also make it clear this guide is not a list of recipes or cooking techniques
but is centered on practical lifestyle changes for going and staying vegan.
Convert your environment too.
If you're finding it difficult to go "cold tofu" giving up your
favourite products from your non-vegan past, there's no sense in having
them around the house. Convert your kitchen while you convert yourself.
It's not just the presence of non-vegan food but the absence of vegan food
which creates a barrier for you to immerse yourself in a vegan way of living.
The most practical food items you can have around the house are healthy
non-perishables like nuts, seeds, trail mixes, and dried fruits. Of course,
you don't need to completely subsist on these foods but leaving a few bowls
of sunflower seeds or dried goji berries will tempt you to dip a hand in
before you leave for work or while you sit around munching on trail mix
while watching The Vegan News.
If you have a local natural foods store, visit it. See what they have. Even
though products from these stores may be out of your budget, you may find
a few affordable products which you can add to the groceries you get from
your usual vendor.
While the best food comes from right at home, it surely helps to know of
the vegan and vegan-accomodating food and drink businesses in your area.
Numerous generous vegans have collaborated on an extensive listing of vegan
and vegan-accomodating establishments around the world at Vegan.fm/places,
a component of Vegan.FM/isitvegan. Here, you can also add restaurants you
find or add details to already listed establishments.
2. Don't just eat like a vegan omnivore.
Your decision to go vegan is a great opportunity to learn about all the
awesome different kinds of plant foods we normally don't consider part of
the Standard American Diet. While I will testify to buying my share of vegan
hot dogs, burgers, and cheese, you should keep these vegan analogues on
the back burner while you get used to eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts,
and seeds, and trying out vegan staples like seitan, tempeh, tofu, various
combinations of rice, grains, and beans, nutritional yeast, cacao, etc.
Get a good vegan cookbook which embraces these non-typical foods.
3. If you're not an ethical vegan, become
From personal experience, the people who go vegan and quit are "vegan"
for anything but ethical reasons, or barely so. By adopting a vegan lifestyle,
you're already doing the "work" morally imperative for acknowledging
animal rights, why not learn about it?
A couple of my favorite authors are Gary Francione (Introduction to Animal
Rights, Animals as Persons, Rain without Thunder, and Animals, Property,
and the Law) and Bob (Making a Killing) and Jenna Torres (with Bob Torres:
Visit some vegan forums like Vegan Freaks or Animal Emancipation, watch
or listen to vegan podcasts, and talk about your thoughts on the rights
of animals with vegans on Twitter or Facebook (real life is also an option
but is not compatible with Firefox so I don't use it.)
4. Increase your vegan portions
Sometimes the answer to "What should I eat?" is as simple as making
the portions of your favorite foods which are vegan larger. For instance,
I always liked a side of potatoes with my food, so I started my meals with
mashed potatoes and added to it. For those portions which are nearly vegan,
try to find a vegan replacement for that one or those two ingredients which
unveganize it. In my case, instead of eating mashed potatoes with milk and
butter, I use pepper, olive oil, dill, sea salt, and Earth Balance vegan
margarine. I actually like it better! There are also lots of opportunities
to veganize your favorite foods with egg replacers like baking soda, ground
flax seed, apple sauce, or bananas.
5. Don't don't don't carb load.
The #1 most popular nutritional problem of newlyvegans is carb loading.
Knowing not how to get the same amount of calories in vegan form, newlyvegans
often look to pasta and breads for their calorie load. I'm willing to bet
most of the bloggers who claim they "tried veganism, got sick"
and deduced veganism was "not for them" were simply carb loading,
not doing their research, and therefore falsely representing the overwhelmingly
healthy potential of vegan diets.
For this problem, I usually advise my peers to start meals with beans, rice,
fruit, and vegetables. Get one of each of those on your plate and you're
bound to have a healthy meal. The other night, for instance, I made tacos
(rice, beans, tomatoes, lettuce) with a side of oranges. Easy.
Got tips of your own? Feel free to help out our potentially vegan friends
and leave them in the comments below.
(I realize I referred to my own website several times in this article. Sorry.
However, one of the very reasons for its existence is helping vegans, so...)