Where does a Vegan get Protein from?

Where does a Vegan get Protein from?

Hands down, ‘Where does a vegan get protein from?’ is the the number one question I get asked most frequently! This is often followed, by, ‘Can vegans get enough of it?’ Sometimes then followed by ignorant questions such as, ‘Aren’t vegans weaker than meat eaters?”

Anyone who is a meat eater, probably will have these assumptions about vegans, as this is what a lot of society feeds out to them. Meat for years in the media, has been linked to ‘strong men and women.’ Watch The Game Changers and you might change your mind!

vegan protein

Let’s go back to basics to really understand what is protein and where it comes from.

What is Protein?

Proteins are large molecules that our cells need to function properly. Protein consists of amino acids and the structure and function of our bodies depend on proteins. Without filling your diet with the correct amounts of protein, you run the risk of missing out on key organ functions. This could lead to all sorts of problem down the road! Few of them being loss of muscle mass, weakened functioning of the heart and lungs and lastly even an early death.

Protein is made up from different amino acid profiles. 11 of the total 20 amino acids can be synthesised by the body and don’t have to be obtained by food. The other 9, do need to be obtained by food. These are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. All 20 amino acids can be obtained from plant-based ingredients.

Protein is SO important in your daily functioning of your body so it is understandable that people can worry about the implications of switching over to a vegan diet in regards to their protein intake.

Why do We Need Protein in our Diet?

Protein has a vast number of benefits and it is vital to include it in your diet on a daily basis.

  • A number of people worry about the levels of protein in vegan food, thinking the switch will make them lose their muscle. Protein intake is crucial for building muscle mass as well as repairing muscle tissue after a workout.
  • Are you a late night snacker and constantly have food cravings throughout the day? There have been a number of studies that correlate the link between high  protein and less cravings. Start the day with a delicious high protein breakfast such as this tofu scramble, and your cravings will reduce!
  • Looking to lose weight? It has been shown in a number of studies that there is a connection between increased protein and weight loss. In a 12-month study in 130 overweight people on a calorie-restricted diet, the high-protein group lost 53% more body fat than a normal-protein group eating the same number of calories

How much Protein do we Need?

There are a number of ways to calculate your protein levels that you need per day. If you’re at a healthy weight, don’t exercise much or lift weights, then aiming for 0.36–0.6 grams per pound (0.8–1.3 gram per kg) is an average estimate. This amounts to:

  • 56–91 grams per day for the average male.
  • 46–75 grams per day for the average female.

If you do train and lift weights, you should look at getting more protein in your diet. This is one of my favourite calculators where you’ll be able to calculate the optimal protein intake for your weight and activity level.

So.. How do Vegans get their Protein?

Protein can come in various shapes and sizes and and from various places including beans, nuts and grains.  If you need that extra hit, they can even come from places like protein powder and plant-based meat sources. On the surface, you may think that the options are limited but here’s a list of some of my favourite protein sources.

Tofu – 15-20g Protein

Tofu is one of the best sources of protein to get into your diet as it contains the 9 essential amino acids. Per 100g of protein, you can expect to get around 15-20g of protein, dependent on the type of tofu.

My personal favourite way to cook tofu is in a tofu scramble, go check out my scramble showdown recipe. I have tofu almost every day, if not for breakfast you’ll see me dishing it up in a curry!

Tempeh – 19g Protein

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food made from soybeans that have been fermented, or broken down by microorganisms. It has a slightly nutty taste. It can be cooked in a number of ways including being steamed, sautéed or baked. Tempeh is also often marinated to add more flavour. Per 100g of tempeh, it packs an impressive 19g of protein!

Seitan – 22g Protein

Soy allergy? Seitan is your answer!

“Seitan in a relatively new term for a centuries’ old plant-based protein made from wheat protein, aka wheat gluten,” says Maggie Moon, MS, RD, and author of The MIND Diet. It’s been a staple in Asian diets for years, Moon says, and it has been historically popular among Buddhists, since they’re often vegetarians.

