So you wanna try a plant based diet? Firstly, GREAT!!! I’m super excited for you.
Whether you’re been trying veganuary, or just have an interest, here are some of my tips for switching to a plant based diet.
Go at our own pace
Some people will go all-in from being a carnivore to a vegan over night, for others it takes a little longer.
I was the latter I have been following a plant based diet for around 5 years now but it wasn’t a quick process, first I was pescatarain, then vegetarian, the I cut out dairy, then eggs, now I’m fully plant based.
For me the slow and steady approach was the only way I knew I would be able to stick to a diet long term and as someone with a troubled history with food it was also a way which I could make the transition without relapsing or putting to much pressure on myself or my digestive system.
Not ready to go all in this year? Why not do a few swaps in your shop to find some plant based products you love, or next time your in Greggs go for the vegan sausage roll instead of the meat one? Changing small habits can make a big impact and you might even surprise yourself and find vegan options you like better than your usuals.
Turn Your Favourite Meals Vegan
Being plant based doesn’t mean you have to cut out your favourites.
You can make the switch slowly by trading in your chicken nuggets for vegan nuggets and your lamb curry for a veggie version, for example.
I’m not gonna pretend that all vegan substitutes will be a perfect swap but vegan food has come a long way in the past few years and it’s fun trying new things until you work out your favourites.
Going veggie or vegan is so much easier than it used to be — supermarkets now have a vast array of products, most restaurants, takeaways, and bars also have vegan or veggie alternatives so it’s super easy to make a swap.
“But don’t you miss, meat, cheese, etc?”
I often get asked “but don’t you miss [insert meat or dairy]”, and you know what, kind of. I was brought up on meat and two veg and used to be obsessed with cheese, so I’m not gonna pretend that these food are not tasty and don’t hold nostalgic memories, but for me it is about living my life with as much compassion as possible. It might sound dramatic but the thought of a beautiful creature losing it’s life so I can have a moment of enjoyment just doesn’t add up to me.
On top of the animal welfare issue that come with the meat and dairy industry there are also the environmental issues. I could write an entire post on the positives of going plant based that massively outweigh any food favourites. For me it’s about big picture thinking.
Don’t be so hard on yourself!
Everyone is going to have slip-ups or consume something that we thought as plant based but contains hidden milk powder, eggs or some other animal derived ingredient.
That does not mean you have to throw the towel in. Any reduction in animal products is a win! Celebrate your progress towards a plant based lifestyle instead of dwelling on any mistakes you might have made.
Don’t know something? Ask! Honestly some vegans are extremely passionate and may seem super intimidating BUT there are loads of us out here who are open and willing to answer any questions you might have and support your desire to learn more. I am in no way an expert and ask questions all the time.
This also come to menu items: not sure if something is plant based, just ask your server, more often than not they’ll know, and if they don’t they’ll ask the kitchen.
People will probably also ask you questions when you tell them you have changed your diet. Some are genuinely interested others — I’m afraid — are judgemental.
It can be super difficult but I try to stay open and calm even in a combative conversation because I always want people to feel that they can ask me anything and hopefully it will help open up a space for a more balanced chat next time.
Also, if I don’t know the answer I just say ‘I dunno’, there’s no shame in not being some sort of guru, we’re all just trying our best.
Be open to trying new things, there are so many veggie combos I thought I would hate but have turned out to be awesome.
Even be open to trying things multiple times! When I first had tofu I thought it was grim because I just shoved silken tofu in a pan, but there are so many types and ways to prepare it that tofu is now a staple in my diet.
Check your privilege
Being able to go plant based is a privilege.
Socio-economic backgrounds, health issues, or a variety of other reasons can make it difficult or practically impossible for some people to make the change to plant based. Just something to keep in mind if you’re trying to make the switch.
Follow Plant Based People
An easy way to pick up tips and tricks is by switching up your social media. Followings plant based accounts is such an easy and passive to learn more and open you up to a new community. Here are some of my favourites to get you started.
Accidentally Vegan UK – From plant based supermarket The Vegan Kind, get info on all plant based releases
Richa Hingle – For Great plant based Indian recipes and more
Ella Vegan – London based vegan food blogger
Candice | The Edgy Veg – Canadian plant based food writer, YouTuber and with badass recipes
Joanne Molinaro – The Korean Vegan, NY Times best selling author
Sam | No Meat Disco – Plant based recipes with soul
BOSH! by Henry & Ian – Easy plant based recipes and one of my favourite cook books
LiveKindly – News and opinions on living life compassionately
Phil – Bearded Vegan Chef – Exactly as the title suggests a bearded pro chef sharing recipes
Loretta – Nil by Mouth Foodie – Can’t eat but creates amazing, vegan, gluten free meals
Got anymore resources, people to follow, or tips? Leave them in the comments!