In this short article, I will teach you all the essentials about how to go vegan. We will cover every facet of what it takes to enjoyably transition to a vegan diet. By the time you finish this guide, you’ll know exactly how to move forward.
Go Vegan by Crowding, Not Cutting
Let’s begin with the single most helpful piece of advice for new vegans. If you learn nothing else from this guide, remember this: try to rid your diet of non-vegan foods by crowding, not cutting.
Many people think going vegan requires willpower and struggle. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Don’t seek to cut animal products out of your diet. Instead, crowd them out. Your main tasks involves constantly seeking out new vegan foods. As you discover one new vegan food after another, this influx will crowd the non-vegan foods out of your diet. The more vegan foods you sample, the quicker you’ll move toward eating a primarily vegan diet.
So cultivate the habit of trying new foods at every opportunity. Even a little effort delivers a huge payoff. Sampling just five new vegan foods each week will enable you to discover a steady stream of foods you love. Week by week, these items will increasingly crowd out whatever animal products that remain in your diet. Before long, anytime you get hungry a delicious vegan food will invariably come immediately to mind.
Discover the Endless Assortment of Incredible Vegan Foods
Does going vegan require spending loads of time in the kitchen? Absolutely not. You can choose from an amazing assortment of instant and near-instant vegan options. Our list of easy vegan foods includes dozens of delicious items you’ll want to try. Once you’ve reviewed that list, check out some of these links:
- Vegan Eating—an Introduction to the Best Cooking, Dining, and Shopping Options
- Vegan Cooking Guide
- Vegan-Friendly Cuisines
- Grocery Items
- Vegan Foods—Our Ultimate Roundup
- Vegan Alternatives to Meat, Dairy, and Egg-Based foods
If you make a point of reading the above articles, you will discover hundreds of fantastic vegan food ideas.
How Fast Should You Go?
Most of the effort required to go vegan involves discovering new foods. The more new foods you try each week, the quicker you will progress. You certainly don’t need to go vegan all at once. While some people do it overnight, others ease into a vegan diet over months or years. How fast you go doesn’t matter nearly as much as whether the approach you take feels easy and comfortable.
Use whatever stepping-stones work for you. And at every turn, seek out healthy and delicious foods that you will enjoy eating every day. Let’s now look at strategies to rapidly bring more vegan foods into your life.
Dipping in Your Toe
Some people feel intimidated by the idea of going 100 percent vegan right away. If a total commitment seems too much for you right now, no problem. A wide assortment of smaller commitments exist that still accomplish a great deal of good.
One of America’s most influential food writers, Mark Bittman, has long followed a “Vegan Before 6:00,” approach. He eats a totally vegan diet from morning through afternoon. Then, starting at dinner, and for the rest of the evening, he eats anything he wants—sometimes vegan foods, and sometimes non-vegetarian foods. The Vegan Before 6:00 approach offers perhaps the easiest way to become mostly vegan. To learn more, check out Bittman’s book on the topic.
Consider Committing for Just a Few Weeks
Perhaps you don’t feel ready to commit to going vegan for life. No worries—why not simply take a vegan diet a three-week test-drive? In no time, you’ll gain a first-hand look at how a vegan diet really feels. The experience will put you in a fantastic position to evaluate how well a plant-based lifestyle works for you.
It only takes a few weeks to develop the habit of eating vegan food most of the time. By the time your test drive ends, you may well decide to turn your temporary vegan experiment into a lifetime commitment.
And never forget: a vegan lifestyle just keeps getting easier the longer you stick with it. As you continually discover new vegan foods, your assortment of exciting meal possibilities will increase massively.
Vegan Books & Cookbooks
Nothing about going vegan poses overwhelming hardships. A lasting transition, does, however, require changing the way you shop, cook, and dine out. You should also read up on nutrition. The remainder of this article offers helpful coverage on all these topics. For another valuable source of advice, see Kristy Turner’s But I Could Never Go Vegan! In addition to offering thorough introductory coverage, this book features 125 beginner-friendly recipes accompanied by loads of gorgeous food photos.
