to help with my health and I found that I definitely needed to try new products x

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 26, 2017 / 10:20 am

      Hope it has helped with your health. I think I’ve found some positives and a few negatives health wise. Luckily there are new vegan products coming out all the time!!

  19. January 26, 2017 / 10:15 am

    My friend is vegan and she thought she would struggle but she loves it!

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 26, 2017 / 10:19 am

      That’s so great. I think it really works for some people (myself included), but I think it depends a lot on other life circumstances as well 🙂

  20. January 26, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    I love your post and am so pleased you shared this with everyone. I too am vegan — have been for 9 years (was vegetarian for 15 years prior to becoming vegan). It’s not as difficult or intimidating as most people think and there’s tons of different types of foods to eat as a vegan. I think if more vegans took your approach and offered to help those who are interested in trying it, more people would incorporate veganism into their lives. Taking baby steps and one day at a time is much more manageable than trying to go vegan all at once. Good job on your article! 🙂

  21. January 27, 2017 / 1:20 am

    Great post! A few of my friends have gone Vegan this month. For me personally, it’s something I probably wouldn’t do xo

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 27, 2017 / 10:49 am

      Thanks. Hope yout friends are having a good time eating vegan food – if they ever have any questions I might be able to help with I’m happy for them to email me (not that I claim to know much but I might have some experience with it).

  22. bruisedpassports
    January 27, 2017 / 11:25 am

    Such great tips- really appreciate the fact that you’ve been realistic about it (for eg not throwing away every accessory or shoe that might not be vegan)!

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 27, 2017 / 5:44 pm

      Thank you 🙂 From my experience a lot of people share this approach to veganism and I just wanted to share it- I think there are a lot of expectations about how you should behave if you’re ‘vegan’ and people want it to be very black and white but it really isnt.

  23. January 27, 2017 / 12:39 pm

    These are good tips for those who decide to make that choice. It’s not my path, but I understand and respect the people who chose vegan.

  24. January 27, 2017 / 7:59 pm

    Such a great post with some fabulous tips. My daughter is vegetarian and considering becoming vegan. I plan on showing her your post 🙂

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 27, 2017 / 10:26 pm

      Yay thanks. You sound like a wonderfully supportive parent. My parents weren’t sure about this diet at first and I’m grown up and moved out of home haha! But I think it’s fine as long as you’re eating a good variety of foods and I take some supplements as well just in case.

  25. January 27, 2017 / 8:44 pm

    I really want to try being vegan for a week and see how I go with it so I fund this an interesting read.

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 27, 2017 / 10:24 pm

      Thanks Melanie. I think maybe incorporating more vegan meals into your diet is a good start. When I first went vegan I still really wanted to eat some things such as eggs and salmon and it was hard to resist! It might be easy for you, but just be prepared!

  26. January 28, 2017 / 9:45 pm

    Aw this is a cool post 🙂 I think that it can be applied to any type of diet change one wants to make which is great! x

    • Heathy & Psyched
      January 29, 2017 / 5:08 pm

      Hey Kristina, I think you’re right 🙂

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