The Vegan Diet Transition Guide – One step at a time!

If you’ve had a little scroll around my website, you’ll probably have seen I’m a newbie vegan and I do regret not turning vegan sooner. I guess if I had the knowledge or took the time to really educate myself on the positive impacts the transition to a vegan diet would have on my health, environment and animals, the change would have happened a hell of a lot sooner!

I only turned vegan late last year and in this blog I will share with you a bit about my transition, the different types of vegan transitions as well as any tips that I believe will help you.

Why are you here?

You’re probably reading this blog for a few reasons:

  1. You want to become vegan and have no idea where to start.
  2. You’re vegan and looking for some extra tips & help.
  3. You just came on here to see what I have to say but have no intentions to become vegan (Hoping majority isn’t this option!)

I’m hoping for whatever reason you are here, I can provide some value to you!

So if you’re vegan, you’ll most likely fall into these 3 types of Vegan categories,

The Overnight Vegan – I am living proof!

Just to give you some insight, I turned vegan after watching Game Changers, and then I binged watched another 4 documentaries within the space of a week and I never looked back. I was a full on meat eater beforehand (minus beef) and I’m an all or nothing type of person so I’m what I would call an overnight vegan.

This is the hardest way in my opinion to transition as it is a drastic change and to be honest I don’t recommend it but if you’re anything like me you’ll do it. You’ll end up by substituting meat for a lot of plant based meat versions which aren’t necessarily the healthiest at the start which is what I did however now my focus is a lot more on legumes, beans and wholefoods rather than ‘fake meat!’

The Gradual Vegan –  My FAVE type!

This is what I believe is the best type of transition as you are easing yourself into it and becoming familiar with certain foods and eliminating foods slowly before fully moving to a vegan diet. Keep on reading to find tips on how to transition slowly.

The Vegan Challenger – Is there any purpose to why you’re doing it or is it just a phase?

A number of people practice Veganuary which is when for the month of January you’re eating a plant based diet and from February 1st they’re straight back to a meat diet. This is what I  call the vegan challenger that has challenged themselves to do it for specific time period, which I think can be a great way to do it if you challenge yourself for long enough as you may be able to see some benefits quite quickly. On the flip side, I find the vegan challengers have little knowledge about WHY they’re doing it and therefore have little success to fully transitioning.

It can seem daunting and you may feel lost during this transition, keep on reading to find my top tips on how to transition to a plant based diet.

Here it goes!

Step one – Knowledge is POWER

Ever heard of the saying, knowledge is power? I strongly believe in this, educate yourself to why you’re doing this! Whether that’s watching documentaries, reading books, completing a vegan course or just researching the hell out of veganism. It’s not necessarily the easiest transition and if you personally have no purpose or reason to do it why would you restrict yourself? It would make no sense! Write a list on your phone or in your home to WHY you’re doing it and anytime you’re tempted to order that mac and cheese dish at a restaurant, take a quick look at your phone and remind yourself why you cut out meat & dairy. Keep on educating yourself to the benefits  you’re having by turning vegan and I promise you, you won’t look back.

Step Two – Find recipes for inspiration

Everyone has those key dishes that they love to cook at home and to think that you can’t eat them can be another reason why you end up going back to a meat/dairy diet. Weirdly for me, I started having a strange obsession with katsu curry when I turned vegan with some serious daily cravings, anyone that’s been following my Instagram stories for a while will know about this! You can get recipes on absolutely everything, there are so many recipes out there to satisfy cravings! You just need an internet connection and google or even go out and buy some books! I’ll be posting lots of recipes moving forward so stay tuned!

Step Three – Don’t cut down on your social gatherings

Turning vegan can be difficult as it is without the pressure of going to places where you feel you’re restricted which may mean that you feel that your social life has to suffer. Not for me, I may be biased as I live in London and we have a number of vegan/vegetarian restaurants however if your friends/partner/family want to go out for dinner have a contribution to the place that they choose to ensure you have dishes that you can choose from. Being vegan of course doesn’t mean you don’t drink so if you can’t eat out why not still be social and have a couple of drinks with some side dishes! Obviously isn’t the ideal situation but just remember why you turned vegan. Going to a friend’s house? Make sure they’re aware you are vegan and offer to bring a vegan dish or suggest some vegan snacks. If you do really struggle with eating out and going over to other people’s homes, why not throw a vegan house dinner party and show them how us vegans can eat like KINGS & QUEENS that we are?