Seitan is great for any vegan that does really miss the taste of ‘meat’ as  it can mimic the taste of steak, chicken, pork or even sausage. Seitan also has 22g of protein per 100g! On a vegan keto diet? Seitan is also low in carbs!

Watch out though, as seitan isn’t a complete protein as it lacks the amino acids lysine and threonine. Make sure you pair with some beans to ensure you’re getting all the amino acids that your body requires!

Chickpeas – 11g Protein

Chickpeas are another one of my staples that I have almost every day! 1 tin of chickpeas has 19g of protein. Ok, so you may not have a whole tin of chickpeas to yourself, but half that and that’s still a ridiculously high hit of protein! Chickpeas also have a moderate amount of calories in comparison to other protein sources.

My favourite dishes made from chickpeas are Chickpea Tuna, Chickpea Curry, Homemade Falafel and how can I forget Hummus!

Some studies have suggested that the quality of the protein in chickpeas is better than that of other types of legumes. That’s because chickpeas contain almost all the essential amino acids, except for methionine.

vegan protein

Lentils – 9g – 11g

Lentils are one of the most nutritious and versatile plant-based proteins. This pulse originated in Asia and North Africa. They’re super low-fat and boast high amounts of protein, fiber, calcium, iron, and other nutrients. The 4 varieties of well known lentils include black, brown, green and red lentils. These all have different nutritional values and they are all extremely high.

They can be used in a number of traditional Indian dishes, however there’s endless ways to cook them. Ever tried a lentil shepherds pie? Lentil burgers? The list goes on..

Nutritional Yeast – 8g – 10g Protein Per Serving

Alongside tofu, nutritional yeast is another complete protein which has all 9 amino acids that our body requires. One typical serving, which is generally about a couple tbsp contains between 8-10g of protein.

Nutritional yeast can be used in SO many recipes to give them a ‘cheese’ like taste. Nutritional yeast is one of the main components in my vegan mac and cheese. Don’t fancy it on pasta, why not add it to some popcorn? Sprinkle over a soup?

As well as being super high in protein, it is also high in B12 and Fibre.

Nuts & Seeds – Protein Ranges dependent on the Type

There are so many nuts and seeds which have plenty of health benefits as well as a high amount of protein.

Almonds offer 21g of protein per 100g! They also provide a good amount of vitamin E, which is great for the skin and eyes. They’ve also been known to suppress hunger cravings!

Peanuts contain around 25g of protein per 100g. Add some peanut butter to your sandwiches, desserts and I’ve even put some in a Thai style curry!

Other high protein nuts and seeds include hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds pistachios, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds and cashews.

Go crazy with nuts and seeds, but monitor the calories as they do add up!

Beans – Protein Varies Depending on the Bean

There are so many types of beans which have high levels of protein such as black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and navy beans.

Kidney beans are one of the highest with 8.7g of protein per 100g. Not sure how to implement beans into your diet? Here’s a list of ideas:

  • Lunch wraps loaded with black beans or kidney beans
  • Put Them in Pasta. Try adding white beans to pesto pasta or to your tomato sauce.
  • Stir them into soups or add them to salads
  • A range of Mexican dishes have beans as the star of the dish, so why not make some delicious fajitas or tacos for dinner.

Not enough time to Plan Protein Meals

In those times when you don’t have enough time to plan your meals, I’d highly recommend buying some vegan protein powder and protein bars as a supplement. These are quick ways to ensure you get your protein hit for the day, especially if you have a busy day ahead. My favourite vegan protein powder is from My Protein – My Vegan Range.

I hope this article has given you a deeper understanding of what protein is and answers your question to ‘Where does a vegan get protein from?’ I purchased the Plant Based High Protein cookbook which really helped me understand the ins and outs of protein and the best ways to obtain it from a vegan diet. This book has some great recipes so I highly recommend purchasing it.

