It’s not as hard as you think!
Making the transition from vegetarian to vegan can seem like a big leap. Especially given the myriad of food and other products which use animal derivatives in some way in their production. The truth is, it’s surprisingly easy if you approach it with a positive outlook and realistic expectations.
Every little change you make will save lives and is a step towards better health for you and our environment. Don’t expect to be a shining example of plant-based perfection from the outset. Slip ups happen and it is alarming how many seemingly innocuous products contain animal derived ingredients! You will become a pro at reading labels.
Some simple ways to begin the transition from Vegetarian to Vegan:
- Switch Your Milk. Try different plant milks in your tea or coffee, on cereal, and in smoothies to see what suits you. Eventually, having dairy milk in those things will taste awful!
- When Eating Out, choose the vegan option or ask to have your meal made vegan by omitting cheese or changing the sauce. Most eateries these days are very accommodating. The more demand they get for vegan meals, the more likely they are to add more vegan items to the menu.
- Make A Habit of reading ingredients lists. Familiarize yourself with the common names for animal derived products that are used in many products, some you would be surprised to find these things in! Eg pork fat in a well known brand of toothpaste.
- Find Vegan Alternatives to the grocery items you buy regularly. Start replacing them as they run out- eg cereal, muesli bars, sandwich spreads, hand wash, etc.
- Seek Out Vegan Products when you shop for clothing, household cleaning supplies, makeup, medicine, and everything in between
- Contact Manufacturers for their list of vegan products. Make a big deal of thanking them if they have vegan choices. If they don’t, politely tell them you won’t be using their products until their ethics line up with your own.
- Sample every vegan cheese and chocolate you come across! Plant based alternatives to these items vary a lot in taste and texture and everyone has their preference. The good news is that the longer you go without dairy cheese and chocolate. The cruelty free versions usually taste better too.
- Let Family and Friends Know about your new diet. They can support you and you can avoid being gifted items that contain animal products. Some of the people closest to you may tease or judge you. All you can do is stand your ground and arm yourself with information. You never know. You may just open their eyes to the many benefits of a vegan lifestyle.
- Find a Support Network of fellow vegans who can offer advice and product suggestions. The world is full of injustice towards animals. We live in a society where the idea of using animal products for everything from money to beauty products is deeply ingrained as being ‘normal’. So it can be a true blessing to have people to talk to who can see things from your point of view. Join groups like Ask A Plant Based Dietitian to give you the maximum amount of support possible.