Looking to start your vegan journey but unsure of where to begin? This week we teamed up with vegan food blogger Sammy Baker (@bakeydoesntbake) who gave us her start up tips on going vegan.
Going vegan can be completely daunting but now is the perfect time to try – It has never been easier! With mainstream supermarkets getting on board and vegan recipes galore on social media, veganism is now much simpler than it used to be.
1. Start Small
No one is expecting you to go vegan overnight. It is hard giving up your standard routine and certain foods that you enjoy, so start off small. How about trying out meatless Monday’s? Why not start using plant milk in your coffee? Going vegan shouldn’t be a struggle, it should be fun!
I started my journey by initially giving up dairy and then taking part in Veganuary, not expecting to stick with it at all and over two years later, here I am!
2. Try Out Something New
There are so many weird and wonderful foods coming out at the moment. Ever tried pea milk? How about black bean brownies? Jackfruit? Banana blossom? When starting out on my vegan journey, I realised there were so many foods I hadn’t tried before that I needed to. I fell in love with fried tofu and nutritional yeast after previously not being fussed by them. Oh, and jackfruit. What an amazingly simple thing to cook up and it tastes fantastic!
If you’re worried about cooking these foods yourself, I would really recommend going to a vegan restaurant or event. If you’re struggling for vegan restaurants local to you, take a look at Happy Cow for recommendations and reviews across the world!
3. Trouble Replacing Dairy? It Doesn’t Have To Be Scary!
I remember worrying so much about dairy substitutes when I went vegan. I’d never tried dairy free cheese, only had soy milk a handful of times and what the hell was I going to do without eggs?!
I am now very comfortable with the whole concept of not having dairy, so here are some of my favourite substitutes for you to try!
- Fresh Better
If you’re unable to find or order these, keep in mind that some margarines do not contain any dairy, so may be accidentally vegan!
There are an amazing amount of vegan milks out there now, it is truly phenomenal. My all-time favourite has to be Oatly, it seems to work with everything and makes a standard coffee extra special.
Other brands I would recommend trying out are:
- Alpro – They have a wide range to choose from including almond, hazelnut, soya and oat. They also have flavoured versions of these milks which are a lovely treat, such as chocolate and vanilla.
- Califia Farms – Fantastically creamy plant milks with a range to choose from including almond milk cold brew coffee.
- Qwrkee – Sweetened and unsweetened pea milk which is delicious! I was very hesitant about this one, but it is great for adding to a cuppa!
- Koko Dairy Free – Yummy coconut milk -I love using this one in baking!
This is more of a tricky one. Depending on where you are in the world, there will be different options. For example, the ‘Just Egg’ is available in the US which looks truly revolutionary. I highly recommend taking a peek at it even if, like me, you’re not based there.
In the UK, we have some great options too such as Terra Vegane’s Egg-Free Omlette Mix, the Vegan Egg by Follow Your Heart and Free and Easy’s Egg Replacer.
If you’re looking for something a little different, I would recommend trying a tofu scramble out (here’s a great recipe from The Vegan Society) and for baking, try out a chia ‘egg’ or a flax ‘egg’.
Ah cheese, the way to my heart! When going vegan, this was my number one concern, as I am sure it is for many people. Perhaps, my one and only concern really, but I soon found out that there are lots of amazing cheeses to choose from, such as:
- Kinda Co. – If you’re based in the UK, you absolutely must make an order from these guys! The range is great and the flavours/textures are so fantastic.
- UK Supermarkets – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose all have good vegan cheese options now, selling both hard and soft cheeses.
- Follow Your Heart – The Smoked Gouda Slices and Pepper Jack Slices are to die for – I mean it! When you try them, you will totally agree.
- Nush – These guys are known for their dairy free yoghurts (which are amazing) but their cheese is on another level! Choose from Natural, Chive and Sweet Chilli… Soon you will be slathering them on everything.
- MozzaRisella – Looking for something to melt on your pizza? Perhaps missing having a caprese salad? It has got to be MozzaRisella. Straight from the pack or melted in the oven, this stuff is scarily good!
4. Don’t Forget The Sweet Stuff!
When first going vegan I really thought there wouldn’t be any sweet stuff for me except for dark chocolate, and even some of that has milk in it! How wrong I was…
From chocolate bars from Moo Free to marshmallows from Anandas, the amount of sweet treats for vegans now is endless! Not forgetting the accidentally vegan goodies you can pick up from your local supermarket such as Oreo’s and Fox’s Party Rings!
Keep in mind, you can still bake up some delicious treats as a vegan. I’d really recommend checking out Roots ‘n Shoot’s blog – they have so many recipes! From Doughnuts to Ice Cream, there really is something for every taste and every skill set.
5. What The Hell Is B12?!
I remember the surge of panic as a new vegan – What is B12 and why do vegans not have it?!
According to The Vegan Society, “B12 is the only vitamin that is not recognised as being reliably supplied from a varied wholefood, plant-based diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables”, hence the panic. Now, getting an adequate amount of B12 is not difficult, but it’s something to keep in mind when having meals. To find out more, I recommend having a quick read of this article from The Vegan Society.
Along with fortified foods such as milk and nutritional yeast, did you know that all Roots ‘n Shoots protein powders contain added B12? Within just one serving, you cover your daily amount of vitamin B12 – How amazing is that?!
Don’t let anything you’re being told or you read online scare you away from trying out a vegan diet. There are a lot of misconceptions out there, but it can be easy and enjoyable!