Hi, I'm Sophie. I'm a Postgraduate Student studying a Research degree in Media and Cultural Studies. I'm also a photographer and big lover of dogs!
So you want to give Veganuary a go? It may seem a little daunting if you have never delved into Veganism before, but I promise it is not as hard as it seems! Whether you’re only planning to do the month, or if you’re hoping to evolve into a longer term lifestyle change, here is a 5 Step Starter Pack to help you on your Vegan journey.
Step 1: Make a plan
Going in prepared will help you to know exactly what you can get for meals and what you can do lifestyle wise. There are many Vegan bloggers on Social Media who share their knowledge – from how to be vegan on a budget to accounts dedicated to beauty and lifestyle. Knowing particular brands and products to keep an eye out for makes the act of shopping much less daunting, and you will also be reducing food waste by potentially buying things in error.
Look online in advance so that you can familiarise yourself with products, and plan your budget accordingly.
Step 2: Look for substitutes
Most supermarkets now have dedicated vegetarian and vegan (or plant-based) sections, where the majority of what you will want is grouped together, making shopping a lot easier.
Even some big name brands now have Vegan versions of their popular products, so it might be an idea to start with names that you know before you branch out. It is important to note that some substitute products can be pricier than the animal-derived versions, and so this is where Step 1 will benefit you.
Step 3: Don’t expect it all to be the same
I’m looking at you, cheese. The biggest consensus amongst both new and old vegans is that certain foods will just not taste the same when first starting out, but this is not something to be put off by.
Cheese is one of the biggest examples of this – whilst there are some amazing Vegan cheeses out there, they take some getting used to, and it is recommended that you give it a couple of months for your taste buds to regenerate before you start trying Vegan cheeses. This can be applied to most foods – if you don’t like it the first time, don’t give up! There are so many products and recipes and you just need to find the right one for you.
Step 4: Look for supportive communities
Online communities are some of the best ways to receive support for your new venture. Vegans old and new are available to help, guide and advise you when you are unsure, and there are many pages out there that show what products you can buy. There are even pages dedicated to showing what is classed as “accidentally Vegan” – products that contain no animal ingredients that you may well already be buying.
Veganuary itself has many dedicated blogs and forums all designed to help new Vegans – these can be found on their website or by simply searching Veganuary on your chosen social media.
Step 5: Remember why you started
You’ll probably find going vegan a lot easier than expected, but if you do have a bad day or feel this whole vegan thing is too much like hard work – take a deep breath and briefly reflect on your choices and why you chose to start in the first place. Veganuary is all about learning, so whether you’re doing it for animals, environmental, or maybe even health reasons, reading books or regularly watching informative and uplifting videos about veganism can help, as does keeping motivating visual reminders.
Remember that going vegan is a learning curve, and it may take time to get used to. The mainstream concept of Veganism has been around since ~1944, but it’s still a relatively new concept to many people. It’s important you allow yourself time to learn about the various strands of Veganism – and remember to reward yourself along the way for the progress you’ve made.