The vegan starter kit. An easy 8 step guide that makes changing your life for the better a lot easier!
I wish I would have had a guide like this when I decided to drop meat and dairy all together. But I was pretty unprepared and dived into this adventure headfirst. There were a few struggles and misunderstandings I could have skipped out on if only I had known about these eight simple steps that make the transition a piece of (plant-based) cake!
Honest, fun and unfiltered.
It doesn't matter to me why you go vegan. It matters that you do it at all!
Is this the right guide for you?
You have taken the decision to go vegan or are still trying to figure out how to survive eating nothing but plants? You wonder if a life after cheese is possible and what to tell your father-in-law when he offers you a bloody steak? You don´t know how to shop vegan and avoid setbacks?
Then this is 100% for you!
And by the way… Congratulations! The first step is already taken! You have decided to get on the train to banana island* … Now that was easy, wasn’t it? Let’s make sure it goes on just the same way!
*a place for happy vegans and pink unicorns, where high carb treats grow on trees, green juices flow in rivers and no animal ever has to suffer for the entertainment of human tastebuds.
So, where do you start?
Step 1: BECOME AWARE
Think about how the food you eat makes you feel.
People that claim eating meat and other animal products doesn’t have a negative effect on them, are often out of touch with their bodies. In order for you to be able to really make changes in your diet, you are going to have to find out for yourself how your food affects you personally. Become aware. Consider to start a food diary, take notes. What happens after you eat a non-vegan meal, loaded with unhealthy fats, cholesterol, hormones, antibiotics and the suffering of slaughtered and raped animals? If it already sounds painful, what do you think does such food do to your body? (You might wanna follow up on this and read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell)
On the other hand: How does it effect you when you stick to a vegan diet for a couple of days or even weeks? Do you feel lighter, does your digestion function much better, is your sleep deeper and do you have more energy in general? All these were changes that I noted when going vegan. This alone made me never look back.
Step 2: DO YOUR RESEARCH
You might not like this, BUT: You need to educate yourself! Don´t worry, this is going to be truly helpful and eye-opening. If you use trustworthy sources that provide you with accurate information, you will be able to fully take control of your diet, health and old habits. And you will not struggle when other people are questioning your change! Believe me, this will happen a lot and you want to be prepared!
Don’t waste your time and watch these three films: Earthlings, Food. Inc, Forks Over Knives.
You should also visit the following websites:
And with an answer to almost any question: www.peta.org
I recommend reading the following books:
Step 3: OUT WITH THE OLD; IN WITH THE NEW!
I recommend a gradual approach to improving you diet. It takes years to build a new habit, so why should you attempt to make such drastic change over night?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. To begin with, make gradual changes:
- Get rid of all the junk food in your house and stop wasting your money on that sh*t!
- Replace junk food with a healthier food that you like. Buy kale chips instead of potato chips. Make your own popcorn. Slice apples and dip them in peanut butter. Yes, that is ok! – No animal got hurt molding nuts into delicious butter! Be sure to find replacements that you really truly like. Even if they are a bit naughty – this will help you a lot.
- Buy “fake foods”. Now I am not a fan of copy cats, especially because some fake meats are scarily close to “the real thing” – in my eyes. It is also not the healthy vegan way, to point that out before the vegan police turns red and blue. But whenever it makes it easier to get over cravings or gives you comfort in situations of social pressure (BBQ´s!!!), I say, go for it! Instead of regular cheese, buy vegan cheese (I recommend you try Daiya), instead of sausages, vegan sausages (Tofurky is my go to brand if I need a fix) and so on. Vegan ice cream is dope, too! Believe me… Now this should make your transition easier, but please don´t replace one old habit with a “less bad” one – even if it is cruelty-free.
… I write this and simultaneously post a picture of a vegan donut the size of my face on Instagram XD *nobody is perfect*
Step 4: LEARN TO SHOP LIKE A PRO
There you are. Standing in front of your neighbourhood supermarket. Many things can go wrong at this point. You might be hungry, and shop with your stomach. You ́ll buy whatever is fast and cheap. You could be unprepared and be shopping without a grocery list. You might not know what foods to buy in order to prepare healthy meals.