Any good vegan-related book will increase your motivation to rid animal products from your diet. Unfortunately, in the vegan world, unreliable books far outnumber dependably accurate titles. Never assume that, just because a book’s claim carries a footnote, the citation properly supports the claim. Likewise, don’t blindly trust a book simply because its author has a medical degree. As with every other sort of diet, the vegan world includes a number of doctors who bend the facts to suit their biases.
Thanks to unreliable books, too many new vegans go from uninformed to misinformed—a step backward in the guise of a step forward! Not only do new vegans end up indoctrinated with bogus information, they often repeat these claims to others at every turn.
So if you want to read up on veganism, please take care to select only trustworthy books. Only the most credible and reliable titles make it onto our vegan books page.
Shopping for Vegan Cookbooks
Cookbooks likewise offer an incredibly valuable resource for new vegans. They let you explore whichever varieties of cooking most attract you. You can find vegan cookbooks covering every conceivable niche: Mexican food, breads, Instant Pot meals, desserts, and so forth.
Unfortunately, for every outstanding vegan cookbook, you will encounter a dozen second-rate ones. Not so many years ago, the substantial setup and print-run costs involved in printing a book made it too risky to publish mediocre titles. The rise of low-cost “print on demand” took most of the financial risk out of book publishing—if a book failed, the publisher would lose very little.
The game of publishing changed, with the bar for quality sharply lowered. Publishers responded by flooding the vegan cookbook market with hundreds of hastily-produced cookbooks. These titles often include untested recipes and little or no food photography.
Please don’t waste your time and money on these inferior offerings. Our vegan cookbooks page features only the most impressive selections. There you will find a comprehensive, frequently-updated list dominated by recent titles crammed with gorgeous food photography.
A few carefully chosen books and cookbooks can help enormously as you transition to a vegan diet. Numerous spectacular titles exist in a sea of mediocrity, and you should go out of your way to find them.
Recommended Vegan Cookbooks
Choose your first cookbook wisely. Avoid titles that primarily feature fussy-time consuming recipes. Instead, you want a diverse selection of easy meals that take 30 minutes or less to prepare. See the “Easy Everyday Cookbooks” section of our vegan cookbooks page, or check out these selections:
- Plants Only Kitchen by Gaz Oakley
- The Simply Vegan Cookbook, by Dustin Harder
- Thug Kitchen 101, by Davis & Holloway
- Everyday Happy Herbivore, by Lindsay S. Nixon
You can’t go wrong with any of these selections. So, if you can only pick one, which one should you pick? Use Amazon.com’s “Look Inside” section to see each title’s table of contents, and choose whichever cookbook features the recipes that appeal to you most.
Choosing a Second Cookbook
After you’ve purchased an easy cookbook, also consider picking up a comprehensive general-interest vegan cookbook—the bigger the better. That way, anytime you crave a classic dish, whether it’s pancakes or lasagna, you’ll have a solid recipe ready to go. When it comes to a big, beautiful reference cooking volume, you can’t do better than Thug Kitchen. Or, if you want something truly encyclopedic, featuring every popular recipe imaginable, get ahold of Robin Robertson’s 1,000 Vegan Recipes. I normally don’t recommend cookbooks that lack food photos, but here I’ll make an exception. If you want a cheap, expertly-written, single-volume source of every recipe under the sun, 1,000 Vegan Recipes has no rival.
If you love to cook, by all means go deep into your favorite specialties. You can find vegan cookbooks devoted to every cuisine, including Italian, Indian, Thai, Mexican, and Ethiopian. Other exciting niche titles focus on Instant Pots, one-dish meals, whole-grain baking, and even homemade vegan cheese. Discover them all on our vegan cookbooks page.
A vegan diet can easily meet your body’s nutritional requirements. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics affirms that a properly planned vegan diet can satisfy nutritional needs at every stage of life. That includes childhood, old age, and pregnancy. Not only do millions of people thrive on a vegan diet, many of the world’s top athletes eat vegan.
