Thinking of embracing a plant-based lifestyle? Here’s how to do it…
‘Plant-based’ is a foodie buzzword right now – we’re swapping dairy for almond milk and eating avocados by the bucketful. But what if you want to go a step further and try the vegan lifestyle?
Ditching meat is one thing, but removing all animal product from your diet is a whole other world. The list of things vegans avoid is pretty long and includes everything from the obvious (cheese, milk, eggs) to the surprising (your fave Percy Pigs). Get started is the hardest part, but once you’ve embraced the vegan lifestyle it does get easier – and there’s plenty you can do with plants! Here are our top tips…
Read everything you can find on vegan diets and what they include. The Vegan Society website (http://www.vegansociety.com/) is a great place to start – it has lots of info about adopting a vegan lifestyle, from foods you should avoid to the health benefits of being plant-based.
Going vegan can seem like a daunting task, especially when it comes to cooking. If you’re used to a lifetime of cheesy pasta or meat-and-two-veg, conjuring up new meals that don’t use your favourite ingredients can be tricky. That’s where vegan bloggers come in – with recipes, tips and advice for vegans old and new, they’re an endless source of inspiration. We love Oh She Glows (http://ohsheglows.com/), Post Punk Kitchen (http://www.theppk.com/) and Deliciously Ella (http://deliciouslyella.com/).
Try new flavours
One of the best things about going vegan is it encourages you to be more inventive with food. A well-stocked spice rack is a vegan’s best friend, so make sure you have the basics plus more exotic flavours like cardamom and star anise. Shop seasonally and look for interesting fruit and veg you haven’t tried before, like jackfruit and bok choy. And if all else fails, there are some great substitutes out there – try your local health food shop for alternatives to cheese, milk and eggs.
Discover new foodie spots
Ok, so your favourite food spots are no longer suitable for your new vegan lifestyle (we’re looking at you, Nando’s). No worries – there are loads of amazing vegan cafes, restaurants and pop-ups out there. You’ve just got to discover them! Google around for places near you and make it your mission to visit one every week.
Link up with your local community
Most cities and many towns have established vegan communities that can help you get started. Look out for vegan meet-ups, events and gatherings and go along to meet like-minded friends with the inside scoop. You’ll find it much easier to stick to your new lifestyle if you have people to share it with, so don’t be shy!