If you are looking to transition to a vegan diet, go check out my step by step guide as it has lots of helpful tips on your journey. Comment below and let me know if this has helped you in any way! 🙂

Ami x

Top Reasons Why People Fail on a Vegan Diet

Top Reasons Why People Fail on a Vegan Diet

Great, you’ve made that choice to switch to a Vegan Diet and then a couple months later you’ve failed and you’re back to eating meat. Sound familiar? Has this thought ever crossed your mind?

Here’s some reasons why people fail on a vegan diet with some solutions to help you stay on the right track.

Transitioned too Quick – Guilty!

I was what I like to call an overnight vegan which I don’t recommend for a number of reasons. Turning vegan overnight shocks your body and you have to figure it all out from the offset! That shock to your body, you really might not be able to handle. I had headaches constantly, mood swings and my stomach was doing back flips. It wasn’t great and I wish I had transitioned in stages but I am an all or nothing type of girl so there was no in between for me.

The side effects of an overnight vegan can be one reason why people may fail at a vegan diet as you think ‘this clearly isn’t for me.’ Your body takes time to really adapt and you need time to mentally adapt to the change of a vegan diet.

If you do plan on turning vegan overnight, definitely do some extensive research and meal plan. I’ve also written a step by step guide to transitioning to a vegan diet which will definitely help if you’re a newbie vegan.

Vegan is too Expensive

Some people do stop their vegan diet as they say it’s way too expensive! This was one of my worries when I did turn vegan from all the rumours I had heard, however my staple foods are relatively cheap. These consist of chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, rice, potatoes, black beans and they all also have a super long shelf life!

 When you try and find all the fancy substitutes for meat and sauces it really can add up so keep it simple and treat yourself once a week to a ‘fancier gourmet’ dish.

Super foods can be really expensive, which I do personally buy as there are a lot of health benefits surrounding them such as chia seeds. The best way to buy super foods is in stages, rather than all at once so you can manage your expenses.

Eating out I find is cheaper than when i used to eat meat as the meat options on a menu are significantly higher. Switching to a vegan diet can really save you money rather than cost you more if you do it well”

why vegans fail

Not enough Protein & Vitamins?

You’ve turned vegan and you find that you’re not getting enough protein in your diet as compared to before. You’re eating far too many carbs and you may be actually putting on weight. Then you decide to quit, and that is purely down to lack of research and knowledge surrounding foods.

When you stop eating meat & dairy you do need to incorporate foods in your diet which will fill the gaps that you may have got from meat, such as protein. This a big issue that many people do worry about, especially if you’re into your fitness and health like myself. There are so many foods that you can get protein from such as tofu, chickpeas and lentils. It’s really important to do your research when switching to a vegan diet to ensure you do get all you need and more from your food.

The only supplement that as a vegan you do require is B12, which I take every single day.

Didn’t make the Connection

A reason why a number of vegans fail is because they didn’t make the connection between animal suffering as well as human suffering. I personally believe this is the biggest reason, as if you don’t have a purpose to become vegan why would you restrict yourself?

As a vegan you really need to understand why you are doing it and keep that front of mind. If you’re purely doing it for ‘weight loss’ or ‘health reasons,’ the chances of you keeping it up are very minimal. A couple of my best documentaries I recommend watching are The Game Changers, Forks Over Knives and What The Health.

Make that connection and I promise you won’t look back!

Social Pressure

If you’re anything like me, you may have a big social circle where you do constantly have social gatherings. Luckily in London, we have a number of options for vegans and majority of restaurants will have  vegan options. It’s important you make your friends & family aware that you are vegan so any time there is a social gathering, whether it’s at a restaurant or a house, they know you need options. When you do have an upcoming event, make sure you do your own research, to whether there are vegan options for you. Why not host your own vegan dinner party?This can be a reason why people do give up their vegan diet as they believe the social pressure is too difficult to maintain. You just need to mange it and be open about it with your loved ones.

why vegans fail

Too much ‘Hassle.’

Before you turned vegan, you never really had to think about what you would be eating. Now you have to consciously check everything and you just ‘don’t have the time!’ This goes back to the point in people not having that connection. Surely, the time it takes to educate yourself on how to be a vegan outweighs the negative impacts of animal agriculture?