That said, vegans and meat eaters alike frequently exhibit alarming lapses in their knowledge of nutrition. Worse yet, indiscriminate reading might compound the problem. For instance, several bestselling books in the vegan literature make assertions about B-12 that could easily lead to deficiency.
Easy Ways to Improve Your Diet
With so much bad advice finding its way into print, you need to stay vigilant. At all costs, make sure to obtain accurate nutrition guidance. Start by reading our Vegan Nutrition Guide, written by one of the world’s top experts on vegan nutrition. For a deeper dive into vegan nutrition, check out Jack Norris and Virginia Messina’s outstanding book, Vegan for Life.
Reliable nutrition resources like these will enable you to make dramatic improvements to your diet. The transition to a vegan diet will enable you to upgrade your diet in myriad ways. And right off the bat, you can replace the worst junk food in your present diet with much healthier options. Had I never decided to go vegan, I might never have stopped eating Hot Pockets, Cheetos, or Jimmy Dean breakfast sausages.
Eating plenty of vegetables and beans won’t guarantee you’ve met your nutrition needs. But these foods do contain more nutrients than almost anything else you could eat. Leafy greens in particular stand out as unbelievably nutritious. Moreover, leafy greens contain remarkably few calories per serving. A handful of nuts or seeds each day will further boost your protein and mineral intake.
Do Vegans Need Supplements?
Since unfortified vegan foods do not contain Vitamin B-12, vegans and near-vegans must find a reliable and regular source of this nutrient. Fortunately, you can cheaply and reliably cover your needs by taking an inexpensive sublingual B-12 tablet every two or three days.
A B-12 deficiency can have dire and potentially irreversible consequences, so please don’t take any chances with this crucial nutrient. An inexpensive B-12 supplement can satisfy your needs for an entire year for about $10.
Other nutrients vegans must pay attention to include:
Check out our Vitamin and Supplements Guide for coverage of these nutrients.
Shopping for Vegan Groceries
Nothing will impact your quality of life as a vegan more than your grocery shopping skills. Keeping your refrigerator and pantry loaded with delicious vegan foods will improve your life immensely.
So let’s now review the finer points of vegan grocery shopping.
Supermarkets & Natural Food Stores
No matter where you live or travel, you’ll find a nearby supermarket carrying a wide variety of vegan foods. Commonly-stocked items include:
- nuts & seeds
- vegan milks
- breakfast cereal
- pasta & noodles
- chips & crackers
Plant-based eating grows more popular every year. In response, supermarkets increasingly carry an impressive range of natural foods offerings. Of course, supermarkets vary enormously on selection and price. Regardless, you have no other nearby options, your supermarket will certainly carry a wide range of affordable vegan foods. You will never go hungry.
That said, you’ll have a much better experience at a good natural foods store. Plus, you’ll probably save money, since supermarkets rarely put their natural foods items on sale.
Want a quick way to determine whether a natural foods store deserves your business? Just compare the size of its produce section to its vitamins section. You’ll know at a glance if the store’s primary intention involves selling healthful foods. If the store is mainly trying to profit from high-margin supplements, the percentage of shelf space devoted to supplements will reflect this intention.
Shopping Wisely at Natural Food Stores
Natural food stores typically typically offer a far wider selection of vegan foods than do supermarkets. They also commonly feature a better produce section, filled with higher-quality fruits and vegetables.
You can save a fortune by shopping in the bulk section of your natural food store. Staples like rice, beans, nuts, and breakfast cereal cost considerably less in bulk than when sold in retail packaging. In fact, if you’re looking to judge the quality of a natural food store, the size of its bulk department tells you most of what you need to know. An excellent bulk section will offer items you’d never expect—like coffee, seaweed, chocolate, and a wide assortment of spices.
Many natural food stores feature a deli that sells plenty of ready-to-eat vegan items. You won’t find an easier way to sample a wide assortment of new vegan foods. If you find a deli item you especially like, try making it at home. These foods rarely involve much preparation, and cost very little to make from scratch.
Mot natural food stores offer good deals on a variety of items. But you’ll pay quite a bit if you load up on convenience foods. Frozen vegan pizzas and TV dinners can cost triple the price of their non-vegan counterparts. So if you want to reduce your food costs, stay out of the frozen and packaged convenience foods aisles. Instead, buy most of your foods from the bulk section and produce department.
