Casually going vegan
When people ask me for advise on going vegan I always recommend doing it in stages. I think it can be quite overwhelming to try and change everything at once and I think you are much more likely to be successful if you take it a step at a time. Some people go cold turkey (no pun intended!) and if you think that’s more your style then go for it! I’d just be sure to do a bit of research so you know you will get all the nutrition you need and stock your fridge and cupboards up with vegan treats. Here are my first steps on casually going vegan, they are also over on my page GOING VEGAN but I wanted to post them here too:
So you want to casually go Vegan?
Firstly, well done for even contemplating the idea of changing your diet and lifestyle, it can be a daunting thing to do but I can promise you it really will change your life for the better. There’s no rush, bit by bit and step by step you can make very easy changes to help you live normally and easily on a plant based diet and thrive! Whether you are doing this for the animals, for your health, the environment or all of the above, I can assure you it is one of the best decisions you could make.
I believe everyone should be responsible for knowing what’s going into their mouths and what effect it has on their health and the planet. Many people are turning to veganism and realising just how easy it is and how amazing you feel for it! Whatever your reasons are for doing so! Go easy on your self and go at your own pace it is probably best not to label yourself as a vegan straight away because it opens up the door to criticism and can make it more difficult. People can be very quick to question your morals and be defensive and want to bombard you with inane questions and dubious ‘facts’ about how we ‘need to eat meat’, which are incorrect.
The hardest part of being a vegan is talking about being a vegan!
However, you do get used to this over time and it becomes easier to reel off all the facts you have when you need to get people off your back! Anyway, enough natter for now…. below you can find my 10 steps to casually go Vegan:
Step 1. If you’re not already a Veggie, now is the time to ditch the meat and fish. Do this over a couple of weeks if it helps you. Some people prefer to just stop altogether, Danny for example stopped eating Meat first, then shortly after stopped eating fish. (This can just help to ease you into it, bit by bit.) Being a vegetarian is ridiculously easy these days, so you really won’t struggle to eat out. Treat yourself to some meat-replacements if you fancy such as: Tesco’s plant chef sausages and the ‘Wicked’ range of burgers and patties etc. There is also now an amazing Mince replacement by Naturli, you can find in Sainsbury’s which I’d highly recommend. It is so meat-like, It’s weird. (But great, if you liked the meaty texture of mince). Most supermarkets now have their own range of plant-based meat alternatives so go down that free-from isle, check in the freezers and see what grabs you. If you really loved fishy food, you can find fish alternatives such as “Fish-less Fingers” great name… If you like Sushi, there are lots of Vegan Sushi options available in Sushi places these days too. You can find more information on my blog about the best meat alternatives (coming soon). If you need any inspiration to start watch any of these Documentaries if you haven’t already:
Cowspiracy – Netflix
What the Health – Netflix
Earthlings – www.earthlings.com
Land of Hope and Glory – https://www.landofhopeandglory.org/
Step 2. Get rid of that cows milk you have lying around
Milk alternatives: (the easiest to switch!) There are so many out there now, but I will give you my favourites.
1. Oat Milk
‘Oatly’ – An excellent alternative, especially good for tea and coffee as it has a subtle taste, Oatly Semi-skimmed is the ultimate oat milk in my opinion. Barista addition is also great, if you like frothing milk for your coffee. Oatly is now widely available in all supermarkets I really recommend giving this a try. If you’re on a budget, Alpro Oat comes in a little cheaper and is a great choice too and most supermarkets now have their own brand of oat milk for as little as £1. Supermarket own brands tend to be a little sweeter but are a great affordable option when you’re using it for smoothies, cereal and porridge. Some other great brands of oat milk are: Rude Health and Minor Figures which you can find in health food shops.
2. Coconut milk
‘Koko’ – Great for tea and coffee (doesn’t curdle) doesn’t have a strong flavour and a nice drink in it’s own right. Alpro Coconut – if you like the coconut taste this is lovely, again a lovely sweet drink on it’s own too. Great in smoothies.
3. Soya milk – Probably the most popular alternative, because it is cheap and widely available. It has a distinct flavour but great for tea, coffee, making cakes and anything that calls for milk you can replace with soya.
4. Nut milks
There are so many now! But I like Alpro Cashew – a very creamy and full of protein great alternative to whole milk. Another popular choice is Alpro Almond (unsweetened) – great for cereals and tea and coffee, lovely nutty taste. Also good for baking and in smoothies.
Step 3. Switch your butter up
Butter alternatives: Again a really easy switch. Margarine has been given bad press over the years but as long as you avoid anything that says ‘partially-hydrongenated’ or ‘trans-fats.’ it’s no worse for you than butter. They even add in essential vitamins these days.
1. Flora – All Flora products are now vegan and just as tasty as ever! They have just recently bought out a plant-based butter block too, which may have become my new favourite.
