15 Tips for Going VEGAN in Veganuary
Veganuary is the perfect time to go vegan! You can join a big community of people trying to go vegan at the same time and you can take advantage of many vegan special offers in shops and restaurants. To help you on this journey, I’ve come up with 15 practical tips to go vegan in Veganuary. But, of course, it doesn’t have to be january to start your vegan journey. I hope these tips are helpful to you indepently of what time of the year you start being vegan.
Going vegan was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life! But it’s not always been an easy journey. I went vegan about 15 years ago and there was a LOT I had to learn. To make it easier for you I’ve come up with 15 helpful tips for going vegan I wish I’d known right from the start. This article is mainly about vegan tips for beginners but even some seasoned vegans might find one or two helpful tips. I know it took me years to learn everything I’m going to write about.
Try new things
Going vegan is the perfect opportunity to try new things, like foods, recipes and restaurants. In my first tip for going vegan, I want to talk about trying new foods. Try products you’ve heard about but maybe never tried before and be open to new foods you’ve never even heard of before. As what happens when you try new things, you’ll probably come across things you don’t like. Just don’t get discouraged. The next thing you try might become your new kitchen staple.
Try new foods you’ve never even heard of before
Two examples of foods I’ve never heard of before being vegan are nutritional yeast and Kala Namak. Nutritional yeast, not to be confused with normal baking yeast, is great for cooking and seasoning since it gives your food a bit of a cheesy flavour. And Kala Namak is a special kind of salt with tastes a bit like eggs.
Try foods you’ve heard of but haven’t really tried
Try out different kinds of plant-based milk to find the one you like best. Don’t give up if you for example try soy milk and don’t really like it. Try oat, almond, coconut, rice, pea or whatever other plant-based milk you can get. You might even like one milk for your oats but not the same one for your morning coffee.
Stick to vegan recipes at the beginning
I know many vegans who wanted to cook a vegan version of their usual non-vegan meals and failed at the attempt to veganizing it. So, my tip for going vegan for beginners is to just google vegan recipes and follow them. The success rate will be higher unless you’re a kitchen magician who doesn’t fail. Further down the line, once you’re more confident in your vegan cooking skills, you can, of course, go back and try to create a vegan version of your former favourite foods.
Read up on nutritional needs and arguments for being vegan
My friend said I should skip this point because it sounds like work and nobody wants to hear it. But I think it’s very important to know, so I’ll talk about it anyway. Being informed about where to get your nutrition from is on the one hand very important for your own health and on the other hand, you know what to answer to people who ask if you get all the nutrition you need as a vegan. And believe me, people are gonna ask! No idea why people suddenly believe themselves experts in nutrition if faced with a vegan.
Read up on nutrition
Research which plant-based foods contain which nutrients. I’m neither a doctor nor a dietician, so you should look for detailed explanations somewhere else. The most famous vegan doctor who made it his life’s work to educate about the health benefits of a vegan diet is Dr Greger. On his webpage NutritionFacts.org you can read up on all the dietary questions you might have.
Besides people asking where you get your nutrition from, people are also going to ask why you’re vegan. And if you’re like me, it might be difficult to articulate your reasons in an understandable way. In that case, it might be helpful to watch some documentaries on it. The most famous documentary about being vegan for health and fitness is Game Changers. If you are interested to learn more about arguments for being vegan for environmental reasons watch Cowspiracy. And for ethical argumentation watch Earthlings, a great documentary narrated by Joaquin Phoenix.
Eat more legumes
Eat more legumes since this will be your main source of protein. It doesn’t always have to be just beans though. You can eat beans, lentils, edamame, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, or hummus.
By the way, legumes are a great start for a zero-waste-friendly kitchen, since you can buy them easily in a zero waste or bulk store. You can store them in an air-tight container and cook them when needed (depending on what kind of legumes you might need to soak them first). The already-cooked legumes can be stored in the fridge for a few days.
If you’re interested in a zero-waste-friendly lifestyle you might also like these 12 alternatives for a zero waste bathroom.
Take vitamin B12 supplements
You can get almost all your Vitamins from eating your fruits and veggies, one vitamin you can not get that way is vitamin B12. It doesn’t occur in any plant-based foods. Vitamin B12 is found in microbes on the earth and it’s vital for your brain functions. So, instead of eating dirt from the ground or eating animals who ate the dirt from the ground, just get vitamin B12 supplements from a pharmacy.
Maybe take DHA and EPA supplements
Really everyone will agree that vegans need to supplement B12, for DHA and EPA the case is not as clear. DHA and EPA are part of Omega 3, under which name they’re more widely known and they also play a role in your brain functions. Omega 3 is naturally found in algae, chiaseeds and flaxseeds. To be safe I decided on taking Omega 3 supplements every other day. But, as I said, I’m not a doctor, so you might want to read up on it before deciding if you should get some supplements as well.
If you decide to get Omega 3 supplements, make sure you get vegan ones since most Omega 3 supplements contain fish oil and are not vegan. You can easily get great vegan Omega 3 supplements as well though.
Not everything that’s vegan is labelled as such
Going shopping as a vegan has never been easier. You can often skip reading the tiny font ingredient list as you can just keep an eye out for a vegan logo. How the vegan label looks depends on the country but also on the company. That’s super convenient, but kind of obvious. So my tip is not to look out for the vegan label, but that not everything vegan has a label.
Discover accidentally vegan things
Like I said in the previous tip not all vegan things are labelled vegan. So, there are many “accidentally” vegan things out there. Some of your favourite snacks might have been vegan all along without you even knowing it. Oreo cookies and skittles for example are vegan, to name just two worldwide known accidentally vegan sweets.
