Here are my four top tips to make it easy for a beginner vegan.
1. Going Vegan – Keep It Simple.
Veganism still has a reputation for being complicated but it really isn’t!
You don’t have to cook everything from scratch, vegan food doesn’t need endless lists of weird ingredients and it’s really easy to veganise some familiar favourites.
2. Shopping Tips For A Beginner Vegan.
To make things even easier for new (and old!) vegans the supermarkets have all realised that veganism is a huge growth area! They are upping their game with lots of vegan ready meals, plant milks, vegan cheeses, frozen goods, snacks and treats.
Look in the Free From aisles and in the Vegetarian section of the freezers but also check out the dairy and meat aisles where, increasingly, they are popping a plant based section.
Reading labels will soon be second nature to you but, when you are starting out, you need to be looking for the ingredients listed in bold on the back of packets – dairy and eggs are allergens so they have to be highlighted clearly, which is very handy! You will also need to look out for animal derived ingredients like gelatine, isinglass and animal fats.
There are lots of websites and phone apps to help you as you start out, Is It Vegan has a useful barcode scanner and Barnivore is very useful in the wine aisle while Happy Cow can help you find somewhere vegan friendly to eat out wherever you are.
Lots of old favourites are accidentally vegan too and I’ve had some happy surprises in the biscuit aisle! It is worth following Accidentally Vegan on Instagram where they post all their latest vegan product finds in the UK.
2. Beginner Vegan – Be Kind To Yourself.
Veganism is a journey and everyone’s journey is different. Don’t be knocked off stride if you slip up and, either accidentally or on purpose, fall off the vegan wagon. Dust yourself off, buy your favourite vegan takeaway and just put one foot in front of the other. It gets easier and easier until it becomes second nature, I promise!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, there are lots of us out here who are more than willing to give you a helping hand! Find a supportive community to help you on your journey, whether you want to know where to buy the best vegan cheese or how to deal with friends and relatives who find it hard to believe you are still alive on a vegan diet and really want to know where you get your protein!
Facebook is full of vegan support groups (don’t be afraid to join lots and then to leave most of them immediately if they don’t fit you – that is what I did!), Veganuary has a very good website full of advice and recipes and I am always very happy to answer questions here, via email or over on my Facebook Page.
3. Be Prepared.
Lots of my recipes can be doubled up and you can freeze half for another day, this is a life saver when you have had a really busy day and you just can’t be bothered to cook!
I also make sure I have a good stash of frozen vegan burgers (Linda McCartney’s 1/4 pounders are a firm family favourite), sausages, falafels and oven chips to hand as well as baked beans, hummus, good bread, snacking nuts and a big bowl of fruit. I never know which children are going to be here at any one time or who they will have with them so I need to be sure I’ve got stuff handy to fill them up with at the drop of a hat!
Vegan doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t all have to be cooked from scratch – a good balance is easy to find and I’m happy to help you to find it!
4. Experiment and Enjoy!
Going Vegan isn’t going without and as you begin to explore the possibilities I am confident that you, like me, will quickly discover just how much variety there is with vegan cooking.
When you remove meat, fish, eggs and dairy from your menu you have to find exciting ways to use vegetables, pulses, grains, fruits, nuts and seeds and there are an infinite number of vegan recipes to discover.
Follow me here as I show you how to make creamy curries, cheesy pasta dishes, light and fluffy vegan cakes and how to produce dramatic showstoppers to wow even the most entrenched meat eaters at your table!
5. A Bonus Vegan Beginner Tip!
Have a good rummage around my blog where you will find breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas as well as cakes and bakes and sweets and desserts. If there is something you are craving and want some pointers, reach out and ask, I will do my very best to help.
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