The Vegan’s Beginner Guide-How To Go Vegan

Intro to Veganism

What is Veganism?

Simply put, veganism is a lifestyle that excludes any animal products. It’s cutting everything out of your diet and lifestyle that is made from animals. This also includes products that are tested on animals. It’s a belief that no animals should be harmed for us to live a happy lifestyle.

Your Reason “WHY”

Everyone must find their reason to why they are going vegan. People just don’t go vegan to go vegan. There is usually a reason behind it. There are many reasons why people go vegan though.  The most common reasons include animal rights, health, and for the planet. What’s your reason why?

Make sure you understand your reason “why” before you begin the journey into veganism. The transition into the vegan lifestyle is challenging yet rewarding. I will say, as with anything, the longer you live the lifestyle, the easier it becomes.

Note: I’ve heard many transitioning vegans get really discouraged because their omnivore friends and family put their lifestyle choice down or because they accidentally ate a piece of meat/dairy. Please understand, no one is mad at you. Don’t get discouraged. If you mess up, it’s okay. No one is perfect. Just keep going and do your best. Remember the reason “why” you are doing it.  

Note: Assume each link in each post on my site is affiliated, meaning I will make money in some way if you purchase products through my blog or recommendation. I am attempting to make a living through this blog by sharing the products I believe in 100% …Wish me luck! 

Different Kinds of Vegan Diets

Just as there are many reasons why people go vegan, there are many kinds of vegan diets. The most popular vegan diets/lifestyles include:

  • Raw Vegans– raw vegans eat all their food either raw or cooked at very low temperatures. Examples of what raw vegans eat includes a variety of salads, raw veggies, fruits, and nut butters. Find well known raw vegan bloggers to follow such as: This Rawsome Vegan Life, Pea Soup, & Rachel’s Raw Food.
  • Plant Based Vegans– Plant Based Vegans try to eat all organic, non-processed foods. They make a lot of their meals at home and try to incorporate a lot of vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes in their diet. Find well known plant based vegan bloggers to follow such as: Vegangela, Oh She Glows, Vegan Miam 
  • Junk Food Vegans– Junk Food Vegans typically aren’t living the vegan lifestyle for their health, but for the animals. They tend to eat anything that is vegan, whether it’s processed or not. Examples of what Junk Food Vegans eat include pizza, cookies, soy ice cream, etc.   
  • Other types of vegan diets include: sugar free, gluten free, low fat raw, ‘raw til 4’ and the starch solution. 

Which vegan lifestyle do you plan to take on? 

The Transition

Transitioning to the vegan lifestyle isn’t always easy. It’s different for each individual. For me personally, it wasn’t hard giving up meat. I have never been a huge meat lover though. The hard part for me was giving up dairy. I used to be a huge cheese fanatic. Finding my reason “why” though made the idea of not eating it worth it completely. 

Some recommend first transitioning from the omnivore lifestyle to the vegetarian lifestyle before going completely vegan. If this makes it easier on you, please go vegetarian first. Slowly take away the meat and after  awhile you can then start taking away the rest of the animal products. I myself quit cold turkey. I know this isn’t as easy for everyone, so do what you think is best for you and your body. 

Let’s Talk Food

Foods to Avoid:

Obvious foods include:

  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Seafood/Fish
  • Eggs

Others examples include:

  • Gelatin
  • Honey (debatable upon different vegans)
  • Casein
  • Rennet
  • Whey
  • Cochineal
  • Carmine
  • Isinglass
  • Castoreum
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Shellac
  • Vitamin D3 
  • All Refined Sugars (White & Brown) 

Foods to Eat:

You can eat anything that isn’t made from animal products. Just a few of the examples include: 

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Quinoa
  • Couscous 
  • Nuts, Nut Butters, Seeds
  • Hemp, Flax and Chia Seeds
  • Tofu & Vegan Meats
  • Plant Based Milk, Yogurt, and Butter
  • Bee Free Honey (made from apples), Agave, & Maple Syrup
  • Seaweed
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Whole Grains
  • Sucanat, Beet or Turbinado Sugar

TIP: One easy way to find out if a product has dairy or eggs in it before having to scan the entire ingredient list is by checking the allergy list (at the bottom of the ingredient list). If it says that it contains milk or eggs, you can quickly stop there. Do note that if it says “may contain”, that doesn’t mean it actually has milk, eggs, ect. in it. The company is legally required to put that on the box due to those products being made in the same building.

