The Ultimate Guide to Going Vegan

So, what’s the deal with going vegan? Everyone seems to be doing it and it’s becoming increasingly more popular to see vegan-only restaurants, cafes and hotels. So what’s all the fuss about vegan lifestyle and is it really worth giving up your favorite cheese? The truth is, the percentage of people going vegan has steadily risen so much over the past few decades that its clear that it isn’t just a fad anymore. Going vegan is about more than just vegan food, but also vegan skin care and more. But how to go vegan?

Veganism has attracted many people worldwide, but especially in the Western world for a number of reasons.

Why Are More People Going Vegan?

how to go vegan

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Millennials have become known for their outspoken consciousness in many areas of life. Socially, politically and even health and wellness wise. More and more people are concerned with what they put in their body and how it affects them. With the popularity of viral documentaries like What The Health and viral social media movements, eating a plant-based diet seems to be many people’s the pathway to a healthy, long life and a way to lessen their impact on animal cruelty in the world.

Being a vegan is about mindfulness and intentionality when it comes to what we allow to nourish our bodies. Opting out of a meat-based diet has been proven to help lower high cholesterol and cutting out things like dairy and choosing more natural ways to get calcium is a healthier and sustainable choice.

A vegan diet is a diet that is free of not only meat but any animal product at all. The difference between a vegetarian and a vegan is that it focuses on obtaining the best properties from the earth’s natural, non-animal based ingredients. That means you are cutting out common animal products like yogurt, eggs and other dairy products.

The benefits of going vegan can positively impact not only your body but also the environment and can help make strides in the fight for animal rights. Overall, going vegan is a huge decision that will take time and diligence, but it proves to be surprising and extremely rewarding.

How to Go Vegan

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Making a transition in your diet into veganism is a huge journey and requires a lot of thought, preparation and diligence. While an increasing number of people go vegan every year, 600% increase in the last three years, the retention rate isn’t necessarily that high. Being vegan is a complete re-haul of the way you view your lifestyle and the way you view food and simply cutting out meat and dairy could leave you doing more harm than you think. Some new vegans are able to quit meat and dairy cold turkey while others take other approaches to go vegan. It is best to pay attention to your body and see how it reacts to your new lifestyle choice.

What to Expect When You Go Vegan

The most important tip about how to go vegan is to remember that your body will undergo some minor changes and you may notice some subtle or big differences. If you’re coming from a meat-heavy diet, your body may take some time to adjust to protein from plant sources, so don’t be surprised if you notice a difference in your muscles, weight, or even energy levels.

Some of the most common bodily changes are weight loss and/or fluctuation. Weight loss is normal and comes from the lower amount of calories that you’ll be consuming. Weight gain is also common when going vegan because most people begin snacking a lot more frequently and there are more vegan snacks out there than you think.

Besides the short term effects of going vegan, one of the things that most vegans rave about is how good you will feel. Eliminating meat and dairy cuts out a lot of the toxins that come in meat and with a proper balanced diet, has been known to make you feel good, make your skin clearer and overall give you a glow that you may not have had before.

Supplements

Taking supplements is plant based diet 101 and in order to have a well rounded diet, you will most likely need to add in supplements into your diet. Vitamin supplements are a great way to avoid vitamin deficiency and make up for whatever nutrients your daily meals may lack. While most of these vitamins can be found naturally in certain foods, some may be more difficult to find or harder to integrate into your diet.

The vitamins and minerals listed here is a general list of what you may need, it’s always best to get a professional opinion from a doctor or nutritionist to see what supplements you may actually need.

  • B12 is seen as one of the holy grails of supplements for both vegans and vegetarians because of the higher risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 rich foods include nutritional yeast, organic produce spirulina and other produce and vegetables grown in B12 rich soil.
  • Zinc is an important mineral found in a few plant foods. If your levels of zinc are too low, you can experience problems such a hair loss, diarrhea and issues with your bodies metabolism.
  • Iron deficiency can lead to anemia and a low immune system. After a proper blood assessment, if you’re found to have low levels of iron, it’s important to consider adding iron-rich foods into your diet. Unfortunately, many iron-rich foods are animal-based (meat). However, cruciferous vegetables, beans and other natural ingredients provide a lot of iron.
  • Vitamin D is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies out there (vegan or not) because there aren’t many foods out there that are rich in vitamin D. However, its important to take vitamin D supplements if you have extremely low levels in your blood and if you are not able to get it through food and sun exposure.

Key Vegan Power Foods

Going cruelty-free can be a drastic change in the way you grocery shop. One of the important parts about going vegan is to familiarize yourself with key ingredients that you’ll need in your pantry. These key ingredients are not only staples for many of your dishes, but also power foods or nutrient-dense foods that are vital in having a healthy and balanced vegan diet.

Vegan Meals, Desserts and Recipes to Try

vegan foods

Going vegan doesn’t have to be har and learning new ways to cook and nourish your body is the most exciting part. Before getting started in the kitchen, stocking up on these vegan food essentials is key and will be the base of most of your at home meals. <

Vegan Grocery Basics

  • Beans (canned and dried) are a staple in any plant based diet. They are versatile, delicious and high in fiber and protein.
  • Cereals and Grains are essential because they serve as great side dishes, breakfast and fill you up. Be careful not to eat too many grains and supplement your meals with high nutritional foods for a good balance.
  • Plant milk or milk alternatives are key and nowadays you’ve got plenty to choose from. Move over soy milk, there’s almond, coconut,
  • Your favorite vegetables and meat substitutes. Vegetables and meat substitutes are obviously one of the most important parts of your diet. Think stir fries, salads and other fun recipes.