“May contain traces of”
When you go shopping and read through the ingredient lists of products you might come across the sentence “May contain traces of…” When I saw this for the first time I was a bit off-put because I didn’t know what it meant. By now I know and for my next tip for going vegan I want to share the meaning with you. It just means that in the same factory they also produce products which do contain those ingredients. For liability reasons they have to state that it might contain ingredients from other products, the factory produces in case someone is super allergic to it. From a vegan perspective, those products are totally safe to consume.
Don’t try to convince your family and friends to go vegan
I’m sure you’ve heard the jokes before that vegans can’t go through a single meal without proclaiming that they’re vegan. Even though in my experience is that in reality, it’s the other way around, other people bring up veganism if they sit at a table with a vegan. Either way, don’t be that vegan who can’t talk about anything else. And don’t try to convince your friends and family to go vegan. Most of the time it will be fruitless and mentally very exhausting for you. So, just show people that it’s possible and that it’s a perfectly normal thing to do. I’d say be a role model but that sounds too cheesy.
Find new vegan friends
It is great to share your experiences on your vegan journey with other people, so, my next tip for going vegan and sticking with it is to find some vegan friends. You can start by finding a local vegan Facebook group, I know Facebook is so old-school but still amazing in the vegan community. But ultimately I think it’s better to make some real-life connections. So, you can ask online if there’s a vegan meet-up in your town or in a town near you. If there isn’t, you could organise a vegan meet-up yourself.
I know at some point in your life looking for new friends might seem difficult, but at least for me, it was so worth it. I just love meeting my vegan friends and cooking some vegan food together or going to an all-vegan restaurant. Being in that kind of vegan bubble is just amazing.
Try some all-vegan restaurants
A great place to meet your new vegan friends or to start a vegan meet-up is in an all-vegan restaurant. There are many advantages to going to all-vegan restaurants. You don’t have to check on the menu what is vegan, you can just order anything you fancy. There’s no chance that there’s a mix-up in the kitchen and you get something non-vegan (and believe me those mix-ups happen!) It’s great to support an all-vegan company and you don’t have to see or smell meat.
Get an app to find vegan restaurants
Depending on the size of the city you live in, you might know all the vegan restaurants anyway, but if you don’t there are some great apps out there to help you. My favourite app to look for vegan restaurants is HappyCow. I’m not sponsored by them by the way, I just love the app and have been using it for years now. In the app, you can filter by vegan or vegetarian restaurants and businesses or see all vegan options places out there with reviews. Most places are just added by the users, so it might take some time until a newly opened restaurant can be found on the app if the owners don’t add it themselves. The only thing that’s not that great in the app is the accuracy of the opening times, they’re wrong a lot, so I would recommend double-checking them on Google.
You don’t have to be perfect
Changing your diet or your whole lifestyle to vegan can be a lot at the beginning. And the chances are very high that you will consciously or unconsciously eat something non-vegan sooner or later. But that’s okay, you don’t have to be perfect at being vegan. The important thing is that you don’t give up!
Secret tips for going vegan at the end
The last and most important tip for going vegan is that you subscribe to my e-mail list and to my social channels. No, just kidding of course. I just thought 15 tips for going vegan from a 15-year vegan had a better ring to it than 14 tips from a 15-year vegan. But of course, I would be happy if you subscribe. Either way, I’m sure you’ll do fine in your vegan journey. Like I said in the beginning, going vegan was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life and for me, there’s definitely no going back.
If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments or send me an e-mail through my contact form.
This is really interesting! Completely agree regarding not giving up if you don’t like one product! For example I like almond milk in coffee and smoothies but not keen on it alone, where as rice milk is lovely to drink!
Yes, it’s so important to try things yourself! I, for example, like rice milk probably the least of all plant-based milk 😅
I’ve been a vegetarian since 2001 and have seriously considered becoming vegan. Thank you for this super helpful list of 15 tips for going vegan!
Thank you! Good luck and don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions 🙂
Really great article. I am almost vegan. I chose to become a vegetarian when I was 11 and have never looked back. A couple of years ago I discovered that dairy was the cause of horrific daily cramps I had been getting for months and months. So I reluctantly gave up dairy. Ive found it easy enough in the most part but I do find that the chocolate is not quite as good as dairy chocolate and no cheese I have tasted so far compares. I do miss cheese so bad. Do you have any recommendations?
I had no idea about vitamin B12 though so better find some of those. Thanks!
That’s great :). I’m so glad you discovered what caused the cramps and that you don’t have them anymore. It’s a bit difficult to say since the selection in different countries is quite different. In Europe (I live in Austria) there are loads of vegan milk chocolates, they’re usually with rice milk and taste amazing, but I’m not sure if you can get them for example in the United States. With cheese, I’d say try different brands. Different brands taste very different. My favourite is homemade vegan Camembert with cashews though, but it takes about 2 weeks to make. It tastes great, however, and it’s worth the time. I take B12 tablets, but you can also get it in oil form or you can even get B12-enriched toothpaste.
wow, you went vegan so many years ago! Good tips! I think it’s important to find good vegan recipes and learn new ways to cook, at the beginning.. and try new products/food – you can discover such an amazing variety of things. For me nutrition knowledge came with time, I actually know much more about nutrition now than I ever did before I went vegan 😀
I love discovering new vegan products 💚
These are great tips for going vegan. It can be very intimidating for people to make the switch but having resources like this at your fingertips can really help ease that transition. And once you get going there’s certainly no turning back. Thanks for sharing your vegan wisdom.
You’re right, at the beginning, it can be very intimidating, but so worthwhile!
Excellent post on going vegan! I’ve been vegan for almost seven years and initially made that choice for health reasons. Best decision!