Have you been thinking about going vegan for a while now but just need a little nudge? Because what about bacon?!
I’ve been vegan for over a year and a half now and if 3 years ago you had said to me “you’ll be vegan and never want to eat meat again,”… I would have laughed. Hard. I was a big meat and cheese fan. My transition to a vegan lifestyle didn’t happen instantly. It was a slow process which took about 4 months. I started by being pescatarian, then vegetarian and then vegan apart from a cheese pizza on a Saturday- until I really didn’t want that cheese pizza anymore. Which brings me to my first tip.
1. You don’t have to rush and become vegan overnight.
In my experience, trying to cut out all the foods you once loved and relied on will only amount to giving up. Plus, you’ll probably still have some kind of animal product left in your fridge or cupboard and throwing it away would be wasteful. So finish them and slowly introduce more plant-based foods into your diet.
While you’re making these changes, and even when you are vegan, it’s a great idea to watch documentaries to remind yourself of why you made the decision to go vegan in the first place. So…
2. Watch documentaries.
Some of the films I watched at the start of my vegan journey (if you will) were hard hitting and sometimes difficult to watch. I can not stand seeing any animal being mistreated. However, that is the reality of the industries we no longer want to contribute to. I recommend watching, if you haven’t already seen them: Earthlings, What The Health, The Game Changers, Cowspirary and Forks Over Knives.
One of the reasons I chose to become vegan was to help save our planet. Being vegan even for one month can help save 124,917 litres of water and 84m2 of forest. Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth films were incredibly informative on the topic of climate change. I can’t begin to explain how much they inspired me. Even more recently the BBC released a program called Meat: A Threat to Our Planet? which unearths some shocking truths but also provides balanced, unbiased arguments.
Even after all the publicity veganism has received I still frequently get asked “but… what do you even eat?!” And this question really stumps me because my answer is “well, anything I want?” I never feel like I am missing out and I believe that being Vegan only enhances your options. It’s like you’re opened up to a whole new world of exciting foods and that doesn’t mean expensive ones.
3. Cook for yourself.
Cooking at home is cheaper and can be a lot of fun. I follow a lot of plant-based food accounts on Instagram and this helps give me new ideas when I’ve fallen into a cooking rut. The variety of dishes and flavours that can be created using only plant-based ingredients still amazes me. I’m a sucker for traditional, comfort food and so vegan Spaghetti Bolognese is one of my favourites to make. And not to blow my own trumpet but it tastes even better now that I use The Meatless Farm Co meat-free mince. Bolognese is also a great one to batch cook and freeze for a rainy day.
Going vegan should never feel like you’re restricting yourself or having to monitor what you eat. Every meal you go without eating meat or another type of animal product is a step in the right direction. By deciding to be vegan-as-much-as-possible it still has a positive impact on our environment. Therefore, I say…
4. Don’t be tough on yourself.
If there’s a day where you eat a bit of chocolate or cheese, don’t feel like it’s a mistake or that you have failed. Each new day is a chance to improve on yourself and work out what works best for you and, like with any diet, it’s important that you get all the vitamins and minerals you need.
5. Take vegan supplements.
This just makes sure you’re not unknowingly lacking in anything. For vegans, lacking in vitamin B12 is a common occurrence which can make you feel a bit tired. Although a B12 deficiency is also common in meat-eaters as well, so don’t let that put you off. Just because someone eats meat and dairy does not equate to eating a balanced diet. Cutting out animal products has so many health benefits which you can discover by watching some of the documentaries I mentioned above.
Since making the decision to be vegan I haven’t looked back. I feel healthier and happier. Knowing I’m doing my best to make a difference to our planet is a great feeling and it beats any bacon sandwich you may think you’ll crave. Between you and me, the longer you go without eating meat the less you want it but, until that day, then there are very realistic, delicious vegan alternatives.