For whatever reason that brought you to this page today, I hope to show you how easy and cheap it is to become a vegan. It is the best thing I have ever done for myself, for the animals and for the planet and I truly feel wonderful. I also had many doubts and concerns when I began my transition to veganism. I thought I would never get to enjoy tasty food, that I would not get enough nutrients and protein and that I would be broke from all the weird food I would need to buy. I couldn’t be further away from the truth. I have saved money, lost weight, changed my health and actually improved my mental wellbeing. Here is how I did it and how you can do it. By reading this post, you are already one step closer.
What do you want to achieve in becoming vegan?- DISCLAIMER
Your reasoning in becoming vegan is completely personal and it is different for everyone. Ongoing research shows its health benefits so many people want to lose weight or improve existing health conditions. For others it is an ethical or environmental decision due to the horrific conditions in which animals are kept. For me it was purely ethical as I have always been a huge animal lover and activist. I just couldn’t eat animals anymore. It did not make sense to me when there are other, kinder ways of living. However, veganism is not a cure-all solution. As a health science student, I can confidently say that diet is one of the main factors that determine our health. What we put in our body will directly affect how we look, feel and behave. Having unrealistic expectations about what becoming vegan will do for you often sets people up for failure. Many people expect to instantly lose weight and feel incredible, but these things take time. Don’t get me wrong, a healthy vegan diet is absolutely incredible, but health is a much bigger picture and diet is just one step.
It takes a couple of months to see the full effects of a dietary change for most people, but some things can be felt immediately such as more energy, clearer skin and increased concentration. Things like weight loss take time and effort. I like to think of everything as a balance. A healthy, vegan diet is great but so is regular exercise and sleep. Initially when you become vegan, you may still be figuring out what to eat, how much to eat and your body will still be recovering from all the old foods you used to eat and your body needs time to do this. It is also possible to be an unhealthy vegan, so i am hoping my method will help you avoid this. Get this combination of things right and you are going to feel on top of the world. Now I have said this bit, let me get into the tips and tricks on how you can transition to vegan.
Take Your Favourite Foods And Find A Vegan Alternative: HUGE LIST OF FOODS YOU CAN HAVE
For every food you love, there is a vegan alternative and knowing yours can really help cure cravings. In pretty much all major supermarkets you can now get vegan cheese, milk and ready meals due to growing demand. My favourite brands are the Quorn Vegan range of burgers, chicken and sausages, Linda Mccartney pies and choritzo and Tesco’s own brand of vegan food in the frozen section that includes bean burgers, falafels, meat substitutes and more! You’ll be amazed by all of the accidentally vegan foods as well! Here is a list (credit to veganuary.com) of the most common. I have created my own list of favourite products too!
- Pasta (dry): almost all dried pasta is made without egg and is therefore 100% vegan
- Baked Beans (original recipe, without cheese or sausages etc.)
- Tinned/Canned Spaghetti (original recipe, without cheese or sausages etc.)
- Yeast extracts like Marmite and Vegemite
- Most fresh bread is vegan and Ciabatta, by its very nature, is always vegan as it is made with olive oil
- Peanut Butter
- Tomato Sauce/Ketchup
- HP/Brown sauce
- Bisto Gravy: Original, Reduced Salt, and Onion
- Mustard: whether it’s Dijon, wholegrain, English or American
- Branston Pickle
- Hot sauces like Tabasco and Siracha
- Rice noodles: when ordering a Chinese takeaway, just ask for rice rather than egg noodles
- Jam: typically made with pectin (to thicken) rather than gelatin
- Chips/French fries: if cooked in veggie oil then they are vegan!
- Porridge/Oatmeal: when made with water or plant milk
- Crumpets: Warburtons, Tescos and Sainbury’s are all vegan
- Doritos: Chilli Heatwave and Lightly Salted
- **Oreos: Original
- Fox’s: Dark Chocolate Chunkie Cookies, Party Rings
- Co-op Jam, and custard doughnuts
- Bird’s Custard (when made with plant milk)
- Walkers Crisps: Ready Salted, Salt and Vinegar and Prawn Cocktail, Worcester Sauce
- Pringles: Original, BBQ Sauce, Texas BBQ, Paprika and Smokey Bacon
- Mr Kipling: Treacle Tart, Apple and Blackcurrant Pies
- McVities: Fruit Shortcakes, Original and Choc Chip Hobnobs, Gingernuts, Light Rich Tea
- Ritz Crackers: Original, Crisp and Thin (Sea Salt & Vinegar, Sweet Red Chilli, Sea Salt & Black Pepper)
- Sainsbury’s Cream Crackers
- Nairn’s Oatcakes: Dark Chocolate Chip
- Lidl’s Bramley Apple Pies
- Belvita Breakfast ‘Tops’: Choco Hazelnut
- Sainsbury’s Chicken Flavour Instant Noodles
- Kettle Chips: Sea Salt, Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar and Cracked Pepper
- Guinness Rich Beef Chilli Thick Cut Potato Chips (yes, really!)
