Going vegan is life-changing. With so many benefits to veganism, there’s really no surprise more people than ever are choosing the vegan way.
If you’re thinking of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, it can feel overwhelming at first. Unlike vegetarian diets, veganism is a lifestyle change that reaches far beyond a dietary shift.
In this guide, I will walk you through every step of how to go vegan, including getting into the right mindset, what you can eat and wear, and why veganism is one of the most important things you can do for the Earth and everyone on it.
Getting In The Right Mindset
Before you transition to vegan, it’s important you have the right mindset. To do this, you need to establish why you are going vegan?
There are many reasons people go vegan, including:
- Love of Animals – Going vegan effectively decreases the demand for animal-based products. In fact, it is estimated going vegan for just one month saves 30 animal lives (1). All animal products produced for humans come at a cost to animal welfare. This includes eggs, dairy, wool (2), and leather. If you love animals, the best thing you can do for them is to go vegan.
- Health Benefits – More studies are continuously revealing the extraordinary well health benefits of a plant-based diet (3). This includes reducing (and sometimes reversing) the biggest diseases facing the modern US population like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Going vegan is also becoming increasingly popular with athletes who are realizing the fitness, stamina and recovery benefits plant-based has (4).
- Caring for the Planet – Animal agriculture is responsible for producing more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation industry combined. It also uses a lot of water. On a fundamental level, if you care about the environment, the best thing you can do is go vegan.
No matter what your core reason for going vegan is, mindset is vital to success. This is especially true if you’re unfamiliar with the vegan lifestyle.
Getting into the right mindset to transition into veganism means setting goals, researching, and understanding difficult situations that might occur and how to handle them. For example, if you’re going vegan alone, family and friends might not understand. They might feel threatened by your lifestyle change, mock it, treat it as a fad and try to push non-vegan food onto you.
Knowing how to handle these situations is key to maintaining your ethical stance and also not getting frustrated and upset in the process. Not everyone understands veganism, so learning the ins and outs of why you are vegan, helps support yourself should these situations occur.
For further help, these vegan documentaries go in-depth on specific issues and can help back up your research.
Find A Community
Finding community within the vegan space is really helpful, especially for new vegans.
If your normal support system isn’t vegan, it might feel lonely at first. A good source for finding a community is Facebook Groups. There are plenty of vegan Facebook Groups specifically for new vegans.
Other ways to find likeminded vegans are:
- Local Meetups
- Attending Vegan Events (Check your local vegan restaurant’s websites/socials for updates)
- Online communities
- Animal Sanctuaries
It is also important that your loved ones understand and respect your decision to go vegan. It isn’t always easy but having their support goes. along way.
If you’re having difficulty with loved ones understanding why you’re going vegan, try these suggestions:
- Ask them to watch a documentary with you
- Arrange a meal at a vegan restaurant
- Tell them it is important to you that they respect your decision
What To Eat & Drink When Going Vegan
The biggest impact going vegan has on your life is often your diet. With most people eating three meals a day and snacks in between, food and drink play a fundamental role in what it means to be vegan.
Vegans do not consume anything that comes from an animal including meat, dairy, eggs, and honey. The best way to navigate this dietary change is to learn non-vegan ingredients and check each individual food label. Scanning labels is something that inevitably becomes second nature to vegans, so you’ll get used to it.
Some other non-vegan ingredients to watch out for are:
- L. Cysteine
Tips for Transitioning to a Vegan Diet
1. Rediscover the grocery store
Most grocery stores have a vegan section nowadays. This is where you’ll find specific plant-based food options like vegan cheese, plant-based meats and other alternatives.
2. Try out new brands
Just like being non-vegan, there are some brands that are better than others. If you don’t like your first veggie burger, try another brand. Vegan food can vary considerably from brand to brand. Don’t settle on sub-par vegan food because there will be a better brand out there. You can also try gifting yourself or loved one vegan gifts to discover more vegan-friendly products.
3. Try out a vegan food subscription service
Vegan subscriptions are a fantastic way to discover new vegan options and make transitioning, not only easier, but fun too. The Vegancuts Snack Box comes with 10+ snacks that are 100% vegan so you can discover new treats. The box also comes with pantry items, which can spark meal preparation ideas. Use the coupon code tryplantbased to get $5 off a Vegancuts box.
4. Dig into new recipes
Going vegan can mean learning to cook with new ingredients. There are no shortage of vegan recipes online, which a simple search will bring. Don’t know where to start? Have a look through the Vegancuts Blog to find some tasty plant-based recipes.
5. Learn your alternatives.
The days of vegans being restricted are long gone. Today there are alternatives for everything. Plant milk is taking over, vegan cheese gets better every year, and vegan meat is so tasty now, that even non-vegans cannot taste the difference.
6. Grow your own veggies
Many people who go vegan start to take a more conscious approach to their food sources – and there is no better way to do this than to learn how to grow your own veggies from the ground up.
What Vegans Wear
Clothing is one aspect often overlooked when going vegan at first.
Like food, vegans also do not purchase clothing that has come from an animal. Animal furs, skins, and feathers and other fashion animal derivied products come at the expense of animal welfare. For example, wool is often seen as a harmless shearing process that sheep go through. However, Mulseing is common practice in the wool industry, which requires removing sheep skin along with their fur. It is extraordinarily painful for the sheep, who often do not survive the practice.
