Let me start by saying a Happy New Year to all of you lovely people! If you are anything like me you already have your 2020 (kinda) planned out. And a piece of paper with New Year's resolutions scribbled all over it. In this post, I'm giving you some helpful tips on how to go vegan in 2020!
One of the resolutions on many lists I believe this year is to go vegan, or even cut out on meat consumption for health or environmental reasons. Let me tell you first that it's ok if you don't go 100% vegan. Even if you cut out on meat and dairy, avoid buying anything that contains leather or wool and boycott zoos and circuses you are already doing AMAZING and I'm proud of you.
So you did some research and now you are ready to jump into the veggie bandwagon. But things can get pretty overwhelming pretty fast with so many sudden changes. Been there, done that. If you ask around the web some will tell you that cutting animal products overnight (or cold turkey) is the way to go. And some will say baby steps is the way. But personally, I am a realist and let me tell you that small changes that are done consistently So with this and that here is my list of 10 Easy Steps to go Vegan in 2020
We don't need 10% of people eating 100% vegan, we need 100% of people eating 10% less meat, fish and dairy.
1. Take part in Veganuary
Honestly, if you have no idea what are you doing, Veganuary is the place to start. Since 2014, Veganuary has inspired and supported more than half a million people in 178 countries to try vegan for January - and beyond. Their site is choke-full of information like recipes, eating guides, and overall vegan inspiration. Also if you sign up for their newsletter you can get daily emails full of tips on how to go vegan, recipes and facts about vegan celebrities and animals. Obviously you don't have to start Veganuary in January. Every month is a good month to start.
2. Start Meatless Mondays
What's a better start of anything if it's not happening on a Monday? I know I'm guilty of this strategy but often times it works. This is a very common approach taken by people who are trying to reduce the amount of animal products that they consume. It's way easier than cutting ALL animal products out of your diet FOREVER. So taking small baby steps towards a more plant-based diet even if it's only once a week (to start with) it's a good start.
* Another way to slowly cut out meat and dairy is to go vegan every day until dinner. For example, have a vegan breakfast and lunch and for dinner allow yourself some old favorites. Fill your plate with mostly plant-based foods like veggies, grains, and beans.
3. Veganize your favorite recipes
Since I became vegan I was introduced to more new foods and my taste buds have changed quite a lot. Still, I also crave foods that I used to eat, childhood favorites and my grandma's recipes. Eating these foods from time to time isn't really something I suggest you do and forget forever about them it's a sad path that you don't want to walk. But luckily you don't have to. You can easily find out how to veganize your favorite dishes so you can satisfy your cravings but stay true to your values. It's easy to learn how to make vegan every single dish that you love and have it still be delicious.
Pinterest is a magic place to find ANYTHING that you are looking for. Just type "your favorite dish" + vegan. Some of my favorite veganized dishes are Easy Tofu Scramble which honestly blew my mind the first time I made it. So good and the texture of it? I couldn't believe it's not eggs. And if you are missing tuna, you need to try The Best Chickpea "Tuna" Sandwich. Let's say that my boyfriend actually thought this was a tuna salad. SAY WHAT?! Just give it a try and be prepared to be mind blown 🤯
You can also try store-bought ready-made meals for a much bigger variety. For example, Beyond Meat products are delicious and so close to the texture and taste of real meat, but they are not the healthiest. I don't recommend eating packaged food every day but more like a treat once or twice a week. Always focus on whole plant-based foods.
Also finding substitutes for meat, fish, eggs, and dairy will make your transition to a plant-based diet easier and fuss-free. I'm working on a comprehensive post on this so stay tuned!
4. Do some research and find your 'WHY'
Ok, so this doesn't have to do with going vegan but for sure this is what will keep you vegan for good. The first and most important step in making a huge lifestyle/diet change is doing lots and lots of research. Find out what being vegan is the way to go and what are the benefits for your health, the animals and the environment. You can start by watching some documentaries. These are some of my favorites (they are all on Netflix):
Also, watch this speech on YouTube (my favorite)
Find your Why! Why do you want to switch to a vegan lifestyle? Is it for your health, you want to feel better, have more energy and glow from the inside out? Or maybe you just feel bad about all the millions of animals dying in slaughterhouses each day. Maybe you want to give a chance to your grandchildren to walk this beautiful earth 🌍 Whatever the reason is, write it down and if ever you feel like giving up, go and remind yourself why you chose compassion.
5. Get Inspired
Nowadays vegan inspiration is everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. From funny vegan memes that are all over the web to success stories of people who cured disease, lost weight and got their energy back. YouTube is full of what I eat in a day, recipe ideas and much more. Some of my favorite YouTube channels to get you started are:
Caitlin Shoemaker (From My Bowl)
Obviously like with everything in life in the vegan community are a lot of scammers. Ex vegans trying to prove that a vegan diet made them sick while they were following a very bad eating plan and some people who are "vegan" for the money just because it's really popular. You need to scan these people and see-through them and their real intention.
