If your question of how to go vegan and stay vegan led you to this post, then let us first congratulate assuming you’ve decided to go vegan! Even if you haven’t, this post can help you to a great extent if you’re seeking information as to how it can be done.
Most will easily realize the motives to become a vegan but possibly feel like this girl in the image trying to figure out the path in their vegan journey.
Perhaps you’re looking for some advice on how to begin or how to continue and overcome any hurdles you may have down the line.
That’s what this post is all about. Answering the questions, how to be vegan and stay vegan, without giving up!
There could be many reasons for going vegan for different individuals. Could be due to the suffering of our fellow animals, a desire to improve your health or lose weight. Perhaps you’re concerned over the damage caused to our environment through factory farming.
Let’s see some of the tried and tested tips to go vegan and stay vegan forever…
1. Embrace Your Own Pace!
Some people experience a light bulb moment; something just clicks for them and they decide then and there that they’re going for it firing on all cylinders.
But we’re all different and making progress is infinitely better than doing nothing being overwhelmed by what is after all, quite a lifestyle change!
You don’t have to declare from the rooftop that you’re now a vegan to the whole world and never going to touch any animal products ever again, and later embarrass yourself by falling short.
Don’t feel pressured into going any faster than what feels natural for you.
Truth is, it is about working towards a goal sincerely to the best of your ability and not about getting a label called “vegan” or trying to attain perfection.
The best way to start on a vegan journey is to educate yourself. There is no “one size fits all” approach and like any lifestyle change, it may take some time to find the approach that works best for you. Since eating is something you have to do every day a good way to start is by exploring the different vegan diet options and finding vegan alternatives to some of your favorite meals.
Your adoption initially can be based on certain days, particular meals or even products. It can be as simple as removing meat, eggs, and dairy just one day a week and building from there, or slowly starting to incorporate plant-based alternatives one meal at a time. You may also try adopting a vegan meal just for breakfast or lunch at first. If you find something you like, go with it! Try swapping cow’s milk for soy or almond milk alternatives.
If you tend to eat out a lot, start going for the vegan options on the menu of your local restaurants and find your favorites. If they inspire you enough, try and make them yourself!
Armed with the internet, you’ll find that there’s a vegan alternative to pretty much every non-vegan meal out there. Hence, you don’t have to miss out on any of your favorite foods, if you do your homework or get creative.
If you embrace health benefits of a vegan diet, remember where those benefits come from:
- Veggies (including greens)
- Nuts & seeds
Gradually incorporate more of them into your daily routine until they start to crowd out the less healthy options.
Like your eyes readjusting to a dark room, you’ll soon find that your taste starts acclimatizing to natural foods that aren’t packed with salt, oil and sugar. Pack some fresh fruits with lunch, have a salad at dinner, or a smoothie for breakfast.
The more veggies, fruits, nuts & seeds you have in your daily diets, you would have less room for the non-vegan options. Most importantly you will find a newly found craving for plant-based foods, which is healthy as well.
Be patient, be gentle with yourself, and you will get there!
If you slip up, you haven’t failed. You’ve learnt something valuable that will help you progress better. Veganism isn’t a destination, it’s an on-going journey to becoming more conscious of the impact you have on yourself and the world around you through the choices you make each day.
All you need to do is focus on making better choices at the moment, one step at a time.
2. Comfortable With the Change? Now Keep Evolving!
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says a vegan diet is only healthy if it’s well-rounded and planned out .
Therefore, a diet focused on whole foods in their natural form is the easiest way to ensure you get all the nutrients you require. And it can be ridiculously easy!
Keep your kitchen well stocked with healthy, easy options that you can grab in a hurry. If time is limiting for you, cook large batches of food so you can freeze some. Keep some whole grain muesli or granola, and plenty of fruits, nuts & seeds available for a quick snack.
Do your homework. What foods that you like (that are vegan-friendly) do you need to start putting in your diet? Nuts? Plant milk? Oatmeal? Beans? Greens? See how you can cut out honey, gelatin, and other ingredients sourced from animals as well. You can find many vegan substitutes for these ingredients today.
To keep yourself healthy keep close tabs on nutrients like,
- Vitamin B12
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Vitamin D
Every now and then, you may get a health check-up to make sure your health is in good shape. Though we always recommend getting your nourishment from whole foods as much as possible, if you find it difficult to get certain nutrients from your diet, you can always consider fortified foods or vegan supplements to compensate for any deficiencies (especially keep tabs on vitamin B12).