Regardless of where I shop, one habit I’ve cultivated has improved my nutrition immeasurably: when I about to enter the checkout line, I give the contents of my grocery cart a quick look. I want to see it loaded up with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, plus healthy items from the bulk department. If I’ve succumbed to too many convenient temptations, I wheel my cart back to the produce section to set things right.
Farmers’ Markets and CSAs
Even if your local natural food store has an excellent produce department, you may have an even better option. See if a farmers’ market takes place near you. And also look into whether any farms or orchards in your area participate in a CSA program. To obtain this information, just check the directories of farmers’ markets and CSAs published by LocalHarvest.org.
Farmers’ markets and CSAs offer the best way to source your food as locally as possible. You’ll dramatically reduce the fossil fuels used for transport. Plus, you’ll get much fresher food. Generally, farmers harvest the food brought to farmer’s markets the same morning they sell it.
You need not pay extra for the finest locally-grown food. Farmers’ markets and CSAs cut out the middleman, and don’t transport food long-distances. The resultant cost savings often enable them to out-compete supermarkets on both price and quality. To learn more about supporting local agriculture, check out Chapter 13 of my Ultimate Vegan Guide.
Nearly all medium-sized and large cities contain a number of ethnic grocery stores. Asian margets typically sell cheaper and fresher tofu than anyplace else. They also carry a terrific assortment of mushrooms and shockingly inexpensive seaweed. Indian grocery stores deserve a visit just for their papadums and jarred pickle relishes. Nearly all sell remarkably inexpensive freshly-prepared samosas and pakora.
With luck, you may also live near a Trader Joe’s. This grocery chain rose to fame by selling all sorts of delicious hard-to-find specialty foods at rock-bottom prices. They even publish a regularly-updated list of their vegan items.
Buying Vegan Foods Online
If your community lacks a good natural foods store, don’t despair—Amazon.com can pick up the slack. The site offers countless vegan foods, from energy bars to silken tofu to nutritional yeast.
Amazon doesn’t carry every single grocery item of interest to vegans. But the site does offer excellent deals on many items you will want. Our vegan grocery page lists Amazon’s best vegan food deals. You ought to give it a look even if you have good local options for natural foods.
Additionally, Amazon’s vitamin prices almost certainly beat your local retailers. Check our vitamins page for Amazon’s best deals on vegan supplements.
Vegan Alternatives to Meat, Dairy Products, & Eggs
Suppose you want to go vegan, but you also like the taste of meat, dairy products, or eggs.
Luckily, countless people before you have overcome this exact problem. Monks of a thousand years ago, quitting meat for spiritual reasons, turned to tofu, tempeh, and seitan—the low-tech meat replacements of their era. These delicious and versatile foods will fill you up just like meat, and they have comparable amounts of protein too. But they will never fool anybody.
But then, do you really need to fool anybody? Nobody will ever mistake broiled tempeh doused with barbecue sauce for spare ribs, but so what? You won’t find a more delicious or satisfying dish. Same goes for broiled or sautéed tofu, spiced and seasoned a thousand different ways.
In the 1960s and 1970s, during the first modern wave of vegetarianism, people rediscovered the virtues of tofu, tempeh, and seitan. Vegetarians of that era also popularized nutritional yeast, which has a delicious cheesy flavor. If you like cheese, you should try sprinkling nutritional yeast over everything from popcorn to salads to spaghetti.
The New Generation of Vegan Alternatives
By the 1980s, no longer could anyone dismiss vegetarianism as a fad. Exploding demand inspired companies to develop alternatives for every major non-vegan food. Non-vegetarians started buying these alternatives in massive amounts. This led to a virtues cycle, as growing sales funded increased R&D which in turn led to even tastier products.
Meanwhile, the world’s biggest meat producers and fast food companies alike have rushed to offer vegan meats. JBS, Tyson, and Maple Leaf Foods have spent millions in an attempt to perfect vegan burgers and sausage. And both Burger King and White Castle feature the vegan Impossible Burger on their menus.
