I’ve been vegan for about two years now. For me, veganism is an ethical viewpoint that encompasses a whole lifestyle, not just diet. However, a vegan diet is most widely talked about. This makes sense since it’s a huge part of our lives and a big change to make. There are endless reasons to make the switch to a vegan lifestyle, and especially to a plant-based diet. Health, environmental, and, most importantly, the sweet little animals who die for our consumption. I went vegan overnight after watching documentaries like What the Health, but others take time transitioning. It’s a big adjustment to make, so it’s understandable to slowly change the way you eat to align with your morals!
With the endless variety of vegan products now available and coming soon, being vegan is getting easier and easier. I’ve compiled some of my favorite tips to reduce consumption of animal products, which can help you slowly transition to veganism. The end goal should always be to reduce our contribution to animal suffering as much as possible, and you have to start somewhere!
Do meatless/plant-based Mondays.
One day a week can’t be that hard, right? Make a plan to completely remove animal products from your diet for just one day! The way to make this most effective is to not just remove animal products, but to actively incorporate new foods and plan meals that use plants. You can try out a new recipe every week and experiment with different types of dishes.
Eat plant-based lunches.
Like meatless Mondays, this is a way to practice a vegan diet in a manageable chunk. Generally, I pack my lunches and it’s super easy to come up with lots of vegan lunch ideas. Here are some of my favorites:
-peanut butter and jelly sandwich with fruit
-pasta with red sauce and steamed veggies
-hummus with pita bread and carrots, broccoli, and zucchini
-taco salad with beans, tomato, cilantro, corn, lettuce, avocado, and salsa
-veggie wrap with hummus
Use a plant-based milk.
Here’s the dealio. Plant milks taste better and are more nutritious than cow’s milk anyway. My personal favorite is soy milk because it’s cheap, protein-rich, and neutral tasting. Others prefer oat milk, cashew milk, pea milk… the options are endless. Play around and try out which one you like best! They work exactly same in baking, and taste good with things like cereal and oatmeal!
Eat more veggies.
Simply incorporating more vegan foods means you have less room on your plate for animal foods! Your body truly loves healthy, wholesome foods, and the more you feed them to your body, the more your body will start craving them.
Switch easy recipes for vegan ones.
Baked goods are some of easiest to make dupes for without using animal products. Explore online different recipes that sound good to you! Waffles are so easy to make vegan with this recipe (LINK). Chocolate chip cookies taste the exact same with this Betty Crocker vegan recipe (LINK).
Only buy vegan groceries.
If you live independently or have the freedom to pick the groceries you buy, the food at your home is totally in your control. Make a conscious effort to only buy vegan groceries for your home. If you only have vegan foods at home, you’ll only eat vegan foods at home. Simple as that! This is a huge step, but doesn’t feel as exclusionary as saying you can’t accept food from coworkers at work or get your favorite fast food.
Be aware of vegan restaurant options.
Eating out can be a major struggle, and it’s so easy to quickly grab a burger or nuggets on the way home. Simply being aware of vegan fast food options enables you to make vegan choices. Some of my favorite vegan restaurant options include…
-Taco Bell: sub beans for beef and make it fresco style to veganize most menu items
-Olive Garden: breadsticks are vegan(!!!!!!!), as well as all noodles and the marinara sauce
-Subway: load up the wheat bread with all the veggies and italian dressing, or get a salad with avocado
-Click this link for more: Best Chain Restaurants for Vegans
Always plan ahead.
Bring snacks, look up restaurants, and meal prep. Simply knowing what you’re going to eat when and where allows you to make more ethical choices without having to panic about it. I like to throw a few apples in my bag wherever I go or pack a meal when I’m not sure I’ll have a veg option.
Find some “replacement products” that you love.
Not every vegan cheese is created equal! Personally, I love Daiya’s cutting board collection…. but other people absolutely hate it. If you’re trying to incorporate vegan meats or cheeses in your diet, you might have to shop around to find ones you love. Your availability could differ where you live, but Gardein never fails me—especially their chicken strips! That’s a great place to start. It can also be helpful to mix the products into other things, like adding Gardein beefless crumbles into spaghetti, to help transition yourself to that taste.
While eating a vegan diet can seem intimidating at first, it definitely gets easier and becomes almost second nature! These simple changes can be integrated into anyone’s lifestyle and make an impact on the lives of animals, the environment, and your health!
How are you going to reduce your consumption of animal products?