- Down (Feathers)
Unfortunately, the clothing and fashion industry is full of these products. The good news is, just like vegan food, there are alternatives for each of these items. You can easily find faux products available at most places, and there is a range of vegan shops online selling everything from faux fur to vegan leather.
What to do with your existing non-vegan clothing?
When you transition to a vegan lifestyle, you’ll no doubt have a bunch of non-vegan clothing in your wardrobe. Unfortunately, there is no mutual consensus in the vegan community on what should be done with this. Thus, it is an ethical decision on your part if you wish to continue wearing the products.
The argument for continuing to wear this clothing lies in the fact that the support of the industry (which is done through money) has been done. You are not purchasing any more non-vegan clothing, and throwing away the clothing would in fact be wasteful.
The argument for not wearing your existing vegan clothes, suggests that it is still unethical to wear these clothes as it is still supporting the industry and could be seen as hypocritical.
We’ll leave this one for you to decide where your line is drawn.
Skincare, Makeup & Household Products
There are two main things to consider when transitioning to vegan beauty and makeup products: are the products vegan and are they cruelty-free?
To put simply, if a beauty or cosmetic product states it is vegan, it means it does not contain any animal products. However, if a product states it is cruelty-free, it means the product was not tested on animals. Unfortunately, many beauty products will be cruelty-free but not vegan and vice versa. This means extra diligence is needed when choosing the right products.
How to Tell if a Beauty Product is Vegan and Cruelty-Free
The very best way to tell if a beauty product is both vegan and cruelty-free is to understand ingredients and packaging labels. While in theory this sounds simple, the fact that most non-vegan ingredients in beauty products are ambiguous and labels can be deceiving, makes things complicated for consumers.
Common non-vegan ingredients in beauty and makeup:
- Silk powder
- Animal-derived glycerin
Important labels for vegan and cruelty-free beauty:
- Leaping Bunny – Cruelty-Free
- Vegan Society – Vegan & Cruelty-Free
- Vegan Certified – Vegan & Cruelty-Free
For more vegan beauty information and how to read labels, you can read our full guide to vegan skincare here.
Tips for Transitioning to Vegan Beauty
1. Learn non-vegan ingredients and important labels
As mentioned, it’s vital to know what constitutes as vegan and cruelty-free in the beauty world. Ensure you’re familiar the ingredients and labels to avoid purchasing non-vegan products.
2. Subscribe to a vegan beauty box
Vegan beauty is becoming mainstream, and with it, more innovative brands are releasing new and exciting beauty products all the time. Vegan subscriptions like Vegancuts, provide in-depth research into each company and their products to deliver the very best in vegan beauty products to your door. You can see their latest Beauty Box here – and use the coupon veganskincare to get $5 off your first box.
3. Learn which brands are 100% vegan and cruelty-free
Some brands are 100% vegan and cruelty-free, always. By finding a brand you can trust, you can bypass the inspection in safe knowledge your products are free from animal ingredients and cruelty.
Check out our full list of our favorite vegan beauty brands here.
One. of the least known aspects of going vegan, is that many household products are not vegan-friendly.
Here is a list of common household products that are not sometimes not vegan:
- Shampoo & Conditioner – Often contains the dairy derivative lecithin. However, there are many vegan alternatives on the market.
- Plastic bags – Sometimes contains animal fats to lubricate the bags from sticking together. Look for Earth-friendly bags and reduce your plastic-usage.
- Fabric softener – Sometimes these contain hidden animal fats called tallow dimethyl ammonium chloride.
- Sunscreen – Check out our guide to vegan sunscreen.
- Medications & Vitamins – Ensure your medication do not contain gelatin or other non-vegan ingredients.
- Toothpaste – Glycerin, animal fat, is commonly found in some toothpaste. Make sure to search for vegan toothpaste to avoid this.
Activities To Be Mindful Of
Something often overlooked when going vegan is that the activities you might have once
Going vegan changes your outlook on many activities seen as normal by wider society. One of the best examples of this is zoos. Unlike animal sanctuaries, zoos hold animals captive for the sole purpose of human entertainment. This raising obvious ethical concerns and most vegans would not support zoos by visiting them. Instead, animal sanctuaries provide a much more ethical and enjoyable experience, where animals are rescued and given freedoms zoo animals are not.
Each month Vegancuts supports animal sanctuaries, with a percentage of each box sold going to supporting them. You can find out which animal sanctuaries are supported this month by visiting here.
Here is a list of places and activities that vegans might choose to bypass:
- Visiting zoos & aquariums
- Visiting non-ethical safaris
- Attending a circus
- Purchasing breeder dogs
- Riding elephants
- Attending animal-based sporting events like horse racing
Contrary to what many people think about nutrition on a plant-based diet, vegans can get all their essential vitamins. However, when it comes to B12, which is found naturally in soil and murky water, and ingested by animals, it can get a little more tricky (6). That’s why many health professionals recommend vegans supplement B12. You can supplement B12 through capsules, sprays, and even gummies.
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