At groceries and restaurants alike, you’ll find an unprecedented vegan foods. And many of these products deliver spectacular flavors, never before found in vegan foods. Many of today’s vegan alternatives to animal products could fool even devout meat eaters. Every popular sort of non-vegan food now has a delicious vegan counterpart. See our Alternatives page for a complete set of links.
Vegan Cooking Basics
Vegan cooking offers countless varied and delicious choices. So becoming a good vegan cook will enable you to eat more nutritiously. Doing your own cooking also gives you tastier food. After all, you know your own tastes better than anyone else does, so nobody else can prepare food you’d consider tastier.
You can work your very favorite ingredients into most of your cooking. For instance, if you love cashew butter, ginger, or red potatoes, you can find several dishes that feature these foods prominently. If you’d take greater pleasure from vegan cole slaw or a satisfying burger, you can eat loads of those foods instead. Do your own cooking and you’ll be able to prepare an endless assortment of delicious vegan foods. You’ll never go hungry!
The basics of vegan cooking require practically no time to learn. You don’t even need a vegan cookbook to get started—just read our vegan cooking guide. Some of the tastiest and healthiest vegan recipes require only a few minutes to prepare. Check out these incredibly versatile yet super quick classics:
You can make each of these foods in countless delicious variations. So even if you don’t explore vegan cooking any further, these five dishes alone can provide for a diverse and healthful diet.
Outfit Your Kitchen
You can completely outfit your kitchen for surprisingly little money. Let’s run through the essential kitchen items.
Essential Cooking & Food Prep Equipment
If you’re going to do cooking, must-have items include:
- kitchen knives
- pots and pans
- can and bottle opener
- salad spinner
- cutting board
- baking sheets
- measuring cups & spoons
- mixing bowls
- vegetable peeler
- citrus reamer
- airtight plastic containers
With the exception of kitchen knives, which we’ll consider in the following section, you needn’t pay much for any of the above items. See our kitchenware guide for detailed buying advice.
Good Cooks Need Good Knives
Most kitchenware items cost surprisingly little. But even if have a tight budget everywhere else, never buy a cheap kitchen knife.
A high quality chef’s knife will make your time spent cooking far more pleasant. You should of your main kitchen knife as a lifetime investment. Just take it in for professional sharpening on a regular basis—for most home cooks, about every six to twelve months. The Victorinox Fibrox 8-inch chef’s knife offers workmanship comparable to restaurant grade knives costing triple the price.
You may also want to buy a utility knife set. These small knives don’t cost much, and you’ll use them all the time.
If you bake your own bread or buy it unsliced, you should also purchase a bread knife. Even inexpensive serrated blades cut beautifully, so don’t need to go premium—a cheap bread knife accomplishes its task perfectly and will last for years.
A few well-chosen kitchen appliances will open up all sorts of food preparation possibilities.
Just a little money spent here goes a long way. Many of the most useful kitchen appliances cost no more than an average restaurant meal. These include items like toasters, blenders, slow cookers, and immersion mixers. More expensive models of these appliances may look fancier but they rarely perform better or last longer.
Other appliances don’t come cheap, specifically:
- Instant Pots
- food processors
- bread machines
- rice cookers
- professional-grade blenders
- microwave ovens
These appliances will expand your cooking options and, over the long-term, can even save you money. For instance, I prepare hummus and soup every week using my Instant Pot and my Blendtec blender. My Instant Pot and Blendtec enable me to save at least five dollars a week over buying commercially-made hummus and canned soup. This savings paid off the full price of these appliances in less than eighteen months.
See our Kitchenware Guide for buying advice on every important piece of kitchenware, including both must-have items and nice-to-have splurges.
You probably have more vegan dining possibilities than you realize. But that all depends, of course, on where you live. Some small towns have nothing but a lone Taco Bell as their one and only vegan-friendly restaurant. But most cities of any size have quite a few excellent vegan dining options.
