Today’s post is aimed at anybody who is thinking of trying veganism, and to those who have made the decision, but are just starting out. It won’t be full of technical information, or loaded with peer-reviewed articles. Just some questions to consider, and a few options.
Regardless of what non-vegans might think, there are a tonne of food options for vegans. We think it seems pretty obvious that the more you like what you eat, the more likely you’ll be able to stay vegan, and enjoy it. So one of the most important questions to ask yourself before you get into vegan food, is what kind of diet do you have now?
- Ready meal junkie – If you’re too busy to cook or have no interest in food beyond the microwave, don’t worry, there are lots of vegan versions out there, both those aimed at vegans, and those that are vegan by happy accident. Health shops tend to stock a bigger range than supermarkets, but all the big 4 sell them. Cooking for vegans offer a decent list of products here in case you struggle to spot vegan food on the shelves yourself.
- Can’t cook/won’t cook, the cold-cut connoisseur – The beauty of vegan food is that so much of it is edible, and tasty, fresh and uncooked. The raw fruit diet is a viable regime, but there’s also a growing variety of vegan milk alternatives to have with cereal, vegan spreads with vegan breads, crackers, ricecakes, veg, and the delicious goodness-rich, versatile wonder food that is houmous (hummus).
- Meat lover – If you’ve been raised on a heavily meat-based diet and love your meaty classics, meat substitutes are probably going to be your best option. Quorn might be one of the biggest brands, but alternatives exist. Soya and tofu are easy to flavour for that meaty taste, and mushroom is often praised for its meaty texture.
- Do you even lift, bro? – Frankly, the stereotypical ‘how do you get your protein’ question that all vegans face, is a question asked in complete ignorance. The plant world is chock full of delicious and high protein food sources; it’s no problem whatsoever to get your daily recommended amount, or more. Lots of variety too. One green planet share 10 great options, complete with recipe links, here.
What should I do with all my non-vegan stuff?
A question that seems to come up a lot, when people decide to follow a vegan lifestyle and suddenly realise that they have a house full of leather shoes and woolly jumpers. This is a purely ethical choice, but here are some options:
- Destroy them. Impulsively, this might seem best, but you need to ask whether this dishonours the life of the animal that died to make the goods, and whether you are happy to dispose of the materials and resources used in the creation of your item, whatever it may be.
- Sell them. Technically an option that prolongs the lifespan of the item. But profiting from an industry you are now ethically opposed to sounds grim to us.
- Recycle. Won’t always be possible, but for the most part this preserves the usefulness of the item, without lining your wallet. Unfortunately it seems likely someone else will be profiting from the animals’ sacrifice and your change of morals though.
- Repurpose. Perhaps you don’t feel you can wear or use your products yourself, but would they make an awesome pet toy, or fulfill a function somewhere in your household that means they can live out the rest of their usefulness without being a visible reminder of your pre-vegan life?
- Donate. The items still have a useful potential, even if you no longer believe in them ethically. Sometimes people can’t afford to be picky about the clothes they wear or the products they own, and would really appreciate all your preloved items. If you can donate direct rather than via a charity store or a cause, there’s less chance of your donation funding anything non vegan, and you’re more likely to get chance to explain to the beneficiary all about the reasons you no longer feel ethical using them!
- Keep them, use them. You may no longer feel the items you own are ethical, but the creatures that made them have already suffered. You may not want that involuntary sacrifice to go in vain. If so, continuing to use them can be a moral choice, but make sure you have the grit to weather any harsh questions and comments that might come your way. You could always use the opportunity to educate the inquisitors about your change of heart.
What am I hoping to achieve?
Remind yourself why you are choosing to go vegan, or give it a try. There are lots of reasons, including health benefits, environmental, welfare, financial, or even social. We really recommend setting reasonable goals to act as milestones on your journey, which will keep you motivated and show you the real benefit of your decision. A great tool we love is the vegan calculator, which helps show you the positive impact of your lifestyle.
And that’s a wrap! We hope you enjoyed this post and found it at least somewhat informative. As always, if you have any questions or comments about the contents of this blog post, or feel we missed something, please feel free to comment below, email us direct at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet us @earthlovingpaws.
Thanks for reading!