Step Four – Back to Basics

Whilst your learning how to be a vegan, don’t try make that 2 hour recipe with seitan & products that you’re not familiar with. It really is re-educating yourself and start with what you already know. Always have something in the fridge that you can have, so if there’s ever a point that you’re stuck there is already something vegan to have. You can keep it so simple and delicious with soups and salads. Smoothies are also great. I have avocado almost every day, either for breakfast with tofu scramble, in smoothies or even a wrap. DELISH! Keep it simple to begin with and then start to experiment more.

Step Five – Go fill up your pantry

Oddly I have an infinite stack of baked beans at the moment as spicy beans seem to be my new obsession! Go shopping and keep your pantry full so you have numerous options daily. Go to your closest supermarket, I also recommend health food shops too as majority of what’s in them will be vegan so you’re not spending hours trying to look for the vegan food in between aisles. Easy accessible options include quinoa, beans (kidney, black beans are my fave), sweetcorn, pasta, noodles – There are honestly so many vegan options. Don’t forget the herbs, spices, and condiments like tamari, tahani, balsamic, or apple cider vinegar. The best way to show meat eaters what they’re missing out is in the spices and showing them that their favourite dish can be replicated for a cruelty free vegan dish is the BEST feeling ever!

Step Six – Go get yourself some Vegan Junk Goodies!

If you’re someone like me that is a chocoholic, one thing I worried about was what am I going to do without my chocolate M&Ms?! Honestly, there are so many substitutes now it’s a lot easier than what it was 10 years ago! You can go to Tescos and get yourself a vegan dairy free galaxy bar now, we live in an age where this transition has been made so much easier. I applaud all the vegans that have been practicing for years on end with a limited range of options in supermarkets and helping break barriers for us newbie vegans. Make sure you’re still satisfying your sweet cravings if you’re anything like me or you will give up very quickly! You’ll be surprised how many products are actually vegan, one that really puzzles is me that bacon rasher crisps are vegan, but I’m not complaining! I’ll be doing a blog soon about vegan sweet treats in shops so stay tuned.

Step Six – Transition slowly

My biggest advice is to really transition in stages, especially if you are a meat eater. Yes, you can call me a hypocrite, but I learnt from my mistake. I shocked my body TOO quickly that my stomach was going crazy and I was getting constant headaches and let’s save the mood swings for another day. These were just short term and the long term benefits one hundred per cent weigh out these small glitches I had on the way!

First cut out Meat

Why not go meat free twice a week to begin with and build it up? Start making more plant based dishes and experimenting whilst transitioning and why not make tofu the star of your dishes instead of chicken! If you’re used to having scrambled eggs in the morning, start to add some onions, mushrooms & spinach in and eventually cut out the eggs and potentially replace with tofu if you wanted that additional protein hit. A lot of meat eaters forget, majority of the flavouring is in the sauce rather than the actual meat. You can make dishes smoky with flavour rather than the flavour of meat. Do this for about a month or two and then try cut out meat and fish.

Then cut out Dairy

Do the same with dairy, reducing consumption by having dairy free days, there are so many substitutions now such as dairy free butter, cheese and I actually prefer all dairy free milk to cow’s milk! Do this for another month, and then eventually cut it out and hey presto you’re a vegan!

Step Seven – Don’t be so hard on yourself

Just because you didn’t turn vegan overnight, does that make you a bad person? No!!! I turned vegan overnight and I did have a few hiccups with dairy over the Christmas period and I used to beat myself up about it and be SO angry about it! In hindsight, it’s a huge change and it can take time! You probably got this far in this article as this could potentially be a change you want to implement. I’ve put in my last step cut out all meat and dairy within 1-3 months, it could take you a year, two years and that’s OK! There’s no right or wrong in this, and any step towards moving to a plant based diet is a positive step for your health, the animals and the environment.

Those are my top tips for transitioning to a vegan diet and I hope this really does help. Comment below if you are looking to turn vegan and let me know if this was helpful.

If you are already vegan, let me know what type of vegan were you and whether you have any tips  that could help?

Ami

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