Tips and resources for new vegans

Image from mercy for animals

Disclaimer, I’m not a professional and have only been vegan for just over 1 year. This post is written based on  my experience and information I have read. I share resources of bloggers with more experience than me and dietitians who know what they are talking about.

Tips for new vegans

Tip #1

Start with meals you recognise. This might mean swapping meat burgers and sausages for their veggie alternatives or swapping beef mince with soy mince. Vegan alternatives are nothing to be scared of, they are often rich in protein and a great replacement for their animal based counterparts. Using replacements makes transitioning to veganism easier and allows you to still enjoy the meals you previously did.

Tip #2

Add variety to your diet. This may mean trying new meals. There are many cuisines to try out from Italian to Asian. Maybe test a new meal each week. Try different fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains, starchy vegetables and nuts/seeds. Similar to trying new meals, adding variety can make your meals more interesting but also means you are more likely to get enough nutrients.

Tip #3

On the topic of nutrition, all vegans need to supplement Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and usually, iodine. You can eat or drink fortified foods and plant based milks but it’s always safer to get a supplement.

Tip #4

Eat enough from the food groups. Virginia Messina (the Vegan RD) recommends you eat a minimum of 5 servings of non starchy vegetables, 4 servings of grains/starches, 3 servings of Legumes (beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, soy foods and seitan),  3 servings of fruit and 1-2 servings of nuts/seeds. She also recommends everyone has a source of omega 3 in their diet and 6-8 servings of calcium rich food. For more information on vegan nutrition see the resources further down. I find making balanced meals the best way to ensure I’m meeting my needs without being obsessive. For every meal I have a serving or more of grains/starches, legumes, fats and fruit/ vegetables. Not every meal has to be balanced as long as the majority of your main meals are. Personally, I find using fortified vegan cheeses and milks a great addition to my diet as they are rich in calcium and some vitamin D and B12. One serving of fortified plant milk counts towards 2 of your 6 servings of calcium rich food. Some vegans make their own cheeses and milks, however, these won’t contain sufficient calcium so it’s a good idea to have these on occasions but not to depend on them for your calcium.

Tip #5

Take it at a pace you are comfortable with. Some people go vegan overnight, whilst others it takes months to years. Remember going vegan is a goal and as long as you are making changes you are doing well. If you can’t adopt a plant based diet right now you may be able to buy cruelty-free makeup and work from there.

Tip #6

Start where is best for you. Some people ‘veganize’ their diet first while others start with clothing, makeup or household items. For people in eating disorder recovery, especially, its a good idea to start from the non-food side of veganism until you are ready to go vegan fully.

Tip #7

Avoid negative online spaces. Everyone is a work in progress, no one is better than anyone else. Find online spaces which offer a community which raises up its members instead of tearing each other down. Some vegan online groups are very diet shaming. If you are sensitive to this talk, as I am, find a better space. The vegan warrior princesses have an amazing space for vegans, old and new, to talk about veganism and other social justice topics. They also have a rule about no food related posts which is great for those in eating disorder recovery.

Tip #8

Learn to cook and bake. Making meals from scratch is a much more cost-effective way of eating what you want. There are lots of great recipe websites online for anything you can think of made vegan. My favourites must be vegan chocolate chip cookies by Isa Chandra Moskowitz or vegan pizzas and parmesan by the Minimalist baker.

Tip #9

Don’t beat yourself up for messing up. It’s common to make mistakes, this doesn’t make you any less vegan, it makes you human. Learn from it and move on.

Tip #10

Center your veganism around animals and ignore all that diet culture rubbish. Veganism is a lifestyle choice which rejects the notion that animals are commodities and for human use. By being vegan you are treating all animals (including humans) with compassion. As animal agriculture plays a big part in climate change you are also helping the environment. While plant based diets are associated with good health outcomes, a vegan diet isn’t the only healthy one. Food and body shaming should have no place in veganism. This behaviour is not only hurtful, but also unnecessary as veganism has nothing to do with health. Eat your vegan donuts in peace and realize that variety and balance make a healthy diet, not one based on unnecessary restrictions.

Tip #11

Support human rights issues as well. There are many other social justice issues which are important, not just animal liberation. It’s vital that we make our vegan spaces safe for minorities and people who would otherwise be left out of the picture. Make sure you are fighting for everyone’s rights not just non-human animals.

Resources for new vegans

Recipe blogs

Lifestyle blogs

Vegan nutrition resources

* resources I use most

Vegan dietitians

Websites for general information on veganism

Advertisements

Author: ethicalalice

Mental health and ethical living blog. Previously diagnosed EUPD with depression, currently diagnosed Bipolar type 1 after a psychotic manic episode. Recovered from anorexia and bulimia.

2 thoughts on “Tips and resources for new vegans”

  1. As a vegan, what are your thoughts on the inhumane labor practices of the produce industry?

    I often see a lot of vegan people overlook this–when the truth about migrant labor in the fruit and produce industry is baffling, disgusting and completely shameful. Veganism is so important to our human understanding of compassion, demolishing anthropocentrism, and helping our environment regain equilibrium…but we also need to be strongly considering the impact that veganism and plant-based diets have on human workers who are treated as less than human.

    Like

    1. I completely agree with you. I feel like this area of human rights is overlooked by not just vegans but most people. I try to buy fairtade produce where possible but this can be difficult as there isn’t a fairtrade option for a lot of produce. For example I cant seem to find fairtade oranges anywhere.
      Buying from local farms when possible may be a way to overcome this, but this isn’t an option for everyone and not all produce can be grown in the UK.
      If you have any ideas please share them.

      I like what the food empowerment project has to say about this issue. I’d recommend checking them out.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s