A rookie mistake. This is easy to avoid.
- Eat something before you go shopping. You can’t shop with a clear head and firm commitment if you are drooling over everything from candy to radishes to doggie treats! Just kidding.
- Now beforehand what you are planning to buy. Write it down! Not only will this make it easier to stick to a budget, it will add an ounce of willpower when trying to avoid foods that you don ́t really want to buy.
- Make sure to always put the following on your list: Fruits and veggies, grains and legumes, frozen goods (I scream for vegan ice cream! But really: berries, peas, broccoli, etc.) and canned goods (beans, beans, beans).
Step 5: START BY SKIPPING EGGS
Truth bomb. Millions of male birds are shredded every year for the production of eggs. Skipping omelettes and scrambled eggs therefore seems like an easy solution. There are only a couple things you might worry about: baking and breakfast.
Baking can be intimidating when you stop using eggs but luckily they are really easy to replace. When you are baking you can use applesauce, mashed banana, a little extra oil, tofu or even commercial egg substitute instead.
The other problem is breakfast. Many people like to have a fried or boiled egg for breakfast. Well, now would be a good time to either start eating oatmeal or figuring out how to make tofu scramble. Quit limiting yourself to cereal in mother milk and chicken period on toast for breakfast and try out all the plant-based options! Becoming vegan opened my eyes and introduced me to a whole new world. I might also have to thank Instagram at this point. Thank you for #pancakeporn #oatmeallove #smoothiebowl #nicecream #avocadotoast #chiapuddingparty and and and
Step 6: ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU ARE NOT A F*CKING BABY COW
Humans are the only creatures on this planet that are never totally weaned.
Most creatures stop drinking their mother’s milk once they are capable of consuming other food. Humans are the only creatures that once they are weaned from their own mother, they start drinking the milk of another mother that isn’t even their own species! There is no other animal on the planet that does this. So, to break it to you gently, you need to grow up and quit using cows as your surrogate mother milk supplier.
Luckily, if you really love milk, there are several delicious alternatives such as soy, almond or rice milk. Experiment and figure out which one you prefer. You can use any of these alternatives just like regular milk including in recipes.
Step 7: FINALLY CUT OUT THE MEAT
Most people think that you should become vegan by stopping to eat meat right away and then cut out eggs and dairy. I went that way and it worked for me, BUT: I can not recommend it for everybody. I think that it is much easier to quit eggs and dairy first. The reason why? They usually aren’t the center of the meal.
Start by doing one completely meatless day every week. Don’t make a big deal out of it. Instead, look up a recipe that is traditionally meat-free, such as indian vegetable curry and don’t mention it to yourself or others. Not eating meat is really not that big of a deal.
Step 8: EXPAND YOUR HORIZON
Quit thinking of how you can’t eat meat, dairy, and eggs and start to focus on aaaall of the other foods that you can thrive on! It is time to reflect on how much you have to be grateful for. There are so many wonderful foods out there that will nourish your body and soon you will start to crave those instead!
Once you are eating a solid plant-based diet, your life will change. You will have an improved health and a vitality that you never dreamed were possible. Now that you have taken control of your diet, it is time for you take control of your life. Because Veganism is about more that what you eat or don´t. Continue reading with my articles on vegan sex and cruelty-free cosmetics!
I hope you enjoyed reading this article or find it helpful at the most! I would be happy to learn about your experience and what helps or helped you on the journey of becoming vegan. Leave me a comment below, I would be happy to get in touch with you and learn about your journey.
Don´t hesitate to contact me via mail if you feel like you need help or counselling!
You can reach me via firstname.lastname@example.org
All the best, Jen May
Featured image by Pineapple Supply & Co. / Unsplash
Wanna hear more about this topic? My friend Emilia from My Vegan Daily filmed an awesome video on the transition to a vegan lifeststyle!
Don´t miss out on it!