Join Vegan Groups on Facebook
There are so many great support groups available on Facebook. These groups are full of thousands of people just like you who are going through just what you are. It’s like a small online community where you can ask questions on veganism, share recipes, and share your own advice. For someone starting out this is a great support network and I really learnt a lot.
Facebook pages that I can recommend are:
- Vegan recipes for beginners
- Vegan intermittent fasting for women
- Sebi Alkaline and electric foods
- Vegan beginners 101
- Plant based eating
- Keto vegan and vegetarian for beginners
- Whole food plant based
Buy a vegan cookbook or search recipes online
If you’re not into social media or simply want an alternative way to search for recipes you can do so online or buy a book. At the start people tend to focus on what they miss, maybe it’s the lack of chocolate cake and chicken nuggets making you want to go back to your original diet. A good way to get over those craving is to search a vegan recipe for what you already love. What I have learnt is there is next to nothing that doesn’t have a vegan alternative:
- Chicken nuggets – Best Vegan Chicken Nugget Recipe
- Chicken wings – Smokey vegan chicken wings
- Pizza – Vegan Pizza
- Chocolate cake – Vegan Chocolate cake
- Cottage pie – Vegan cottage pie
Watch documentaries to remind yourself why you are doing this
Everyone has hard days and food can be very comforting. It can seem a lot easier to go back to what you know and enjoy. When you change to do something new, this is a normal feeling, so don’t feel bad on yourself. The best thing you can do is educate yourself further on why you made this change initially.
Here are some documentaries that I have watched since becoming vegan. Please beware that the animal videos are particularly upsetting and not for the faint hearted. I really applaud the amazing people who took the time to make these as I can only imagine how awful it must have been. These documentaries spread awareness to people who have no idea what is going on and hopefully convert many people to veganism.
- Dairy is Scary – YouTube
- What the Health – Netflix
- Cowspiracy – Netflix
- Earthlings – YouTube
- Dominion – YouTube
Don’t put pressure on yourself and give in to the pressure of others – this is your personal journey
I doubt any vegan woke up one morning and threw out everything that contained animals’ products in their house. I am not just speaking about food but also clothes, toiletries, makeup, furniture etc I just think this is unnecessary waste as you have already purchased the items and would be financially impractical (unless you have loads of money).
Whether you had planned to go vegan for month or if you suddenly decided overnight, this is your life and your decision, and you do this in the best possible way for you. Whatever you do, and however you’re doing it, the most important thing is that you’re making a difference. What matters is that your choices are protecting animals daily, protecting the planet and protecting your own body. You do not have to stop everything in one go.
I was able to cut the animal products in food straight away but in regard to clothing I am still learning – it’s not always as simple as avoiding leather products and there are so many glues and chemicals found in the items we purchase that are derived from animal products. All I can recommend is that you do things in your own time, as when you do, your setting yourself up for success. You will come across many people on the same journey as you but are most likely at completely different stages of the journey. Let’s all create a positive environment where we can share and help others.
Follow food pages on Instagram and Pinterest to make your supermarket shop easier
There are so many AMAZING vegan Instagram pages sharing a variety of options to help us. Loads of pages have great food inspiration, I’m sure we can now make anything all you have to type in is #VEGAN(FOOD TYPE) and thousands of recipes and videos will come up.
I also follow Accidentallyveganuk which has been an absolute life saver. This page reposts instastories and posts of others who have found accidently vegan products in the local UK supermarkets. This is so helpful as means you don’t need to trail though ingredients of every single product you find on the shelves. In my first month of turning vegan I went to Milan and was very worried about what I would be able to eat. Luckily it was easier than I thought but when I got to the airport, I had a couple of minutes to grab something before boarding the plane. Luckily, I spotted Oreos which had been featured on accidentallyveganuk so I immediately knew they were vegan and could quickly buy them.
Look at the menu in advance before booking a restaurant
When I get invited out to a restaurant the first thing, I do is check their online menu. Some restaurants don’t label their options clearly with VG so in that case it’s best to email in advance. There are very few places I have been unable to attend as I can normally find at least one option or put together some sides to create a main. The only time I’ve had difficulty is with set menu’s such as brunches, I normally am unable to get my monies worth as I can only eat one item. I am positive that within time restaurants will improve this.
- Don’t assume that you will automatically be healthier if you go vegan
I think back in the day; you probably wouldn’t have to work too hard to keep healthy and on top of your weight as there used to be hardly any vegan options. Vegans would mainly only have wholefoods, fruits and vegetables as an option – so vegan = top of your health game. Nowadays, I am not complaining, but there are so many options and many of these options consist of vegan junk food. In my first month of going vegan I put on weight trying all the delicious junk food options and going to all these cool trendy restaurants. I have reigned it in now and focus a lot more on a healthy balanced diet. It’s just great to know that you have similar options as everyone else now.
Your taste buds and craving will change
Obviously, if you have been eating meat and dairy almost every day for 20 + years you will be used to the taste and go into withdrawal when you stop consuming it. This is normal, but just like anything else, (such as getting up early or going to the gym), you must be determined to achieve what you set yourself out to do.
Most people struggle with cheese as this is highly addictive. More so than most of you probably realise. There are scientific studies that have proven that cheese can trigger the same parts of the brain as hard drugs – no surprise there then that you can’t stop thinking about those mozzarella sticks.
My answer to this is, where there is a will there is a way, and there are always lots of lovely dairy alternatives. I was very impressed with Papa John’s vegan pizzas and pizza express. Just because you’re vegan it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice once loved foods from your diet completely.
As you learn more you tend to get less shocked about things that contain animal products and realise how essential it is to read the ingredients on any new items you find. Never Assume its vegan. Here are some of the items that contain animal products that shocked me:
- Wine – Some wine companies use animal products like egg whites, fish bladder and gelatine to filter their liquids – Gross
- Beer – same as above goes for beer companies – eww
- Bloody Mary cocktails – this cocktail weirdly often contains anchovies. How unappetising.
- Salted Peanuts – many packeted salted peanut brands contain milk powder.
- Crisps – again milk powder
- Lactose free almond cheeses – despite the lactose free that probably attracted you in the first place, this product can often contain casein which is a cow’s milk protein.
- Sugar – some white sugar is bleached with bone char – yuk
- Vitamin D3 (a common food additive) – this food additive is made with a substance derived from sheep’s wool.
Take and research into supplements to ensure you get a varied and balanced diet
As I have a thyroid problem, I regularly get blood tests, and this highlights any deficiencies I may have. It has been highlighted (before going vegan) that I have lower calcium than most people. I take one calcium tablet daily along with Lysine to ensure that my calcium levels remain up where they should. The lysine helps facilitate the transportation of the calcium into the muscles. Many people assume that I have a calcium deficiency because I don’t drink milk – this couldn’t be further from the truth as calcium is added to plant-based milks anyway and often in high doses. There are studies that have proved that those who consume dairy have weaker bones than those who don’t – I bet that surprised you.
Two weeks after my vegan transition I noticed that I felt extremely tired, it was suggested that this could be due to a lack of B12, so I went out to purchase a B-Complex multivitamin and within a few days felt much better. I take a mixed B vitamin supplement which consists of a mix of B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12. You can also try and get additional B12 naturally but eating marmite and nutritional yeast.
I hope this list helps you on your vegan journey.