Be mindful not to get overly addicted to vegan substitutes, but vegan ice creams, cookies, and chocolates can be helpful in breaking the routines and satisfying your sweet tooth! Oh yeah, that’s part of being healthy, keeping yourself happy!
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment!
Embarking on a new diet and lifestyle involves change!
This is an excellent opportunity to discover new taste sensations. Try new things and put a brand new spin on all your old favorites.
You don’t have to be a professional cook to achieve this. You wouldn’t believe the number of meals you can easily prepare from things already in your kitchen or from local groceries.
There are so many vegan recipes available, which you can find in our own website (check recipes section on the top menu), check online and in bookstores that are bound to inspire you!
This is your time to explore, get creative and learn new skills in the kitchen! Woo hoo!
Here are some other quick tips:
- Consider some healthy meat substitutes like mushrooms, jackfruit, eggplant – whatever you fancy!
- If you don’t like the idea of having your tea or coffee plain or black, spoil yourself with some almond or cashew milk so you don’t feel like you’re being deprived of dairy.
- Be experimental and prefer a range of vegan food and recipes to avoid monotony and boredom. Today, there are plenty of foods & vegan brands that you can choose to keep your taste buds happy providing substitutes for meat, eggs, dairy milk & cheese. There are many vegan chocolate brands and fortified food as well!
- Keep your eyes open for the ever-increasing vegan restaurants and other fine dining, casual or fast food chains. Many Mexican, Mediterranean, Italian, and Indian restaurants will have vegan options on the menu! Even at a grill house, you can always make your own meal from sides – some steamed rice, grilled veggies, spinach and baked potato make for a delicious vegan meal. Check our guides for vegan restaurants and eating out as a vegan!
- Apps like Happy Cow are also extremely useful in finding vegan-friendly restaurants when you’re traveling or visiting a new area. Remember to leave a positive review and share a great experience with others!
- If you’re an athlete or bodybuilder you can still adopt a vegan diet without any hesitation. You can get your carbs, protein, and fats with no fuss and there are many role models for motivation!
- Be an ambassador! If you feel you can make a vegan meal which others will enjoy, share it with friends at work or take it to a dinner party and wow them! Not only you will satisfy their appetite but will help them discover how they too can make that transition from eating flesh to savoring fresh, plant-based whole foods.
4. There’s No Need To Break The Bank!
Looking at the price tags on some of the vegan products at the supermarket may give you an impression that some vegan food is expensive – yes, may be the case with faux meats, vegan cheese, and vegan ice cream.
But the healthy whole foods like beans, rice, legumes and other grains are literally some of the cheapest foods in the supermarket.
If you’re on a budget make these the core of your diet and you will almost certainly end up saving money on groceries!
Seasonal veggies and fruits are often surprisingly affordable, especially sourced from a farmer’s market. Cabbage, butternut, pumpkin, spinach, and carrots are usually quite cheap. See what your local selection is like and try to build some meals around it.
Focus your meals around these affordable options:
- Seasonal vegetables and fruits
- Pulses and legumes like lentils, beans, peas and other varieties
- Pasta / Noodles
- Rice and other grains like barley, rye, millet, and quinoa
- Wholemeal bread
- Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkin
You can also consider & try growing some of your own spinach, kale and kitchen herbs in your garden to bring down the cost further and have the best quality for you and the family.
One thing is for sure, that a bill for a balanced vegan diet should not be expensive than a non-vegan diet, if anything, you may find yourself saving money. The more creative you become and the more local market knowledge you acquire this becomes a breeze with time.
Check our article with many tips for going vegan on a budget.
5. Ethical Considerations—What About The Non-Vegan Things I Already Own?
Some people feel that once they’ve embraced the ethical side of veganism they shouldn’t continue with any products of non-vegan origin. This is entirely up to you. If you feel guilty of wearing leather shoes, leather jackets or wool coats that you bought before your transition, you can get rid of those.
Others may feel that because these products are not having an influence on demand anymore that there is no reason to throw away such items. Essentially, this decision is up to you and whatever you decide is completely fine, after all, what matters is how you personally feel!
6. Dealing With Family and Friends
Although perceptions are slowly but steadily changing, there are some who may still believe in the inferior myths about vegan diet & lifestyle. Parents can feel especially concerned over the new diet pursuits of their children.
They may also feel that their children or family members are rejecting family tradition by no longer partaking in the same meals the family used to enjoy together.
You know your family better than anyone.
So will they feel reassured if you have some scientific articles & evidence to back your diet & lifestyle? Will it help better to point them in the direction of some successful athletes that follow a vegan diet?
