So here are my top tips on preparing to go veggie/vegan.
- First of all, if you’re going vegan, consider going vegetarian first to ease the transition – if only just for a week or two. Although essentially you’ll be cutting out all the crap, you still want to give your body time to adjust. And it will likely make it a lot easier too, giving up just meat as opposed to meat and dairy in one go.
- Do your research. Do all the research! Veganuary was a big help, as was PETA (and that list of accidentally vegan snacks, oh yes) but it’s not just about discovering what food you can and can’t have. It’s definitely worth researching what to avoid in food labels (and maybe how to understand food labels), what vegan products supermarkets offer (Tesco do an extensive list, I’m not sure about other supermarkets though) and even why you’re doing it. I didn’t watch any documentaries because like I said, I’ve always been quite ignorant to that stuff, but I do still plan to at some point. Earthlings and Cowspiracy are popular ones.
- Shop online. This may take a while, in fact I’d set aside an afternoon two to three days before your ‘vegan start date’ to do this. It’s so much easier to shop online, if even just for your first big shop. You can patiently double check what is and isn’t vegan, research recipes (really helpful if you like to stick to a meal plan) and just take your time – you’re also likely to save money this way too. Don’t do what I did and wait till the second day of being vegan to run around Tesco like a headless chicken.
Also – I say 2 to 3 days beforehand because if you’re shopping online, you’ll want to get it delivered or picked up. Usually all the slots go if you leave it as late as a day before, and you don’t want to be stuck starving with nothing vegan to eat.
- Do meal plans. Grown up and boring? Yes. But SO helpful.
- …but stock up on alternatives too. As mentioned before, Fry’s Family Foods are super great for this. I’d recommend the traditional sausages and the schnitzels.
- Don’t be afraid to treat yourself. Sure, some crisps and chocolate that are vegan may not be the healthiest thing, but it’s still healthier then most. Stock up on vegan/veggie snacks for when you’re hungry, else you’ll resort back to grabbing whatever is in your fridge – vegan or not.
- Look into where you’ll be getting your protein instead, too. I wasn’t very good at this, but it’s definitely something you should do to make up what you’re losing by not eating meat.
- Finally, be proud of yourself. You’ve made a decision to make a great change to both your body and the earth – and you’re saving animals too.
And I think that’s about it! The main important things to remember are to research and prepare beforehand, and enjoy yourself while doing so. It’s a really positive change you’ll be making and it’ll better yourself too – I’m still really happy that the challenged pushed me to cook more and actually gave me a genuine interest in cooking. And this is coming from a girl who can mess up scrambled eggs on toast. That’s a skill that will stay with me for life (learning to cook more, not failing to make scrambled eggs) – which, on top of everything, makes the decision I made more than worth it.