If you do Fail on a Vegan diet, were you really Vegan to begin with?

In summary, I do believe that the connection to why you turned vegan is the most important factor by far. No one expects you to be perfect and there are times, when I’ve even had slip ups and made mistakes. A couples times have been consciously and other times being unaware that what I was eating wasn’t vegan. The most important thing is that you remember why you are doing it and that you keep on trying. Turning vegan is a journey and no one expects you to get it straight away. The most important thing is that you don’t quit.

I really do hope these tips help you on your vegan journey and just remember to take it day by day.

Let me know if there have been times you have wanted to quit and the reason behind it.

Ami x

12 Best Vegan Hacks for All Vegans

12 Best Vegan Hacks for All Vegans

I thank all you vegans that have been vegan for years when it was a lot more difficult to find readily available substitutes. We have so much variety in supermarkets now (in the UK that is) that some may argue we don’t need vegan hacks anymore. On the flip side to that, there may be that time when you don’t have a substitute and that vegan brownie can’t wait. To counter that, what if you don’t want to use a supermarket substitute and can make do with what you have at home which has the potential to taste better and even cost less?

Whether you’re a beginner vegan or not, everyone needs vegan hacks up their sleeve and I have 12 for you all. They will change your life!

Vegan Hack 1 – Smoothies & Ice Cream

I always get to the end of the week with a couple of overly ripe bananas I don’t necessarily want to eat. So what do I do with them? I end up freezing and using them in smoothies. You can also blend these bananas and make a soft serve type of ice cream, add some cocao powder/ cocao nibs, peanut butter or even fruit. It’ll be one of the healthiest ice creams you’ll have!

vegan hack

Vegan Hack 2 – No cheese at home? Nutritional Yeast is all you need!

Nutritional yeast is delicious and if you’re ever missing cheese it adds a cheesy flavour to sauces, pasta and soup. I made a delicious Mac and ‘cheese’ with the main ingredients being cashews and nutritional yeast! Nutritional yeast is also packed with protein, fibre and B vitamins!

Vegan Hack 3 – Super Quick Breakfast

Soak some oats overnight in dairy free milk for some overnight oats. I always add some chia seeds, flax seeds, frozen berries too!

Vegan Hack 4 – Needs eggs for a cake recipe?

In most recipes when they claim you require eggs, you don’t! There are so many egg replacements, my personal favourite is with chia or flax seeds. The rule of the thumb is one part seeds to 3 parts water. As an example – 1 tbsp of flax seeds with 3 tbsp of water. You should refrigerate it for best results and it should turn into an egg like texture which can be used in so many recipes that require eggs. Oil is another egg substitute and works pretty well and even soda water, yes I did say soda water!!!

Vegan Hack 5 – Needs butter for that brownie?

There are so many delicious vegan butter spreads but if you don’t have any at home do you have an avocado? Hear me out.. Anyone that follows me on Instagram knows that I am a sucker for avocado and have it almost every day but no I’m not crazy. It’s proven it works and if you want a healthier option in a dessert why not try it? Using avocado in desserts is also creamier than butter and no you will not taste avocado in your sweet dessert. I find it works best in chocolate puddings.

Vegan Hack 6 – What does Firm Tofu even mean in that Recipe?

Majority of recipes that include tofu require the tofu to be firm which always used to baffle me. Here’s how to make sure that your tofu is firm – When you open a packet of tofu, drain the water and place it on a plate with a paper towel underneath. Then place another paper towel over the tofu and then add a pot/pan or an anything heavy for at least 15 minutes.  There you have it, firm tofu!

Vegan Hack 7 – Favourite Sauces

I guess this isn’t so much a hack but you can get some delicious sauces that are vegan which can add an extra level of spice or flavour to your dish. My personal favourites are sriracha which I’ve used in a number of dishes when I’m making Chinese style dishes. I also love this garlic aioli  veganaise in wraps.

vegan hack

Vegan Hack 8 – Heat your Milk

Do you find non dairy milk curdles in your hot drinks? Why not try heating the milk beforehand and it should help everything to mix together nice and smoothly.