Searching Google for “vegan food near me” offers the best way to find all your best dining options. You can use a vegan restaurant directories like HappyCow or VegGuide to discover your local options. That’s because Google has a thousand times more listings and reviews than any vegan-oriented restaurant directory.
Vegan-Friendly Restaurant Food
Some cuisines feature plenty of vegan dishes, while others offer virtually nothing. If you want to order reliably vegan food, Middle Eastern restaurants should top the list. Middle Eastern cooking rarely contains dairy or eggs, so as long as you avoid the meat you should have a vegan meal. You do need to watch out for tzatziki, a white sauce made with diced cucumber and yogurt.
You won’t find Ethiopian restaurants in every town (outside of Ethiopia!) but they serve fantastic vegan meals. Since dairy cattle and layer hens never became established in East African agriculture, Ethiopian food rarely features milk or egg products. Many Ethiopian restaurants garnish their entrees with sour cream so always request it left off.
Other Vegan-Friendly Cuisines
No cuisine offers a greater variety of vegetarian dishes than Indian food. Unfortunately milk products commonly appear in this cuisine, often in undetectable amounts. Luckily two of the most popular bean-based dishes—dal and chana masala—virtually never contain dairy products. Chapati flat bread and dosas provide two more delicious vegan options.
Italian food commonly includes lots of cheese, and fresh Italian pasta usually contains eggs. But spaghetti made from dried pasta and topped with marinara sauce should never contain animal products. Even here, though, you must ask for no Parmesan cheese. Most Italian restaurants also serve a simple green salad accompanied by Italian dressing. For both pizzas and salads, unfortunately, your food may get a dusting of Parmesan cheese unless you request otherwise.
Pizza—ordered without cheese, of course—offers another vegan-safe food, since neither the crust nor the marinara sauce should contain animal products. Unfortunately, some pizza chains put dairy in the crust. Also, traditional pizzerias may add Parmesan before serving. So you must inquire before ordering.
Cuisines to Avoid When Dining Out
For vegan cooking at home, nothing beats Mexican food. Unfortunately, Mexican restaurants often put lard in the beans or chicken stock in the rice. You can have a very tough time finding a Mexican restaurant that reliably serves vegan food.
Despite containing loads of rice and vegetables, Chinese restaurant food rarely offers a reliably vegan option. Chicken stock and eggs hide in many dishes. Luckily, you do have one reliably vegan Chinese restaurant option: the PF Chang’s chain. Their vegetarian menu actually features nothing but vegan food, if you look past the technicality that they use cane sugar in their dishes.
Vegan Fast Food Options
The United States has thousands of Taco Bell and Subways restaurants, and you can easily order vegan at either chain.
Subway sells “Veggie Delight” sandwiches, but you must ask for not mayo mayo and cheese. You also have to order your sandwich on white bread, since their whole wheat bread contains honey.
At Taco Bell, order a “Bean Burrito, Fresco Style,” and they’ll swap out the cheese for chunky salsa.
For some of the finest vegan fast food available, visit a Cal-Mex burrito restaurant like Chipotle, Qdoba, or Taco Del Mar. These restaurants serve much higher-quality food than either Taco Bell or Subway. All offer impressive vegan options.
Eating vegan while traveling can add an exciting dimension to your trip. Most parts of the world offer delicious vegan specialties unlike anything you can get at home. As with finding the best vegan restaurants near home, you can find all the best places when traveling by searching Google, Happy Cow, and Trip Advisor.
No matter your destination, you’ll have easy access to markets that sell fruits, vegetables, and other essentials. Most towns have a bakery that sells delicious vegan bread. When making short trips to places that seem inhospitable to vegans, bring along some nuts and energy bars.
And of course, you can always choose to vacation in the most vegan-friendly cities, which include:
- Portland, Oregon (USA)
- Prague, Czech Republic
- London, England
- Guadalajara, Mexico
- Toronto, Canada
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Berlin, Germany
For lots more advice on this topic, see our vegan travel page.
Socializing and Finding Community
Meetup.com offers an unmatched directory of local vegan and vegetarian gatherings. Hundreds of local vegan groups list their events on Meetup. Just type Vegan into the search box and see what nearby events pop up. You will probably find at least one regularly-held vegan dining or potluck event in your community. If you don’t find anything local, consider using the Meetup platform to start your own.
