So you’re thinking of going vegan, or maybe you’re just curious. Perhaps you saw or heard something that intrigued you, inspired you, or made you think: If I was to go vegan, how could I go about it and where would I start? Well you’ve come to the right place, here are some useful things to do/know while you begin to embark on your vegan journey.
Step 1: Discover your passionPeople go vegan for an array of reasons, so it’s important to research veganism and its benefits. Often, vegans are passionate about the lifestyles of positive health, environmental, or ethical impacts, so it would be helpful to look into these topics to decide where your passion lies. Discovering your raison d’etre will give veganism a more powerful meaning and will allow you to commit to the lifestyle more easily. For example, if you learn about the unethical treatment of animals that is a part of the meat and dairy industry, it will give you more motivation to live a vegan lifestyle. Or perhaps you are passionate about living an eco-friendly lifestyle to help with environmental issues and global warming. In that case, finding a few statistics that show how the vegan diet reduces your carbon footprint will be quite helpful in motivating you to live a vegan lifestyle.
Step 2: Learn your ingredients
Now that you’re passionate about an aspect of veganism, it’s time to start learning about which foods are vegan and which are not. Commonly known to most, vegans do not consume meat, dairy, eggs, or honey. It is essential to become informed about the lesser-known ingredients that can be lurking in some foods.
- Gelatin (a food ingredient made by boiling animal body parts/bones)
- Bone char (commonly used to produce some types of processed sugar)
- Carmine (a red food coloring made from insects)
These are only a brief overview, and you can find a more comprehensive list of animal-derived ingredients here. Although this may look overwhelming, the good news is, food labeling is getting a lot easier to read, and a lot of vegan products will already have vegan written on their packaging. Additionally, if you’re eating a diet that consists mostly of whole foods, you won’t have too many confusing labels to read!
Step 3: Vitamins and nutrients
The next step you should take is to find out how to get your vitamins as a vegan. Some nutrients you should focus on when you start living a vegan lifestyle are protein, iron calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and Omega 3 Faty Acids. Get to know these vitamins and which vegan foods are high in each one so you can make sure to incorporate them into your diet. You can get most of these nutrients through vegetables, legumes, and seeds; however, it is recommended that you take vitamin B12 and vitamin D supplements as a vegan. You can also go to a medical practitioner for more health-related advice on how much of each nutrient you need or how to retain these nutrients most efficiently.
Step 4: Find easy foods and meat-alternativesNow that you’ve got your health covered, it’s time to satisfy your tastebuds! It’s very important to become aware of vegan brands and food products that are sold in your local supermarket. Doing some research on what products are on the market makes a huge difference as it vastly widens your options and can spark creativity within your meals. You can start by looking up vegan alternatives for the animal-based foods you used to enjoy. There is an increasingly large number of vegan meats and cheeses on the market as well as many vegan baked goods and quick meals! It’s also worth taking a look at the vegan restaurant options near you. More and more, there are exclusively vegan/vegetarian establishments so you can find tasty new places to eat out. It also makes it very easy to order!
Step 5: Join a community
Lastly, once you are ready to live a vegan lifestyle, it is helpful to surround yourself with supportive and like-minded individuals. Having vegan friends around you will help you stay motivated, keep you inspired, and will also be quite convenient when eating out as you can all eat at the same places! Facebook groups are beneficial in establishing vegan connections. Check if there are any vegan groups on Facebook made for your city or surrounding areas and attend any meetups and events they may run. University groups also may offer vegan clubs. Additionally, you can also follow vegan YouTubers if you are yet to make vegan friends.
Hopefully, after following these tips, you can thrive on the vegan lifestyle, and the only regret you’ll have is not making the change sooner!
We are concerned with animal welfare and use no animal-derived materials in making any of our products. The Urban Explorer Bag is made from fabric remnants and ethically produced by hand at a factory that pays a living wage, has reasonable working hours and a good work environment.
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