Nobody said going vegan was easy. And if they did, they’re probably lying. Unless you already live in a house of vegans who are ready to cook your food and educate you, then going vegan will always be somewhat difficult.
If, like many people, you’ve grown up eating meat and don’t know much about buying, cooking and ordering vegan food, then going vegan can be somewhat of a challenge. But, any barriers that you have to becoming vegan can be overcome, with a little work.
How to go vegan easily
Follow this step-by-step guide to becoming vegan and smash through those barriers that have been preventing you from living your best vegan life…
1. Know why you want to go vegan
If you don’t have a clear purpose, you’re going to cave the first time you walk into a restaurant and the only vegan item on the menu is a side salad.
If your answer to “Why are you going vegan?” is “Lots of reasons, really”, then you’re going to forget your reasons for going vegan the first time you smell a cheese pizza cooking.
Top 3 reasons to go vegan:
- Stop cruelty to animals
- Prevent and treat diseases
- Lower your carbon footprint
Pick the one thing that resonates with you the most. Remind yourself of your reason why each time you look at an animal product.
2. Educate yourself
It’s easier to go vegan if you know all the gory details behind your reasoning. Horrible as it may be, you need to know all the consequences of animal agriculture if you want to take a stand against it.
Netflix is a great place to start when educating yourself about why veganism could be the right lifestyle choice for you.
- Care about animals? – Watch Earthlings and Okja
- Care about your own body? – Watch Forks over Knives, What the Health and The Game Changers
- Care about the planet? – Watch Cowspiracy and H.O.P.E.
You’ll also find tons of information to help new vegans online. I particularly like this Vegan Diet for Beginners guide which has loads of info about what vegans can and can’t eat and how to make your life easier as a new vegan.
3. Go vegan slowly
The faster you go vegan, the higher your chance of failure. Go vegan overnight when you have a house full of non-vegan food and no vegan cooking skills and you’ll find it virtually impossible. It’s a horrible feeling to be staring into your refrigerator, hungry, saying ‘there’s nothing good I can eat’.
Plus, going vegan cold turkey is almost certain to cause unwanted side effects.
The easiest way to go vegan is to take at least a month to transition. Take several years to transition if that’s easier for you. Better to do that than to go vegan overnight and give up after a week.
For help with going vegan, take a look at the One Month Vegan Challange.
Going vegan slowly will give you the chance to:
- Educate yourself by watching vegan documentaries
- Eat up all the non-vegan food in your house
- Try new foods and figure out what you like the best
- Make a mental list of local restaurants and takeaways that have good vegan options
Then, by the time you’re ready to quit consuming animal products altogether, you’ll find it much easier to do.
4. Focus on the food to begin with
In the full sense of the word, being a vegan means avoiding everything which causes harm to animals.
Things which vegans should avoid:
- Food which includes traces of animal ingredients (like beer)
- Cosmetics which have been tested on animals or include animal ingredients (like eyeshadow)
- Products which damage the environment (like bleach)
- Industries which violate the human rights of workers (like coffee)
- Clothing which is made from animals (like wool)
- Visiting animal attractions (like zoos)
However, these things are often the hardest to avoid and also have the lowest impact on animals, your health and the planet.
Follow the Pareto principle
The Pareto principle states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This principle can certainly be applied to veganism…
Even if you focus on only 20% of veganism (avoiding meat and dairy where it’s convenient to do so) then you will enjoy 80% of the benefits.
If you’re worried that going vegan is too hard, then just focus on the food to begin with. Don’t worry about checking labels and worrying about dodgy ingredients like casein, shellac, gelatin and isinglass.
Don’t worry about whether your coffee is sustainable and your bananas are fair trade. And please don’t throw out your old woolly jumpers in favour of vegan fashion.
Sure, you might be a strict vegan one day. But at the start of your vegan journey, you just don’t need to worry about all that stuff.
5. Don’t give up
It’s common to make mistakes when you first go vegan. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Even if you fall off the wagon in a major way and find yourself halfway through a meat feast pizza at 3 am, don’t worry about it. Just pick up where you left off the next day.
It’s virtually impossible to be 100% vegan straight away. Unfortunately, the world is built around omnivorous people, so we need to take time to learn to live in this environment the best way that we can.
How easy is it to go vegan?
Going vegan isn’t easy. But this guide should help you with some tips on how to go vegan easily gradually and for the long haul. Whether you’re going vegan from vegetarian or from a meat-heavy diet, it won’t be easy, but it can be done if you keep your mind on your goals and why they’re important to you.