So you’ve decided you want to go vegan – or you’re thinking about it – but you aren’t quite sure where to start.
There are umpteen ways of going about making the change. If you are in the right headspace, there is no real reason not to go vegan today, right away. Just make your next meal a vegan meal and take it from there, one mouthful at a time.
However, for many people with busy lives or with partners or families to consider too, a more gradual transition may feel more manageable – and that’s perfectly okay too. If you’re making a permanent lifestyle change, particularly if it feels quite radical departure from how you ate before, you may feel more comfortable with the idea of starting slowly.
Some people start by replacing one food at a time – stop buying cow’s milk and replace it with a plant-based alternative, for example. Experiment until you find one you like – soya comes in sweetened or unsweetened and all brands do not taste alike, there’s almond milk, or rice milk, oat milk or coconut milk (I don’t mean the kind that comes in a tin, although that has other uses, there’s a milk alternative called Koko Dairy Free that comes in a carton and is my current favourite in coffee).
Most people, vegan or not, tend to have a repertoire of about 7-10 meals that they cook in rotation, with some seasonal variation. Another practicable way of making the change is therefore to add a new vegan meal to your repertoire. Pick a day when you have a little more time and try a new recipe. If it’s a success, make that recipe again the next week, until you have it down pat. Then add another new vegan recipe. If you add just one new recipe a month then in just six months you could be eating vegan 6 days out of 7.
To be honest though, going vegan is easier than you think. You may get caught out a few times and accidentally consume something you thought was vegan that wasn’t, or get caught short (particularly when travelling) and have to resort to something non-vegan out of necessity, but it’s a learning experience and you’ll soon get the hang of it. Just give it a go!
There isn’t just one way of eating vegan either – once you start to explore you’ll discover there are junk-food vegans, health-freak vegans, body-building vegans, ultra-runner vegans, soya-free vegans, gluten-free vegans, nut-free vegans, cake-baking vegans, fussy-eater vegans, raw-til-four vegans and yes-but-what-about-palm-oil vegans.
How you eat as a vegan will depend on your tastes, nutritional needs, budget and life circumstances.
In our family, we aim to eat a fairly ‘normal’ vegan diet. That means that although we try to eat reasonably healthily most of the time, taste and convenience are important too – eating vegan shouldn’t feel like a sacrifice or a slog.
Browse my recipes for ideas and inspiration as to what to eat when you’re eating vegan – why not start by learning to bake a vegan cake?
Another great source of meal ideas is to explore Instagram using hashtags such as #whatveganseat or #easyveganmeals…. follow me on Instagram at www.instagram.com/veganumptious.
Share your experience or tips for transitioning to a vegan lifestyle below – and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!