Everyone thinks that transitioning to a vegan diet is really difficult. I have to admit that yes, it takes a lot of will power, but it’s not really that difficult with a little bit of guidance. There is pretty much a substitute for anything that contains animal products. The hard part is just getting to grasps with what you can, and can’t eat. Once you have tried and tested the things that are available for you, it’s simple!
Here are some tips on how to make your transition to a vegan diet easier 🙂
What to Swap Out
Firstly, I found that just simply swapping certain products in my kitchen for vegan products, as well as adding a few new regular foods, made the transition a lot easier.
You’d be surprised at how many items in your kitchen can easily be swapped for foods that suit the vegan diet, without even noticing much of a difference.
Yes, some of them aren’t exactly the same, but you will quickly get used to them. You may even like them more than your old ones!
Pretty much all of the items listed will be found easily in all major supermarkets.
Items To Swap:
Cows MilkPlant-based milk – almond, soya, cashew, oat, hemp etc. etc. CheeseVegan cheese – I use Violife / Sheese / Follow Your Heart ButterDairy-free spread – I use Vitalite Sunflower Spread MayonnaiseVegan mayo – I use Veganaise Eggs– Tofu Meat– Tofu & meat substitutes Honey– Agave nectar
Amazing Additions to my Kitchen:
- Nutritional Yeast – flakes that you can sprinkle on top of basically everything and make thick creamy sauces with. It has a nutty, cheesy flavour. I always use it to make pasta sauce, and sprinkle it on top of my salads. They also contain B12 – a vitamin that is found mainly in animal products 🙂
- Cashew nuts – you can make some really creamy and thick sauces with this, as well as cheese! (check out my creamy carbonara recipe)
- Hummus – a great snack, as well as an amazing base for pasta sauce (sounds weird I know, but so good)
- Tofu – this is so versatile! You can make all sorts of things – scrambled ‘eggs’, meat substitutes, even chocolate cheesecake!! (check out my Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Oreo Cheesecake recipe)
- Jackfruit – this fruit’s meaty and stringy texture makes it a perfect un-processed meat substitute.
- Vegetables – lots of them!
I found that it’s really handy to have a little supply of vegan snacks and junk food in your kitchen too, for when the cravings hit.
It’s handy to know what is available for you, and you’ll be surprised at how many popular snacks are accidentally vegan.
Here’s a list of popular snacks that are suitable for the vegan diet:
- Doritos Chilli Heatwave
- Ritz Crackers
- Party Rings
- Bourbon Biscuits
- Starburst Sweets
- Dark Chocolate (+70% cocoa)
It’s easy – just check the labels of everything you pick up in the supermarket, most animal products are normally highlighted in bold.
Note: just look out for eggs and honey as they often aren’t in bold.
It may seem like a lot of hassle to you, but after a while you will become aware of which products to pick up and which to avoid.
It just becomes a habit, and for me (some may think this is a little sad) it has become kinda fun – like a treasure hunt.
Also, all of the supermarkets I visit now have whole sections just for ‘free-from’ foods so you’ll often find that vegan options are grouped together.
Eating Out as a Vegan
This has quickly gotten a lot easier as more and more restaurants are now catering for vegans.
I was worried that when I went vegan my social life would take a massive hit, all my friends and I ever really do is go out to eat.
However, I have been pleasantly surprised!
I enjoy going to vegetarian and vegan restaurants because there are so many choices and they often get really creative with their menus, but I’m not one to force my friends to eat veggie/vegan with me.
Luckily, many chain restaurants have released loads of vegan options including some of my favourites – Nandos, Wagamamas, Pho, Pizza Express, Pizza Hut (this was a huge deal), Wahaca, YO! Sushi, Zizzi and Bella Italia.
Some restaurants have clearly marked ‘VE’ for Vegan, or even have a separate menu for foods suitable for the vegan diet, but if you’re unsure then ask for the allergens menu.
Stay tuned for my post on eating vegan in London – click the subscribe button below 🙂
Cooking as a Vegan
This is actually so much easier than people think it is.
It’s literally a matter of swapping out ingredients with animal products, for those without – check the list ^ for common ingredients.
Just get creative and try new things. I bet you’ll discover loads of delicious new ingredients and foods that you’d never tried before, or even knew existed!
People often think that vegan food is boring – salads, nuts and veg, but there is so much variety.
I find that I’m eating a wider variety of food since turning vegan as I’ve been excited to try new things out.
I’ve also found that my food now has a lot more flavour as I explore more with spices and herbs.
I also have lots of recipes for all sorts of vegan dishes so please feel free to check them out! 🙂
Baking as a Vegan
Vegan baking is actually way more achievable than people give it credit.
There’s a common assumption that vegans can’t eat cakes or brownies or chocolate… but how wrong this is!!
You can still make really gooey brownies and spongey, moist cakes.
Milk is an easy one – just replace it with plant milk. I usually use soya milk, but you could use almond, cashew or oat.
There are LOADS of options when it comes to replacing the eggs, which one you choose, depends on the recipe:
This is the hard one for a lot of people – cheese is addictive.
It’s the reason I never thought I’d be able to go vegan, but if I can do it, so can you!
The cravings actually go away after around a month, and after then I actually felt sick at the thought of it.
I won’t go into too much detail but here are a few things that helped me ween myself of it….
- Realising I’m not a baby cow
- Baby cows being separated from their mamas </3
I’ll admit it was a struggle finding a good cheese replacement when I went vegan and I actually just went without for a few months after trying a few that were SO GROSS.
That being said, there is much bigger variety of cheeses on offer nowadays. I eventually found a few really delicious ones that I actually now enjoy way more than real cheese:
- Follow Your Heart – they are amazing, they do a whole range of vegan products including mayonnaise. Their Pepper Jack slices are my absolute favourite, and their Smoked Gouda slices are a close second.
- Sheese – also amazing. They do the best mozzarella substitute I’ve had so far. Their jalapeño cheese block is also delicious. They also do an amazing cream cheese style cheese.
- Violife – you can’t go wrong with Violife as it’s so easy to find and it’s got a really mild, inoffensive flavour.
Be LOUD AND PROUD!
You will always get people questioning your lifestyle choice. Not everyone understands.
At the beginning of my journey, I personally found it quite hard to talk about why I went vegan. I was scared of people thinking of me as that ‘stereotypical preachy vegan’.
However, I soon realised that I was being silly and that I am actually really proud of what I am doing.
Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed!
Be loud and proud that you are doing something good for yourself, the world and it’s animals 🙂
It may start of as a struggle, and you will probably have a few stumbles, but don’t beat yourself up about it. Just keep at it as it gets easier with time.
Hope this has been helpful!
Please feel free to ask me any questions below, I’d be happy to help 🙂
Also check out – [FAQs] For Vegan Newbies for the questions most new vegans ask 🙂