I had a friend who was a meat eating, leather wearing, decidedly non-vegan. One day she decided to go vegan. Unfortunately she insisted on jumping in all the way and she was quickly overwhelmed and gave up within a matter of days. If you are on a budget and/or don't live in a city it can be even more daunting to go vegan. If you are totally non-veg allow me to recommend a 5 step program spread over the course of time, go at your own pace! You will notice that I put heavy emphasis on research, just a few minutes a day and you will be informed. When people ask about your choices, and they will, you will know why and you can give examples!
Five Steps to Veganism
Going vegetarian seems like a big deal, but it is super easy! Just don't eat meat. You still eat cheese, milk, eggs. You can eat at ANY restaurant (think grill cheese, spaghetti, Alfredo, milkshakes, pancakes, omelettes, etc.) Super simple.
- Experiment with meat analogues (veggie burgers, veggie dogs, etc) this will help you learn where that kind of stuff is in your grocery store. Usually you find them in the frozen section or in the produce section, just ask.
- Start researching animal rights issues and vegan dietary needs. See yesterday's post for links.
2) No wearing fur, leather, wool, silk
Go through your closet and donate your leather, fur, etc. Some people choose to wear out their non-vegan items, but I opted to just get them out as I felt really creepy wearing them once I had done my research!
- Research how leather, wool, silk, etc. are made.
Sometimes this is the most challenging for people. Humans have an unnatural connection to cheese. This is also the step that makes it a bit more challenging, at first, when you go out to eat. You will find yourself ordering non-menu meals or asking for substitutions. Don't worry, if you are polite you will find your servers are more than helpful. If it makes it easier for you, just say you have a food allergy. Get creative when eating out (salad with vinegar and oil, baked potato no butter, noodles and sauteed veggies).
While at home you can have fun, this is an exciting time. Try new recipes (Pinterest?!) and check out vegan cook books from your library.
You will start reading labels at the grocery store. This will be a major chore at first, but once you know the vegan and non-vegan brands you won't give it another thought! Check out this list for accidentally vegan items. *Hint: The cleaner you eat, the fewer ingredients you'll read.
- Try different milks (almond, rice, soy, coconut) and find your favorite.
- Check out HappyCow before you eat out
- Try EnerG Egg Replacer in your baking
- Research the egg and dairy industry. You will be beyond horrified!
OK, so you started practicing this with your last step, so you're probably an old hand at it by now, time to up the ante and find other sneaky non-vegan ingredients. You will quickly find the products that work for you and you have all the tools you need to help you navigate this weird lingo. You will find this app super helpful when you shop.
- Be patient. I promise it gets easier very quickly. You are almost there!!!!
- Remind yourself that this is an important and compassionate choice.
- Clear out any non-vegan items that may be lurking in your kitchen.
5) Move on to other areas of your life
Systematically go through other areas of your life and veganize them. Your beauty routine, your dental hygiene, your booze. Remember this process will be ongoing and may take years. If you find you've been doing something that isn't vegan, don't punish yourself, just make the appropriate change and move on. There are no vegan police!
- Check out my vegan app guide.