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Tips for going vegan on World Vegan Day

Today is the first day of November (I promise pointing out the date has a purpose). Which firstly brings upon thoughts of 'holy fuck, when did November happened? Feels like May was last week' as we now enter the month of my birthday and we can now start officially discussing Christmas. Secondly, it also means that it is World Vegan Day.

Which is obviously an important calendar event right up there with Christmas (for vegans anyway).

Whilst I'm snuggled up on a sofa in Dundee with a Halloween-induced hangover nursing myself with a vegan hangover snack, you can read this post pre-written on Thursday on some of the things I've learnt about becoming vegan. 

Which I managed to do last April, after a two year transition (so I've learnt a lot). 

Be patient

As mentioned, it took me two years to transition. Veganism is edging on the side of becoming mainstream however it isn't quite there yet and we seem to be the generation pushing it through. So you'll need to be patient as you explore alternative food shops and not getting set-back by people's comments.

Be realistic on how vegan you can be

It's not entirely mainstream (yet!) so be honest with yourself if you can be 100% vegan or may need to be as vegan as possible. Ignore the vegan police (I do) and admit if your salary, location or a food intolerance might make it difficult. I'll admit that I do falter when I'm out and about and need to eat right that second (to be point where my health may be a risk if I don't) and I'll opt for a sandwich which is almost vegan (it's usually something where there will be milk or eggs somewhere in the ingredients but I won't be able to taste it and don't risk re-developing a liking for the food).

Be organised

I've always been a breakfast person but since becoming vegan I eat a massive breakfast before I leave the house as I know I may not get to eat for a while. And I eat vegan food whenever I can, and have to make going to my favourite health food shop in Glasgow a priority after pay day.

Get the nutrition books out

I said something similar in my going vegetarian post (which feels as if I wrote last month) but I will repeat what was said. You can get everything you need from a plant, however you must read up on nutrition and make sure you know what foods you need to start eating if you're removing certain foods from your diet. 

Which sort of brings me to my next point...

Try foods you wouldn't normally before

There's nothing stopping a meat-eater from buying tofu or bulgar wheat but when you decide to go vegan you kind of need to try new foods. Head down to your local health food store and pick up something you haven't tried before, whether it be vegan chocolate or some kind of dairy substitute. One of the reasons veganism works for me despite its unmainstreaminess is that I have a wide palette but if you think you don't like vegetables ask yourself if you've actually tried all vegetables in existence.

Get yourself a vegan crew

Non of my super close long-term friends are vegan however I do still have vegan people I can brainstorm with and ask for advice. From my vegan blogging pals to the people I know in the vegan meet-up I joined and just random vegans I've met along the way. Join a meet-up, join a message board and whatever other ways you think you can meet other vegans to throw ideas about.

As for meat-eating friends

I've had very few negative reactions from friends when they knew of my decision (probably cause I had been toying with it for so long) however some people didn't believe I was being serious. It could help you realise who your real friends are (hopefully not, but some vegans have had this go down) but open-mindedness is a character trait I've always consider essential for friendship so I had very little drama and all my close friends support my lifestyle choice.

Beauty products are simpler to switch

When you switch your diet it means relatives get annoyed at Christmas because they have to cook a nut roast and ensure the gravy is based on vegetable stock. However when going cruelty-free and then later vegan, I found it was easier because it didn't impact anyone else's life and no one even has to know you're making that lifestyle or consumer choice. Alongside my cruelty-free brands list I also started in the summer a list of brands which are either 100% vegan or mark out their vegan products.

Other lifestyle choices

I've mentioned beauty products as that is something, aside from my diet, I have switched over but there's plenty to think about. Do you want to wear wool? Do you want to only buy plant based candles? What about home furnishings? I've only switched my diet and beauty products so far but I am currenlty working in replacing candles with soy wax versions. Take your time and do it step at a time.

Hold you ground

A lot of people still don't 'get' veganism and this can put people off the switch. Stand your ground and this is a personal lifestyle choice and keep going until it feels natural (which is eventually does).

Morag x
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