Are you struggling to picture yourself making the move from omni to vegan? It’s not the minefield you might think and there’s a lot of support available along the way.
We get it. Cheese tastes good, meat is a habit and you put milk in everything, so how can you possibly make the switch to being vegan?
Well, believe it or not (please do!), it’s easier than it ever has been before to become part of the plant-based collective. Why? For the following reasons:
The community is bigger than ever
However you identify, your people are out there and waiting to welcome you into a community of likeminded thinkers. This applies to all walks of life and when it comes to veganism, there are millions of people ready to offer advice, shared experiences, and even tips and tricks. The key is finding the right platform and group to interact with.
Could a local vegan group be the key for you? Maybe there’s a Facebook group for new vegans? Or what about following a hashtag on Instagram? Community isn’t decided by geography, so reach out. And don’t judge us all on one grumpy vegan, if you encounter them.
There are plenty of apps to help
Back in the day, the only help you could expect as a new vegan or somebody vegan-curious was from the person who had worked in your local health food shop for a decade (speaking from experience here), but that was no guarantee of scientific fact or even a smile.
Now, there are some amazing apps designed to help you track your daily nutrients, figure out which foods are vegan or not, steer clear of beauty products tested on animals and more. Heck, there’s even vegan dating apps now, so you don’t have to go through the awkward process of watching someone eat meat on your first date.
Labelling is really good now
All those little ‘V’ symbols on food now? They never used to be there. There used to be a pocket-sized book called The Vegan Shopper, carried around faithfully by vegans and re-released each year with updated product lists in it. This was our version of food labelling before it was a real thing.
There were no vegan-approved or verified vegan logos on anything. Instead, you’d find plant-based eaters sifting through page after page in front of a supermarket shelf.
Don’t get us wrong. On those days when something was surprisingly vegan, it was a good day indeed and you can bet that a lot of the new discovery was consumed in celebration, but wow. Things are a lot simpler now. Though there are some contentious issues surrounding the labelling of vegan food, so that’s something to be aware of.
The variety of foods is unbelievable
Potential vegans rejoice! No longer do you have to suffer the horror of soggy Sosmix sausages, dry falafels or just side salads because the world knows we are here to stay and we’ve brought our appetites. With every year that passes, our numbers get bigger, creating increased demand for certain foods.
Just look at where we are. Richmond has a sausage for us. Applewood makes smoked cheese we can eat. And don’t even get us started on Ben & Jerry’s (kings of ice cream and all-round excellent people running a socially aware company). They say if you build it, they will come. In our case, if we stay vegan, they’ll make everything we used to love suitable for us.
You can probably convince someone to try it with you
Radical change and new lifestyles aren’t easy to embrace, especially alone but with giving a vegan diet a try, you might be shocked at how easy it is to persuade someone to give it a try with you.
If you start in January, you’ll have a network of people along for the ride thanks to Veganuary. But honestly, just see who in your circle might like the challenge of a plant-based diet. Sharing the journey with a partner will give you both extra motivation and might help you unlock a new way of living that you really love.
It can be super cost-effective
Let’s be real. Meat substitutes, branded vegan offerings and niche products are never going to be the cheapest things in the supermarket, but you don’t have to go mad and swap out your normal diet for pricey plant-based alternatives. At least not for every meal.
How about trying a 50/50 split to start with, so you find a chicken alternative you like and swap that in your curry, but maybe the next night you go for baked potatoes and couscous? As you get more comfortable, aim for an 80/20 split between whole foods and convenience items. Not only will your food bill be significantly smaller, you‘ll notice an improvement in your health too. The less processed your food, the better for you.
Will there be challenges along the way? Of course. You’ll make mistakes, because we all do. You’ll get frustrated and find old cravings hard to deal with, and if your friends and family aren’t massively supportive, that can be draining too. But there are lots of us out there that have been where you are, and trust us when we say: we’re glad we pushed through.