You can also meet like-minded people at big regional vegan festivals. These events take place in cities all over the world. To find one near you, check out our festivals directory.
For dating, most of the big platforms like OK Cupid, Plenty of Fish, and Match.com allow you to search by dietary preference. Also check out VeggieDate, a dating site that caters exclusively to vegetarians and vegans.
Easy But Powerful Steps
Anytime you think of a way to move further toward a vegan diet, act on it. If you can’t come up with anything, any of the following ideas will move the needle:
- Go vegan in your kitchen—never bring animal products into your home.
- You can learn a lot just through a temporary commitment. Give a vegan diet a 21-day test drive.
- Follow Mark Bittman’s Vegan Before 6 plan, and eat vegan each day until dinner.
- If you feel ready to drop a specific animal product—meat, cheese, eggs, or fish—then drop it.
- Commit to trying five new vegan foods a week via restaurant food, grocery products, or your own cooking.
- Boost your motivation another notch by buying yourself a new vegan book or cookbook.
- If there’s a kitchen appliance that will enable you to easily prepare vegan foods that particularly excite you, order it.
- Visit your local natural foods store, and purchase at least five vegan items you’ve never tried
- Remember that beans and vegetables two of the healthiest foods you can eat, so review our coverage and cooking tips for these foods.
- Explore the hundreds of delicious products on the market that offer alternatives to meat, milk, and egg-based foods.
- Order a bottle of Vitamin B-12 so you start out your diet on the right foot.
Why not print out the above list, and revisit it from time to time? Ideas that seem too ambitious today might become easy to do a few months from now.
A Recap of Key Advice
This short guide covered a lot of ground. So let’s run through its key advice to make sure you don’t miss anything crucial:
- A starter book like But I Could Never Go Vegan! will make your transition easier and more enjoyable.
- Take nutrition seriously. Our Vegan Nutrition Guide will enable you to avoid the most common deficiencies that may arise on a vegan diet.
- No matter your cooking skills, make your first vegan cookbook an easy one such as Gaz Oakley’s Plants Only Kitchen.
- The best entry-point to vegan cooking involves mastering the preparation of these five easy foods: smoothies, sandwiches, salads, stir-fries, and roasted vegetables.
- Don’t forget that any supermarket will stock all the vegan foods you need—even though you will hopefully have better local options for groceries.
- Find out if you have a good natural foods store nearby, and also check out your local farmer’s market. Our grocery page will enable you to further round out your diet.
- Searching “vegan restaurants” with the Google app on your phone will enable you to discover your closest dining options. You can also rely on HappyCow.net.
- If you get hungry while traveling and can’t find any vegan restaurants nearby, order Subway’s Veggie Delight on a white roll without cheese or mayo. Or order Taco Bell’s Bean Burrito “Fresco Style.”
- Don’t let yourself become socially isolated! Plenty of vegans live near you—use Meetup.com to find them. Make plans to attend your nearest vegan festival. Also look into whether you live near a farm animal sanctuary.
Easy Does it
As you can see, just a little reading puts you well on your way to becoming vegan. You now know most of the key information needed to make rapid progress.
Going vegan will improve your life in so many ways. And every step matters. So just choose the ideas that excite you most. Never forget that going vegan mainly requires crowding non-vegan foods out of your diet, by discovering plant-based foods that you prefer. So the more unfamiliar vegan foods you sample each month, the faster you’ll go.
A vegan diet emphatically does not demand sacrifice or discipline. On the contrary, feelings of deprivation reliably indicate that you’ve taken a wrong turn. So if you find a day spent vegan even slightly challenging, try taking a step back to regroup. Return your focus to constantly trying new foods, and you’ll resume making rapid and easy progress.
I hope this essay relieved you of any pressures you may have felt in transitioning to a vegan diet. Every long-term vegan will tell you their transition happened far more easily than they ever expected. So relax and have fun—all sorts of delicious discoveries await!