As today is the last day of 2014, I’ve been reflecting on the past year and all of its ups and downs. Transitioning into a vegan lifestyle and starting this blog is by far one of the best things that has happened to me this year. Not only am much healthier now, but I also feel so much happier in the knowledge that I am living a cruelty-free lifestyle. I feel really fortunate to have been able to connect with so many like-minded people through my blog and instagram, and have loved promoting a kind lifestyle. Over the past 6 months, I have received a lot of questions from people considering the vegan lifestyle, particularly with regards to how I made the transition and if I’ve faced any challenges. So for my final post of 2014, I thought it’d be fun to share my top 5 tips for transitioning into a vegan lifestyle.
Before I get into my top tips, I thought I’d share a funny little story with you all. Before publishing a post, I usually ask someone to proofread it for me to catch any silly spelling mistakes I’ve inevitably made. This post’s proofreader, who wishes to remain anonymous, suggested I change ‘the lifestyle’ to ‘the vegan lifestyle’ in the opening paragraph as apparently it refers to swingers (I’m not sure how they know this ;)?!) At first I thought they were pulling my leg but after a quick google, it turns out it’s true. So if you’re looking for some interesting NYE reading, just google ‘the lifestyle’. Anyway, back to my top 5 tips for transitioning into a vegan lifestyle; I hope you all find them helpful!
Visit your local health food store and get creative in the kitchen
One of my favourite things about going vegan has been learning how to cook. I used to be what you would call a ‘junk-food vegetarian’, surviving on a whole lot of pizza and pasta. However, I love that I now have a reason to get into the kitchen and create healthier and cruelty-free versions of some of my old favourite dishes. I have also loved discovering lots of exciting new health foods which has led to an improvement in my overall wellbeing – a huge but unexpected benefit of this lifestyle.
Educate yourself about the meat, dairy and egg industries
As a lifelong vegetarian who didn’t use any products that were tested on animals or wear any leather clothing, I thought my lifestyle was about as cruelty-free as they come. However, when I started to expose myself to the hidden truths behind the dairy and egg industries, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t gone vegan sooner! Understanding the cruelty of factory farming, as well as the health and sustainability benefits of a vegan lifestyle will give you a good foundation for making the transition. Personally, just doing some online reading was enough to make me want to go vegan but if you’re looking to learn more about a vegan lifestyle there are some great documentaries out there such as: Cowspiracy, Forks over Knives, Earthlings and Vegucated.
Go as slow as you need
Having been a vegetarian for the majority of my life, I didn’t find the transition into a vegan diet too difficult. However, I can imagine that for a meat eater it would be a huge change. I started with ‘vegan mondays’ that quickly turned into vegan tuesdays, wednesdays and before I knew it, I was eating entirely vegan. I think it’s really important to make the transition in whichever way works best for you, whether you’re able to cut out all animal products straight away, or whether it takes you a couple of weeks, or a couple of months.
Ask questions and do lots of research
I love connecting with other vegans, as being newly vegan in a non-vegan world can be quite daunting, so it’s really nice to chat to other people who share your passion and can offer advice. I have really enjoyed getting to know some lovely and inspiring vegans through my JGV interview series which you can check out here. I’d also recommend reading lots of vegan blogs for inspiration on everything from cruelty-free fashion, to vegan recipes, to tips on the best places to eat out. One of my favourite sources of vegucatation is Alicia Silverstone’s website The Kind Life and I would highly recommend you check it out.
Never let the haters get you down
There will inevitably be people who disagree with your lifestyle choice and want to let you know about it. I don’t like to get into negative conversations, so whenever possible I try to briefly explain to people why I chose this lifestyle and that it works for me and then change the subject. However, if people don’t want to accept it, I’ve found that the best way to deal with it is, in the words of the absolute goddess that is Taylor Swift, to ‘Shake it off!’
I hope these tips are helpful for any of you considering going vegan and if you have any more tips or even questions, feel free to leave a comment in the box below. I hope you all have a great NYE and I’m looking forward to expanding the blog and connecting with even more of you in 2015!