- MacSween Vegetarian Haggis
- Ritter Sport chocolate: Marzipan
- Skittles: E120/carmine/cochineal has been removed from the ingredients list in the UK. Only a few old packets (with E120) still exist. So if a pack is marked ‘Suitable for vegetarians’ then it will be vegan and safe to eat!
- Millions: All flavours except Chocolate Strawberry
- Haribo: Vegetarian Rainbow Twists, Vegetarian Rainbow Strips
- Snyder’s Jalapeno Pretzels
- Jus Rol: Gluten-free Puff Pastry, Pan Au Chocolat, Croissants and Cinnamon Swirls
- Tesco Apple Strudel
- Tesco Chocolate And Hazelnut Filled Mini Churros
- Bourbon Biscuits: most brands, but always check the label first.
- Lazy days rocky road is to die for!! It can be found in Sainsburys in the free from section (as can most vegan snacks)
- Alpro milks such a coconut, almond and cashew
- Oatly Oat Milk and Oat cream
- Rude Health Instant Porridge
- Rude Health Almond Milk
- Green And Blacks Dark Chocolate 70%
- Chilli Heatwave Doritos
All of these things do not include the basic staples of a vegan diet such as fresh fruit and veg! You can always by frozen fruit and veg so that it lasts longer.
Try New Foods
The main thing I did that helped me transition to vegan was trying random recipes. My partner and I would just try cooking everything and anything to find what we love. We still try new recipes every single week! Becoming vegan has widened the variety of food i eat. My favourite recipe sites are :
Stock Up On Staple Foods
Make sure you have the basics for a vegan diet in your food cupboard that are used for a large amount of dishes. My list of foods I recommend you stock up on:
- Beans such as lentils, chickpeas, baked beans and mixed beans.
- Nutritional Yeast- I use this to add a cheese flavour to dishes
- Grains such as rice, quinoa , bulgur and spelt
- Nuts such as almond and cashews (I use these a lot in baking desserts and thickening curries)
- Vegetable stock- You will get through SO MUCH OF THIS
- Maple Syrup
- Agave Nectar
- Flax seed (a great egg replacer in recipes)
- A huge variety of herbs and spices (i prefer to use dried as much as possible as it is cheaper)
- Rolled Porridge Oats
- Indulgent snacks such as dark chocolate, biscuits etc to satisfy cravings
- Everyday snacks like veg crisps, dried fruit, bars and snacking nuts. I love getting a SourcedBox to give me healthy snack ideas!
When I shop for food, I dont actually have to buy much- I normally just get bits I need for a recipe like a few bits of fresh vegetables or fruit to snack or make juices with. You can still go out to eat as well as most places have vegan options. Zizzi is particularly good for vegan food and their Lentil Ragu is to die for and I have even made my own version of it at home many times!
Take Your Time
It can be a shock to the system to go vegan overnight unless you have done a lot of preparation and have a stock cupboard of food ready. Take it in steps.
- If you eat meat, try cutting down to just one meal a week with meat, and then slowly introduce new foods and cut things out as you find alternatives. Make your usual meat dishes with vegan quorn meat or other replacement products! If youre not used to cooking a lot, try making two homemade meals from a recipe a week.
- Cutting out dairy was the most challenging part for me. You can try vegan cheese alternatives or use nutritional yeast and test out loads of different plant milks until you find your favourite. I like soya milk in tea and coffee, almond milk in porridge, oat milk in smoothies and cooking as well as cashew milk! I am not a huge fan of rice milk, but you may love it! Most dark chocolate is vegan but always check the ingredients! You can get lots of dairy free yogurts as well.
- Do not feel bad if you slip up. The fact you are trying to do this is a step forward already and it can be challenging adopting a new kind of diet if your used to your normal routine.
You may surprise yourself…
You will likely find going vegan is much easier than you think when you prepare yourself correctly and the benefits far outweigh everything else. The main surprise for me was my improved mental health. When I put all these good foods in my body, I feel good. My anxiety reduced, my focus and motivation was better and my new energy made every day so much better and easier. Also, knowing I am saving animals everyday is wonderful. The average vegan will save 198 animals a year and as I am in this for ethical reasons, it really reminds me that I am doing a great thing. I also lost body fat, my nails got stronger after constantly spitting, my severe hormonal acne reduced, particularly on my face and became less inflamed after years of needing medication to reduce it and my hair looks pretty shiny too! I have increased awareness now for the environment too and I am very grateful for the beautiful world we get to call home. I hope this post has helped you a bit and I wish you the best on your vegan journey!
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