Going Vegan

 

It's easy, affordable and lots of fun trying new and creative dishes.

The healthiest way to do it is Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB). This includes unprocessed or low processed plant based foods including vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes as the main groups, plus small servings of nuts and seeds. Exclude all meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, eggs and honey. Exclude or limit oils, salt and sugar.

Include sources of vitamin B12, like fortified foods, plant milks, or a supplement. B12 is a bacteria required by humans. It is not made by animals or plants, but by microbes. Read more about it here.

This 2 minute trailer for the web film Vegan 2017 by Plant Based News gives a quick overview of the momentum of the global vegan movement in 2017.

 
 

There are countless vegan recipes online, a quick search will bring up many results. See Vegan Easy's Recipe page for a quick visual idea of what can be made - there is no shortage of options. For more structured meal plans, the Veganuary Meal Plans page has a great range of plans to suit various allergies, taste preferences, and all cooking skill levels. There are many others available. The Vegan Easy Nutrition page is a helpful guide on nutrients and what foods they are in. 

When grocery shopping, read packaging labels. They will sometimes state 'vegan' or 'suitable for vegans', but if not, read the ingredients and look out for animal products like, milk, eggs, honey, gelatin and certain additives. This PETA page is useful for checking if ingredients are vegan. This Simplify Vegan page is useful for checking if additives are vegan. The first few shops may take longer, but once you know which products to buy, shopping won't take any longer than it does currently.

Some items don't have animal products in the ingredients but use them in the manufacturing process. These can include refined sugars, breads and alcohol. Check labels for 'suitable for vegans' or do a quick search online. The Barnavore website is useful for checking if specific alcohols are vegan.

When eating out, try to find vegan or vegetarian restaurants. The Happy Cow website is great for this. Most non-vegetarian restaurants now have vegan options, or can make a vegan meal, just ask.

 
 

If occasionally you want something less healthy than WFPB, that's fine, just make sure it's cruelty free. There are vegan options for almost everything like chocolate, ice-cream, cakes, cheese and meat.

Making the transition to a vegan diet can be easier if done gradually. Perhaps start with one vegan meal a day for a week, and then two for another week and then go vegan WFPB for a month. By then, you'll probably have experienced some benefits including clearer skin, weight loss, easier bowel movements, having more energy and generally feeling healthier. As your taste palette shifts to the new foods and flavours, you'll start to crave these healthier options.

There may be times when you occasionally slip up, and that's ok, accident or otherwise. The main thing is that you're aware, you're trying your best, and your general intentions are good.

You don't have to discard or replace any of your current leather, wool, down, silk or other animal product items. Just purchase non-animal alternatives in future. The same applies for any of your current animal tested products, just purchase vegan cruelty free in future.

On top of feeling healthier, you will start to feel good about your ethical choices too. This can be the most rewarding benefit of veganism, as your new awareness empowers you to make decisions inline with your values. You have joined a growing, global movement, with millions of others who are changing the world, and you can be proud to be standing on the right side of history.


Helpful resources for going vegan include Vegan Society's How to Go Vegan page, Vegan Easy's 30 Day Menu and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine's 21 day Vegan Kickstart program.

These two web films (35 and 47 minutes) by Plant Based News highlight the major cultural and commercial developments of the global vegan movement in 2016 and 2017.