2. Vitalife – a great choice for saving the pennies, very buttery, spreadable and tasty.
3. Naturli block – This is a lovely alternative, made with organic shea and coconut oil.
4. Pure spreads (soya/sunflower/olive) – tiny bit more expensive, but all very nice. Great for baking.
Step 4. Exploring new kinds of cheese
Of the dairy’s, cheese is the trickiest to replace, as it is proven to be addictive! It doesn’t take long for that to fade though. If you jump straight in to Vegan cheese from normal cheese you might think it is very different. So my advice would be to abstain from any kind of cheese for a couple of weeks and then try out the vegan cheeses and see which you like. There are lots of cheese alternatives out there you just have to know where to look for them. It’s personal preference really, try these out and then if nothing takes your fancy, pick up a new one, it’s trial and error with the cheese to be honest. But these are our favourites. In my experience some of the vegan cheese I first tried and didn’t like, I now really like, its amazing how your taste buds can change, so give it time.
1. Violife Extra Mature – We think this has the most authentic cheddar flavour and it goes well on anything. Excellent for beans on toast or in a sandwich.
2. Asda’s own cheddar style – Cheap and tasty! Does what it says on the tin.
3. Violife Greek Style – This is an excellent feta alternative. Perfect in salads.
4. Tesco free from range ‘spicy jalepeño‘ – This is our favourite from the range. Great for grating on nachos and pretty much everything! Mozzarella style is excellent for melting on pizzas.
5. Violife cream cheese – It’s basically identical to regular cream cheese. Smooth, creamy and great on crackers. It also melts really well so is great added as an extra cheese on top of a pizza.
6. Applewood cheese – I’ve found this in Asda, but it is becoming widely available now. It is a lovely smoky cheese with a great texture that goes beautifully with a chutney on a cracker.
7. Violife slices – Simple mild cheddar flavour made from coconut oil. This cheese has grown on me more and more and now I eat it straight out of the packet! You can buy this in a block but I tend to buy the handy slices which are great for sandwiches, toasties and burgers. You can find it in most supermarkets now.
8. Mexicana cheese – New on the block! A spicy vegan block blended with a Mexican spice mix and real Bell and Jalapeño pepper pieces. Spice up your sandwiches, wraps and toasties.
9. Sainsbury’s free from range – strong in flavour, like a mature cheddar. Good for melting, good on home made pizza and on crackers! The ‘cream cheese’ is a tasty spreadable cheese. Really lovely flavour. Great on crackers too.
10. Mozzarisella – a mozzarella alternative made from rice milk. I absolutely love it, it is just harder to get hold of. I grab it in wholefoods or other health food stores. Zizzi’s and Pizza Express use it on their vegan pizzas!
11. Cashew cheese – You can find it in health food stores but can be expensive, however it is VERY easy to make yourself at home.
12. Nutritional yeast – This is a must-have in the cupboard. Sounds weird, looks weird, smells weird – but tastes great! Gives meals a cheesy flavour and is great sprinkled on top of things for a crispy ‘cheesy’ top. Very good for you as well. You find this in health food shops (Holland and Barrett). We put it in almost everything!
Step 5. Veganise your favourite meals. Start with some easy classics for example:
Spaghetti Bolognese – Lentil Bolognese
Simply swap the mince for a tin of green lentils. Or swap with Veggie Mince.
Sausage and Mash – Veggie Sausage and Mash
Swap the pork sausages to vegan sausages i.e Tesco’s plant chef, Sainsbury’s Shroomdogs, Linda McCartney’s etc. Use Plant based spread in your mash. Make your own vegan gravy/ (Bisto is vegan!)
Head over to my recipe page for more ideas.
Step 6. Cut out honey and eggs. Honey can easily be replaced with sweeteners such as: Agave syrup, maple syrup and Coconut Nectar. Egg replacements are now available in supermarkets and my new favourite is the “Vegan Easy Eggs” for quick easy, scrambled eggs. Keep an eye out for it. You can also make a Tofu Scramble which is very popular. Chickpea/gram flour is another great ingredient to know about, you will see this crop up in lots of my recipes, it is great for making alternatives to omelette, quiche and savoury crepes.
Step 7. Research where you can eat out near you and treat yourself to a yummy vegan dinner cooked by someone else! I will be writing blogs about different places I eat out, so keep an eye out for places near you.
Step 8. Stock up your cupboards if you haven’t already, so you always have your essentials ready to grab. Head over to my blog page for an idea of what to stock up on.
Step 9. Get creative in the kitchen! Being vegan is made so much easier the more you cook, try some things out of your comfort zone, just follow some recipes and see how you get on, you might surprise yourself with a gorgeous meal you’ve not had before. Shake up your meal planning for the week and look around for inspiration.
Step 10. Find yourself a B12 Supplement or stock up on B12 fortified foods such as: Engevita’s Nutritional Yeast. Head over to my Blog page for more on this!
So there you go, hopefully this helps you! Head over to my blog section of the site for further tips and thoughts on going vegan. x