6. Explore vegan cuisines
This is probably my favorite part. Go around your hometown and discover vegan cafes and restaurants. Nowadays veganism is becoming more mainstream and your probability to find a vegan restaurant around you or at least some vegan options are bigger.
That being said take your bestie, your loved one or your mom and go out there and eat ALL the nice vegan food. Either it's Italian, Thai or even classic burgers, most probably you will find a vegan option.
Easy ways to discover nice vegan restaurants in your city are to either search on google, trip advisor or even better use HappyCow. HappyCow is an app that will help you find vegan-friendly options near you, reviews of vegan restaurants, and much more.
*If you sign up for HappyCow add me: Earthling_Seraina
Veganism is not a diet, it's a lifestyle.
7. Make easy vegan swaps in your daily diet
We are going back to the 'baby steps' approach that I was talking about earlier. Either you go vegan overnight which from my experience most of the population will struggle a lot. Or you make small but lasting changes in your everyday diet. Down below I listed some easy swaps that you can start making TODAY:
- Honey 🍯 --> if you eat honey either in your tea, on yogurt or your morning porridge it's very easy to swap this for agave syrup or maple syrup (my favorite)
- Milk 🥛& yogurt --> the only acceptable reason for anybody to drink cow's milk is if his/her mom is a cow. Seriously swap that for oat milk, almond milk, soy milk or coconut milk. There are so many choices nowadays. My personal favorites are soy milk for my morning oats or in my chai tea or coffee and coconut milk in smoothies.
- Cheese 🧀 --> oh the beloved cheese. No doubt some people are addicted to it, I know I was. Nothing can beat a hot melty cheesy sandwich right? But did you know that these days there are so many brands of vegan cheese that are melting and taste good? For a deep cheesy flavor, you can also use nutritional yeast. Or make your own like Dana, she did a great job on this Guide to Vegan Cheese
- Eggs 🥚--> eggs is a tricky one, you might want to say goodbye to sunny side eggs but you can still enjoy scrambled "eggs" which is tofu-based and tastes delicious. In baking, I recommend chia or flax seeds as a binding element.
- Fish 🐠--> more precisely tuna. There are some brands making vegan 'tuna'. I personally never tried it but you can give it a try. I prefer my Chickpea "Tuna" salad over anything.
- Meat 🥩 --> meat for me was the easiest to cut out of my diet. I was never a big fan of beef or other meats. I was mostly eating chicken, but I understand we live in a culture where every meal is based on meat. Some easy swaps you can make are trying faux vegan meats, or fill your plate with more plant-based foods like vegetables, grains, and beans and allow yourself a small portion of meat until you get used to it.
8. Avoid leather, wool, and other animal by-products
Around 80% of this post was focused on food because I believe that changing what we eat is a big factor for a vegan lifestyle. But animal cruelty has many faces and it's important to recognize them all.
First avoid buying anything that contains leather or wool, for example, bags, shoes, and clothes. If you already own any of these don't throw them away, we already have a big waste problem but if you feel like you can't wear them anymore, you can donate them to those in need.
Vegan textiles are much better for the environment and for the animals. Some sustainable vegan textiles are organic cotton, hemp, linen, pineapple leather, etc.
9. Boycott Zoos and Circuses
You should avoid at all costs going to places where animals are used for human entertainment. Think zoos, circuses, marine parks, elephant rides and so on. Animals are not actors or circus clowns.
Often times they are forced to perform hard and silly tricks under the threat of physical punishment. Many of them are bred in captivity where they will spend their entire lives in a cage.
There are many more humane ways to 'learn' about animals, like watching documentaries where you can actually see the animals in their natural habitat.
10. Choose cruelty-free & vegan
Like I said animal cruelty has many faces and it's really important to recognize them all. Too many products are tested on animals and some of them contain animal by-products. These products can be anything from cosmetics to face and body care products and even shampoos and soaps.
Always choose certified vegan and cruelty-free products. If you'd like to know more about the importance of choosing cruelty-free products check out my latest blog post Why Cruelty-Free. I go more in-depth about how to switch to cruelty-free and vegan makeup as well as why is it so important.
That's it! My 10 easy steps to go and stay vegan in 2020. Don't let this list to overwhelm you. Each week you can incorporate one step in your daily routine and when you feel comfortable, move on to another step.
And always try to remember your "why". Write it down so you can see it every day. It's going to be a bit tough at the beginning (every big lifestyle change is) but in the end, it is all worth it.
For you, the animals and the planet. ♥
Feel free to leave a comment down below or come and say hello!
XOXO Seraina ♥