Vegan Hack 9 – Silken Tofu

You can use silken tofu for SO many things! It is a magical ingredient that can be used for smoothies, mousses or even a creamy dip. Why not try make an instant dip with silken tofu and hebs?

Vegan Hack 10 – Chickpea tuna

Chickpeas are a staple in my diet and I have them almost every day! I generally have them in a chickpea curry but did you know you can make  ‘tuna’ from chickpeas for that perfect tuna sweetcorn sandwich or even on a jacket potato?

Vegan Hack 11 – Dates..and no not the Tinder type!

I have an obsession with dates.. Like an actual obsession. If I don’t have dates at home, I’m miserable! I don’t know whether that’s because I lived in Dubai for a while or just because they taste amazing and they’re full of natural sweetness. I generally have them at 3pm during my coffee break but they can also be used as a sweet base for lots of raw goodies such as energy balls, brownies and cheesecake.

Vegan Hack 12 – Apps

There are some apps that every vegan needs to have, but my top one is the Happy Cow App. It does cost £3.99 but in my eyes it is well worth the money. You can search by vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free cuisine types and more, near you or nearby an address. It’s great when you travel so you can enjoy the best dishes available in a new city.

In Summary, that’s my top 12 vegan hacks for all types of vegans and I hope this has helped you. I consider myself as a ‘newbie vegan’ and these hacks really helped me! I use the term ‘newbie vegan’ lightly as what is considered as an ‘oldie’ vegan? Who knows! If you need any help transitioning to a vegan diet I have a full guide which you should check out. Comment below and let me know whether these hacks helped and whether you have any more.

Whilst you made it this far, make sure you subscribe to my blog and check out all my social platforms! 🙂

Ami x

How does turning Vegan Save The Planet?

How does turning Vegan Save The Planet?

So you watched Game Changers on Netflix and became vegan because it has the potential to make you ‘fitter and healthier’ but guess what you can also save the planet by turning vegan! Sounds like an exaggeration to you, but I can assure you that there’s so many studies supporting the link between animal agriculture and climate change.

The reason I’m writing this is to really educate anyone that wants to learn how to save the planet as I do get a number of questions surrounding this topic on a day to day basis. Every single one of us makes an environmental impact on our Planet and our lifestyle affects how significant this impact can be.

Even if you’re not fully a vegan or you are a meat eater, a small transition can make a difference to the Planet! I’m hoping this article really opens your eyes to what is going on in the World, how you have the potential to make a positive contribution to the planet for this generation as well as future generations.  

Turning Vegan will Help Purify The Air

Surely all the public transport causes the most air pollution? WRONG! YES I did say all modes of transports, that’s cars, buses, planes, jets, submarines, ships, helicopters and the list goes on and on. All the livestock in the world causes more pollution than all modes  of transport, crazy I know.

Eat more plants, have cleaner air – Simple!

Turning Vegan will Help Reduce Energy Consumption

So much energy is used raising livestock just to kill and eat! Reason for this, it takes a lot of time to actually raise these animals and all animals need to of course to eat so they consume tonnes and tonnes of food where the land could have been used in other ways. That cheeseburger from Mcdonalds took SO much time and energy to process from a slaughterhouse to your dining table and it’s gone within seconds!

Was it Worth all that Energy?

Turning Vegan will Help Us Have Cleaner Soil

Soil erodes and is weakened by livestock. There are a number of reasons for this and one of them being deforestation.

What exactly is deforestation you ask?

Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees from land which is then converted to a non-forest use such as cattle breeding.

How is deforestation impacting the planet?

 It can cause climate change, impact soil erosion, flooding, increase greenhouses gases in the atmosphere as well as it meaning there are less crops! Basically, it ‘s an all round nightmare for the Planet.

The livestock sector is a huge leading driver of global deforestation and if it continues, say goodbye to the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest- 70% has already been destroyed!