 

Plant Based Proteins:

  • Lentils
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Spirulina 
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Beans
  • Tempeh, Tofu, Edamame
  • Buckwheat
  • Seitan
  • Oats
  • Wild Rice
  • Nut Butters (peanut butter, almond butter, ect.)
  • Chickpeas
  • Kale
  • Zucchini
  • Portabella Mushrooms
  • Collard Greens
  • Plant Based Protein Powders (pea, soy, hemp)

Check out my blog post Vegan Cheat Sheet-10 Plant-Based Proteins to learn more. 

Vegan Snacks

Always remember to check ingredients before you eat. Every brand may differ in ingredients

Healthier options:

  • Dairy-free yogurt
  • Rice cakes
  • Edamame 
  • Kale Chips
  • Vegan Trail Mix
  • Baked sweet potato fries
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Apples and peanut butter
  • Dates and figs
  • Fruits/veggies
  • Nuts/sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
  • Dehydrated fruits & veggies
  • Chips and salsa
  • Chips and guacamole
  • Popcorn
  • Dehydrated Seaweed

Less healthy options:

  • Oreos
  • Dairy-free ice cream
  • Vegan cheese and crackers
  • French Fries
  • Vegan Candy-check out the list here

Vegan Meal Plan For 1 Week 

Download a 7 day vegan meal plan to make the transition easier. 

Substitutes

It’s a common misconception that vegans only eat salads and fruits. This is of course a total myth. Although salads are great to eat, they aren’t the only option to choose from. Surprisingly enough, anything that you can think of that isn’t vegan, there’s a vegan substitute for it. Deviled eggs? Meet deviled potatoes that taste just like eggs. Milk? There are many plant based milks to choose from. Meat? There is vegan turkey, bacon and sausage to choose from + more. Cake? Eat cake like it’s going out of style, because there are many vegan cake recipes + bakeries. The list goes on and on. My point is that just because you are not eating animal products doesn’t mean you are going to miss out on any of the tasty food. Anything your heart desires, you can have because there’s a vegan version of it. Awesome, right? 

PETA has a great baking cheat sheet where you can find a lot of the substitutes for baking. Download it here.         

Supplements

This is one topic that many vegans are worried about. They are concerned that they may not be getting all of their nutrients and vitamins that they need. I recommend reaching out to your doctor before you begin your transition to veganism to get a blood test done. This will help show what you are deficient in. Then, six-twelve months after going vegan, go back and get the blood test done again. See if the results have changed. I will note that I didn’t do this when I began my vegan transition, though I wish I did. It’s just a suggestion. 

Here is a great article that talks more about supplements you need on a vegan diet. 

What’s your opinion on the topic? 

How To Make

The Vegan Life Easier

How to Eat at Restaurants 

As a new vegan, it can be intimidating to go out to eat.  It doesn’t have to be though. There will be restaurants that only have french fries as an option (I’ve been there), but most will have a few vegetarian options that can be easily made vegan.

For the majority of vegetarian dishes, you can ask them to take the cheese/dairy off and substitute the butter for olive oil . I highly recommend asking the restaurant for an allergy menu. Most will have one made for people with gluten and dairy allergies. This will make the options easier. 

Thankfully, the word is getting out that there is a need for vegan friendly options. You might be surprised with how many vegan options there are at restaurants now days. An example includes the Kansas City Vegan Restaurant Guide.  It shows all of the restaurants that at least have a few vegan friendly options. You might be surprised how many options your city has. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Once you are vegan, you will get asked specific questions over and over and over again. The most popular questions I receive include:

“What do you eat?”

“Where do you get your protein from?”

“Where do you get your calcium from?”

“Is it expensive being vegan?”

“Is it healthy being vegan?”

“What’s the difference between being a vegetarian and a vegan?”

