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Food & Drink Lifestyle

Going Vegan Made Easy…ish

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If you’ve been thinking about switching up your lifestyle and making some positive changes, there’s no better time to jump in than World Vegan Day on November 1st. Going vegan isn’t easy though, there’s a lot to learn and it’s easy to fall off this organic, plant-based wagon. You’ve got to figure out what you can eat, discover the sneaky foods that have animal products hiding inside, and get used to a whole new route around the supermarket. It’s daunting at the best of times, but the benefits for you and the planet make it more than worthwhile. That’s why we’ve put together a handy list of top advice to easy the struggle and make switching easy-ish.

Go Slow Going Vegan

Trust us when we say you’re not going to wake up on November 1st with a warm light glowing inside and all cravings for a good burger have vanished. That’s not how it works and putting that kind of pressure on yourself isn’t productive. Start things slow. Try having a few vegetarian days a week to start with. This will introduce you to new meals that don’t centre around meat.

When you’re comfortable with that you can cut red meat out of your diet. Limit yourself to only eating chicken and fish. Remember your goal and work towards it each week. And if you have a slip up and accidently fall face first into a freshly cooked Big Mac, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t throw away all your hard work because of one moment of weakness. Chalk it up to those sneaky Big Meat marketers and get back to it.

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Go Back to School

Did you know some apple juices aren’t vegan because they’re clarified using fish bladders? Or that paintballing is out for vegans because most paintballs contain gelatine? That’s not where the list of products that are weirdly non-vegan and there are loads of crafty things that can trip you up. Getting in a few cookbooks will help get a few staple meals when you’re starting your going vegan journey. If you’ve got the budget for it, meal subscription boxes make cooking up delicious plant-based meals even easier.

Sites like Hello Fresh and Mindful Chef let you choose the meals you want delivered each week and supply everything you need to cook up a feast. The more you cook with these, the more you’ll understand the ingredients you’re using, and you’ll soon be creating your own dishes from these plates of inspiration.

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Get to Know Your Alternatives

Letting go of some of your favourite dishes is one of the biggest obstacles for many people when they are going vegan. If you’re coming into it from a meat eater background, there’s no denying that bacon sandwiches, pulled pork, and decadent cheesecake are delicious. Finding ways of re-creating the same flavours is key to keeping yourself on track.

Vegan sausages, burgers, and other meat alternatives often get a lot of stick from the haters, but they are the best way to get the familiar favourites and stick to your new lifestyle. You lucky people are getting started in a time when every supermarket stocks vegan alternatives and places like Sainsbury’s  and Tesco  have massive vegan ranges full of options to base a meal around. It’s not just meat substitutes either, here are a few of the most shopping essentials you’ll come to love:

  • Milk – There are loads of dairy milk alternatives like oat, soy, almond, and cashew. They’re easy to make yourself and can be used in many recipes.
  • Cheese – Every store has their own version of free from cheese to choose from. Take a look at the packet before throwing one in the basket because the best ones are fortified with vitamin B 12 and calcium.
  • Eggs- Powdered eggs are nothing new, but while they used to be found in select health food stores, now most supermarkets stock them. Aquafaba (that’s chickpea water) is a fantastic egg white substitute. Adding 3 tablespoons of water to a tablespoon of chia seeds also produces a cheap and simple egg alternative.
  • Butter & Spreads – It’s easy to find vegan friendly spreads in the shops today and there a host of big brands producing perfect butter replacements. Vitalite, Flora, Frylite, and Pure have the taste you’ll love to slather on your toast.
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Talk About Going Vegan

This is a big thing you’re doing and talking about it will help, but we’re going to throw in a caveat here. Don’t be that friend that doesn’t shut up about veganism and says silly things like people can’t possibly love their pets if they enjoy a beef burger. No one likes that guy and it will only turn people of making their own switch. But talking about your experiences, the positive and the negative, can help you stay focused on your goals and show your friends and family making the switch is doable. Just don’t over-do it.

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Be Adventurous

It might seem like your closing yourself off to a lot of food, but the truth is you’re opening yourself up to a whole new world of flavours. When you take away the things you’re used to cooking and eating all your life, you’ll be forced to try new foods and flavour combinations.

There are many countries around the world where vegan and vegetarian diets are more common, and they all have their own local flavour to explore. Whether you put a vegan spin on a classic Pad Thai or a mushroom ropa vieja for an authentic taste Cuba. There are thousands of recipes waiting from all over the world and you have new favourites to find. Get out and explore the world, even if it’s from your own kitchen.

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Remember Why You’re Going Vegan

The pollution caused buy animal agriculture is greater than that of every single car on the road today. It has a massive impact on our planet and lowering demand is one way we can ease the strain on the environment.

Many people go vegan for ethical reasons and while we’re not here to condemn anyone for eating meat, there’s no escaping the fact that the animals would be better off if they weren’t dead. There’s no humane way to kill something and the scale of it in modern times is devasting.

Another superb reason to cut animal products from your life is you. Now, you can live a vegan lifestyle and still be unhealthy. Technically, you can live of chips shop chips and mushy peas and still be vegan, but you won’t feel the health benefits. But most people make better life choices, at least when it comes to their vegan diets, and are sure to feel better in themselves.

Your reasons for going vegan are your own and it doesn’t matter what they are. But if you keep them at the front of your mind when you start craving a bacon sarnie, they’ll help you stay strong.

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Going Vegan Isn’t Only About Food

Your diet is the logical place to start, but vegans cut animal products out of their lives completely, not only their plates. But don’t go throwing out your entire wardrobe and make up collection right away. Start picking up vegan suitable options instead and gradually change your wardrobe. There are plenty of shops producing high quality vegan friendly products. Debenhams  have a massive range of beauty and skincare that is completely animal free. If you want to ease yourself into ethical fashion while you do research, the ASOS Responsible Edit is packed with stylish and sustainable options. If you need more inspiration for the whole family, make sure you checkout our guide to 2020’s best sustainable fashion brands.

Going vegan takes commitment and however you decide to start your journey, remember that you’re doing something amazing. There is an ever-growing community to support you and you can count on them to help you out when you have questions. So, get out there and join groups, visit forums, find new meals to love and experience the world a little differently this World Vegan Day.

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Ashley Bird

Ever since the birth of his first child, Ashley has been trying to squeeze a little more out of every penny. Three years and another child later, he's a dab hand at finding a deal and getting things done for less. Whether you need help planning a budget friendly family day out, or saving on all things home, he can help you out.

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