Delicious Vegan Recipes

vegan foods acai bowl

Now that you’ve got your vegan pantry together, its time to try out some fun recipes. We’re here to dispel the myth that vegan food is bland, tasteless and boring by showing you some fun delicious recipes to try.

Vegan Breakfast Ideas

Smoothie bowls not only are fun, photogenic, but they also make a great vegan breakfast option. A good vegan breakfast should include ingredients that’ll give you energy and properly fill you up for the start of your day.

Try these smoothie bowl recipes that are both colorful and delicious, like the Super Green bowl that is 100% vegan.

Another common vegan staple breakfast is making your own vegan toast such as the Fruity Peanut Butter Toast or Banana Almond Toast.

Vegan Lunch Ideas

The perfect salad consists of fresh in-season vegetables and delicious toppings and dressings to compliment the vegetables. Salads like this Fava beans and Asparagus Salad, or the protein-rich Quinoa Spring Salad could make the perfect lunch.

Vegan Dinner Ideas

Having some guests over for dinner? Surprise your friends by serving them an all-vegan meal and showing them vegan foods can be great. From tasty appetizers like a spinach and artichoke dip to an impressive Vegan Black Bean Enchiladas, there’s no limit to delicious recipes. If you have to fire up the grill, check out some of the fun vegetarian grilling recipes that’ll get your party started.

Traveling while vegan: Restaurants to try

With the growing amount of vegan restaurants and menus out there, the life of a vegan is much easier when it comes to dining out. Gone are the days of opting for difficult substitutions or settling for french fries. Now when you’re treating yourself to a nice dinner out or are traveling, you can be sure to find some good vegan restaurants in America to eat at.

READ MORE: Top 5 Plant-Based Restaurants in London

Vegan Desserts: Guilt-Free Sweets

chocolate chip cookie recipes

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Being a vegan doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your favorite sweet treats, it just means that now you can enjoy them guilt-free and cruelty-free! You don’t have to say goodbye to your favorite desserts like delicious fudge brownies, caramel popcorn and chocolate peanut butter cups – say hello to delicious vegan desserts. In fact, making these sweet delights are super easy, require few ingredients and are so good you may not even notice they are vegan.

Enjoy an American classic dessert and bake these Vegan Chocolate Chip cookies that’ll blow your mind.

Dry Ingredients:

2 ½ C. unbleached all-purpose flour

¾ C. vegan brown sugar, firmly packed

¾ C. vegan granulated sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 C. vegan chocolate chips

Wet Ingredients:

1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2/3 cups of refined coconut oil

2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix coconut oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar together until blended perfectly. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients until perfectly mixed then finally add in chocolate chips. Cut out dough into drops on an ungreased cookie sheet, bake 11 to 14 minutes. After 1 minute of cooling, transfer to a tightly sealed container to let cool.

 

Veganism as a Lifestyle

vegan avocado

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Eliminating dairy and meat is not the only step in how to go vegan. The food that we eat is just one part of converting to a plant-based and cruelty-free lifestyle. Nowadays vegan skin care and hair care is a fast-growing industry and becoming more accessible and less expensive for the average consumer. After all, the benefits of a natural, plant-based diet are evident on the inside as well as the outside.

What’s cruelty-free?

Cruelty-free is in reference to cosmetics and other manufactured products that do not involve any cruelty to animals or use any animal-made products. That means that these products are not tested on animals or do not harm or kill animals during the entire manufacturing process. It’s a good idea to research if your favorite beauty products are cruelty-free and if not, don’t fret. There are tons of great vegan skin care, makeup and hair care products out there to check out.

Hair

The great thing about vegan products is that since they are comprised of natural ingredients, many of the hair and skin care can be made in the comfort of your own home. Most generic hair care products are packed with nasty chemicals and preservatives that can do more harm than good to your locks.

Going vegan gives you the freedom to customize your hair care to meet your needs. Plus, many of these recipes are super easy with few ingredients!

Green Tea Shampoo

  • 1 cup pure liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s)
  • 1 cup green tea (brewed for 30 minutes)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner

  • 2.5 cups of hot water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 bag of your favorite herbal tea, for fragrance

Check out some more of our top DIY vegan haircare products!

Beauty & Skincare

Changing your beauty products to vegan products is a gateway to healthier skin and less harm to animals, what more could you want? From facial mists, to face masks and daily washes, your new favorite beauty product is around the corner.

Vegan Makeup

Too Faced’s Born This Way Foundation, $39

Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Foundation $40

For more cruelty-free and vegan foundation check out our full breakdown!

Vegan Skin Products

Face Mist: Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare Clear Activating Mist $26.00

Skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel, $31.50

Elemis Superfood Cleansing Wash, $25.00

 

Check out more of our favorite vegan beauty products here>

 

Are you living your best vegan life? Tell us your favorite part about being a vegan down below in the comments!

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