Answers to these questions may help convince your closed ones. Always maintain a positive attitude, and composure.
Tell them you feel great and most family members will be happy for you. Generally, convincing them is best done through example, and dialogue, but not through argument!
Be as respectful as you can, and sometimes, time and patience may be your best tools to solve any continuous resistance. Try bringing some delicious vegan offerings along with you to family occasions so they know you’re doing your best for them.
7. Keep Learning!
One of the most empowering aspects of being a vegan is the doors it opens once you have made the connection between the foods on your plate, products you use, and the world around you.
You become aware of the power that your choices have for the animals on this planet, your health, and the environment.
Once the doors are open, there’s a whole new world to explore.
Expect to learn more about nutrition, health in general, animal & environmental ethics and much more!
Embracing veganism takes a certain amount of courage and remember it has a learning curve which needs time. Hence allow yourself enough time to learn different aspects of veganism and don’t forget to take pride in the progress you’ve made and pat yourself on the back!
8. Remember Your Motives and Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Help
Out of everything you’ve learned so far if we were to tell you the most important thing to remember, that would be your motives for going vegan in the first place.
Your motives could have been to not take part in harming animals, for better health, have the least impact on the planet, etc. Some of these motives could be so profound, the mere remembrance of those would be enough for many to stick to their vegan lifestyle.
You may still have questions like,
- How to bake without eggs?
- Where can I find vegan chocolate?
- How do I tell my family about my decision to go vegan?
If you have these questions, there is nothing to fear! This website is full of information and resources covering different aspects of veganism. Just navigate on the site menu to find out! You can also subscribe to our free newsletter for frequent updates.
There are vegan forums for every lifestyle and plenty of groups you can join on social media that allow you to connect with people who have faced and conquered the issues you might be experiencing!
We live in a connected world and make use of it! You’re certainly not alone and connecting with other vegans in your area or across the globe is a wonderful way to stay motivated and inspired.
Now that you know how to become vegan and stay vegan, during any lows you may have, just remember the profound reasons for choosing a vegan lifestyle. Take a deep breath and reflect on all the benefits a vegan lifestyle offered you, and how good it makes you feel.
If you’re struggling with something, there is always help at hand, and there are always new things to try.
Reading educational vegan books, watching informative & inspiring videos, talking, chatting, connecting with other vegans or keeping photos of animals may help a great deal.
By going vegan you really are making a difference to yourself, for the animals and to the environment. Be proud of the amazing & earnest way you’ve chosen to live your life – as a force for good – and make sure you enjoy it!
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rachel frampton says
My husband and I would like to start a healthy living, which is why we’re thinking of hiring a vegan trainer that will help us with this journey. Anyhow, thank you for sharing here that the process may take a while, but that’s alright. We’ll also keep in mind to stock our fridge with healthy options.
Dishan Mendis says
Hi Rachel, that’s great! Indeed a vegan diet can provide many health benefits (besides being a compassionate diet) and I am talking with first-hand experience. Here’s a post that talks about the numerous health benefits a vegan diet can provide: “Health Benefits of Vegan Diet”. Hope it will reassure your decision. Just take your time and make it a smooth transition. Please feel free to reach us if you need any help and wishing y’all a fantastic vegan journey!
I love this article. It is so informative and is full of reassurance for anyone considering the vegan lifestyle. I actually looked into it a little while back but am just unable to take the leap. I was a vegetarian for 8 years but I really love juicy burgers, steaks, and cheese, so I could not realistically do it. I do try and eat healthy alternatives though as much as possible.
Dishan Mendis says
Hey Lea, thanks for leaving your thoughts! Exciting to know that you were a vegetarian for 8 years and that’s just awesome! Thumbs up for the effort you’ve made. Glad that you found this article informative and I am flattered.
I do wonder though, whether you ever considered vegan alternatives/substitutes for steaks, burgers, and cheese. To tell you the truth, going vegan doesn’t have to be about sacrificing your taste or boredom. At least, not the case with the modern vegan where options are plenty!
Meat alternatives can be mushrooms, jackfruit, and eggplants or if it’s for the occasional craving can even consider meat analogs (recommended only in moderation). You can also create great vegan burgers out of chickpeas, avocado, tempeh, black beans, beets, mushrooms, etc. (can even make it smoky). Just a simple online search for recipes will do the trick. For cheese, there are so many vegan cheese brands with different types like soy (Non-GMO), nuts, seeds and rice cheeses.