Be prepared to answer these questions along with some others that are more of statements than questions. These include:

“We were made to eat meat.”

“Our teeth prove that we are carnivores.”

“You can kill animals humanely. ”

“If we don’t kill the animals, they’ll be overpopulated. ”

“I like meat. “

Learn how to answer these questions here.

Apps To Make Going Vegan Easier

Here are a few apps that you can easily download that will make going out to restaurants and grocery shopping a lot easier. 

Eating Out:

Eating In (Recipes):

 Shopping:

Traveling:

What to keep an eye out for that isn’t vegan:

Not everything vegan is about the food we eat. You also have to think about clothing, makeup and house cleaning products. Always check to make sure it hasn’t been tested on animals. 

For clothing, always keep an eye out for:

  • Leather
  • Real Fur
  • Animal Hide 
  • Silk
  • Wool
  • Feathers
  • Bone
  • Horn
  • Shell
  • Cashmere
  • Shearling
  • Angora
  • Shahtoosh
  • Snakeskin
  • Suede (micro suede is vegan)
  • Down
  • Pashmina
  • Mohair

Clothing you can wear: 

Anything that isn’t on the list above!

A few popular vegan designers include:

100% Vegan Jacket Brands:

Other vegan jackets include:

For women

For men

Beauty/Hair/Skincare Brands that are vegan & 100% cruelty free: 

Cleaning Brands that are vegan:

Best places to find new vegan recipes:

I’ll recommend what I use and that is my lovely friend-Pinterest. You can simply type in anything you can imagine such as vegan desserts, entrees, sides, ect. and you’ll find exactly what you need! Follow me on my pinterest page to keep up with what treasures I find. 

Other places to find vegan recipes:

If you prefer cookbooks, give some of these a try:

Get Involved:

I highly recommend finding a local vegan community to get involved with. You will meet great people that have the same lifestyle and mindset as yourself. If you don’t have a local vegan community you can get involved with, or you just don’t have the time, no worries! One thing I’ve done that I truly enjoy is having an online community to talk to. Facebook has so many vegan groups, it’s overwhelming. Find one that fits what you need and stay connected. Everyone is trying their best and it’s great to have a support system and a vegan family. I also love the vegan Facebook groups because if you have a question about something you aren’t quite sure about, just ask your group! Most are happy to help. 

A few vegan Facebook groups I recommend as a newer vegan includes:

Are You Ready To Go Vegan?

I hope this beginner’s guide will help make your transition to veganism easier. Just remember that no one is perfect and all you can do is try your best. That’s all that anyone asks. I want to say thank you for beginning your journey to the vegan lifestyle. The planet, animals and your health thanks you!  I would love to hear any questions or issues you are having during your transition. I am obviously no doctor, but I am happy to help if I can.  Comment below or feel free to go to the contact page and email me. Thanks so much for reading and I hope to hear from you soon!

 

6 thoughts on “The Vegan’s Beginner Guide-How To Go Vegan

  1. Okay, there’s a lot of information in here! This is going to take me a bit of time to go through. I found you through a blogger’s support group and so glad that I did. I’m working towards becoming either fully vegan or pretty close to that, but I am severely limited with my budget. Do you have any suggestions on things to buy that aren’t ridiculously expensive or kid friendly for kids who aren’t used to eating vegan? They like vegetables somewhat, but I think they’d rebel if I only gave them vegetables all the time. I love this site and will be following and going through it to find the information I need. Thank you for putting in all the effort to do something like this. It’s a lot of work but I believe it was worth all the time, sweat, and tears!

    1. Hi Tami,
      I’m so glad you came to visit my blog! 🙂 To be completely honest, vegan food is actually cheaper than meat, dairy, ect. The only thing that can get pricey is when you buy all of the vegan processed foods. If you buy the processed foods at a minimum and purchase mainly fruits, veggies, beans, legumes, rice, oatmeal and things like that, it’s actually quite cheap. I would also recommend that if you are on a budget, to try to find your fruits and veggies at grocery stores other than Whole Foods and Sprouts. They can be quite pricey if you are going for cheap. Hope this helps! I wish you the best of luck on your journey and feel free to reach out anytime you have a question! 🙂

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