It’s time we let you in on a little secret: going vegan is actually a piece of cake
Whatever brought you as far as this page, you’ve already taken the all-important first step on your vegan journey. Here are some tried and tested tips to help this exciting process go smoothly.
Take it slow
Keep your end goal in mind, but go at your own pace. Some people manage to go vegan overnight and if that's the right approach for you, fantastic. But don't be concerned if you feel you need more time. Like any other lifestyle change, going vegan not only takes getting used to, but it takes time to determine what will work best for you. It's not a one size fits all experience and there are numerous approaches you can take.
Making small changes to your everyday meals is one of the easiest ways to increase the amount of plant-based foods in your diet. You could start by removing meat or dairy one day a week and go from there. Or you could try changing one meal at a time, having vegan breakfasts during your first week, adding a vegan lunch during week two and so on. You could even try changing one product at a time by swapping cow's milk for almond or soya milk or butter for coconut oil or margarine. There's a plant-based alternative for almost every type of food you can think of, so you don't have to miss out on any of your favourite foods. For more inspiration, check out our recipe section as well as Food and drink and our sandwich and wrap filling ideas. On a budget? Our blog featuring the cheapest vegan meals may be able to help.
Do it right
Make sure you don't miss out on essential nutrients. Just because you're vegan that doesn't mean you're 100% healthy, as there are vegan versions of almost every type of junk food you can think of. As long as you eat a wide variety of tasty plant foods, planning a healthy diet that incorporates all the vitamins and nutrients you need will be a breeze. Check out our nutrition pages for more information, or seek advice from a registered dietitian.
Try new things
Treat your taste buds to new foods and new flavours. Leaving your food comfort zone will take you on a voyage of discovery of new cuisines. There are thousands of vegan recipes out there from every corner of the globe. Whatever your culinary preference, you'll encounter amazing new dishes and interesting variations on your old favourites. Yet you don't have to be an award-winning chef to achieve this. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the number of meals you can easily prepare from things already in your kitchen or local supermarket ingredients. Check out our section on shopping for more information, including a list of specialist online vegan stores. If you're based in Britain and not ready to enter out of your comfort zone just yet, our list of vegan-friendly options at UK restaurant chains may help. Those of you interested in vegan cheese may be interested in this blog where we rate some of the different varieties against each other.
Remember that going vegan is a learning curve. To live as a vegan in a non-vegan world takes both courage and curiosity. 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 pat yourself on the back along the way for the progress you've made.
Ask for help
"Where can I buy vegan chocolate?" "How do I bake cakes without eggs?" "I don’t know how to speak to my family about veganism!” Fear not –you're not alone. Our website is full of information and resources covering all of these questions and more. There's nothing like talking to other vegans to make your transition even easier. Link up with others through channels like Facebook or Twitter, or check out our 'Local and Group Contacts' to find your nearest vegan group, where you'll discover many friendly people happy to help. For additional support you should sign up to our free Vegan Pledge where you’ll be supported with daily emails to help guide you through your first month as a vegan.
Keep reminding yourself of the reasons you've chosen a vegan lifestyle, and the benefits you've felt since going vegan. 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. Reading books or regularly watching informative and uplifting videos about veganism can help, as does keeping motivating visual reminders like photos of your favourite animals. Or how about locating your nearest animal sanctuary? Spending time with animals who are traditionally farmed and getting to know their wonderful personalities is a great way to reaffirm your commitment to veganism. If you can't do that, these positive videos of animals will do the same thing.
Don’t give up
If you believe in yourself, vegan living will soon become second nature. There is always a better reason to stick with your decision than to go against it. If you're having issues with friends or family, don't give up: our sections on socialising and solutions to these problems can give you some advice. Remember, there are lots of vegan groups online and off that you can join.
Make sure that you do things along the way that remind you of the joy of vegan living, and take it one day at a time. You've chosen an amazing, exciting and profound way to live your life – be sure to enjoy it.