Instead of cattle breeding, a diversity of plants will lead to cleaner soil so stop cutting down trees to make room for breeding grounds! On top of this, 137 insects, animals and plant species are lost every day due to these clearings.

Turning Vegan will Help Save Water

There are so many people in the World without sufficient access to a clean water supply.

One person according to Peta can save approximately 219,000 gallons of water a year by turning vegan! That’s CRAZY. The amount of water that can be saved is a reason alone to turn vegan and these stats really hit home hard.

You’re probably wondering how does that work? Does it mean I don’t drink water, use the dishwasher or even have a shower or bath? NO! It goes back to raising animals for food as it takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of meat. You’re probably think but surely water is needed to grow plants and yes you’re correct but it takes only 25 gallons to grow 1 pound of meat.

Just think about that for a second..

Turning Vegan will Help Reduce Harmful Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The production of dairy and meat is thought to be responsible for 60% of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by agriculture.

Well you may be thinking that’s OK because it feeds the World and provides us with the nutrients that we need to function? Not quite, it is responsible for less than 40% of protein produced and less than 20% dietary calories consumed.

Greenhouse gases also have a huge impact on the climate. They cause climate change by trapping heat, and they also contribute to respiratory disease from smog and air pollution. Extreme weather, food supply disruptions, and increased wildfires are other effects of climate change caused by greenhouse gases. Remember those devastating Australia’s wild bush fires at the end of last year going into January, yes that was fuelled by climate change as Australia had record-breaking high temperatures and months of severe drought. It’s estimated that 1 billion animals died.

Turning Vegan will Help Prevent Ocean Deadzones

Ever heard of an ocean deadzone?

Nor had I to be very honest until very recently. This a topic that is close to my heart being a qualified scuba diver and having a slight obsession with the underwater. Honestly, it is the most calming and beautiful experience diving and just observing the nature and wildlife around you.

Digressed a little.. Back to my point, an Ocean Dead Zone is basically an area in the ocean which has so little oxygen that marine life is unable to survive. Animal agriculture has created more than 500 around the World already! We’re going to have an ocean without fish by 2048, that’s only in 28 years! It isn’t the fish caught for food that are the biggest contributor. When these fish are caught for food, another 6 pounds of marine species are accidentally captured and killed.

Turning Vegan will help Combat World Hunger

For so many years, PETA has been saying that if everyone went vegan and we stopped feeding so many nutritious grains to farmed animals instead of to humans world hunger would virtually disappear and we would save lives.

Stats from the World Food Programme to put world hunger into perspective:

  • Some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That’s about one in nine people on earth
  • Asia is the continent with the most hungry people – two thirds of the total. The percentage in southern Asia has fallen in recent years but in western Asia it has increased slightly
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence (percentage of population) of hunger. One person in four there is undernourished
  • One out of six children — roughly 100 million — in developing countries is underweight
  • 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone

If these stats don’t shock you or make you think twice, then I don’t know what will.

You’re probably thinking, how can turning vegan help combat hunger?

It is estimated that 700 million tons of food that could be consumed by humans goes to livestock each year. On top of that the deforestation I mentioned earlier, limits the capacity for the Earth to produce food. If more farmland could be used to grow crops for humans rather than for livestock, then more people could be fed and we could be on our way to combating world hunger. There’s going to be a point in the near future that there won’t be enough land to feed everyone and not to mention the amount of pollution would be INSANE!

In summary as well as the positive impacts that turning vegan can have on your health and morally the animals there are numerous ways that turning vegan can save the planet. To save the planet and secure the environment in the future, people will HAVE to switch over to a diet which is free of all animal products. It can do wonders for the next generation and really make a difference to the World that we live in and the World that our kids and their kid’s will have.

NOW is the time to make the change and if you have no clue where to start go check out my blog post that gives you a number of tips in transitioning to a vegan diet.

Please do leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts! If you have any other way that turning vegan can save the planet, please do let me know. Whilst you’re at it feel free to check out my instagram..

Ami x

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

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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