I used to get loads of messages asking for travel tips for different destinations! Now I get more messages asking how to go veggie or vegan! So I guess it’s time to put it all in a blog!
It also ties in well with Veganary, a campaign to encourage people to go vegan for the month of January. The aim is to prove how easy and healthy it is. If you’re stuck for a New years Resolution, can I suggest this….
I’ll give you some good news…
- It’s way easier than you think!
- You’ll wish you did it sooner!
- It’s a joy, not a sacrifice!
The first thing people say is “I’d like to go vegan but….
- …I love salmon”
- ….I love cheese”
- ….I love bacon”
- (Fill in the blank)
Then the most obvious answer to that is “okay go veggie or vegan except for … salmon or cheese or bacon (fill in the blank). I wouldn’t let one food item stop you! Doing something is always better than doing nothing!
I also say this with confidence because I said the same thing! Believe it or not I was a meat fiend. One time at lunch, I picked up a veggie sandwich long before I went vegan. A co-worker said, “You’re not vegetarian are you?” and my response was “No, I’d love to be vegetarian, but I just love meat too much.” It makes me laugh now! I went veggie and gradually vegan nearly two years ago! If I can do it, then anyone can.
I know from personal experience that you will not miss the things you think you will, once you educate yourself on the meat, egg and dairy industry, and once you start to feel the health benefits!
First things first!
Ease yourself in! We decided to eat/give away all the food in our fridge/freezer before we started. Then start buying less meat/dairy/eggs or none at all! Swap meat and dairy for substitutes when you do your grocery shopping! Pick the veggie option or ask for a vegan option in restaurants! You’ll be surprised at how many people offer vegan menus/options if you just have the guts to ask! Even if they don’t, most restaurants are willing to throw something together for you, or make the veggie option vegan!
People think veganism is restrictive but it certainly doesn’t feel that way! Milk for example! I can choose from oat, almond, coconut, soy, hazelnut, and cashew milk! My sister prefers cashew milk in her tea! I personally don’t like soya milk at all! Try them all and find your favourite. You can get vegan butter, yoghurt, cheese, cream, creme fraiche, milk, ice cream (nice cream). You can get vegan sausages, burgers, mince, chicken, steak, pulled pork, sausages rolls and even salmon and bacon!
I wouldn’t promote living off meat substitutes, because you’re cutting yourself off from delicious, nutritious and exciting plant based meals, but it was definitely a good way to ease into this lifestyle and it’s handy for BBQ’s. I would also not suggest you live on vegan donuts/chocolate and ice cream either, but I would say the same thing to someone who isn’t vegan! You simply won’t get all the health benefits living off vegan junk food!
My number one tip to make the transition easy is to watch and read everything you can get your hands on! Once you know you can’t unknow! (I am aware, I made that word up) Once you see this “food” for what it really is, it will turn you off quicker than you can say bacon!
The first documentaries I came across were ‘Blackfish’ and ‘The Cove’. I was so cross with SeaWorld and the dolphin hunters, I signed petitions and shared it with everyone in ear shot. Then one day I had a ‘light bulb moment’. Why am I so angry about the mistreatment whales and dolphins and not angry about the mistreatment of other animals, cows, pigs, chickens, etc?
One documentary later I was vegetarian, two documentaries later, I was vegan! it really was that simple.
Documentaries to Watch
If you don’t have a lot of time and want to get started I would watch one for health, one for the animals and one for the planet to cover all bases. They are available on Netflix and Youtube for free.
- What the Health
I highly recommend watching and reading as much as you can, it will help keep you informed and motivated as you go. I have made a list of documentaries, books, and people to follow.
The Land of Hope and Glory
… Coming in 2018. Keep an eye out for it!
I’m not going to sugar coat it! These documentaries will shed tears, and repulse you to your stomach, but there’s no better way to put you off that bacon you think can’t live without!
The misconception is vegan is a sacrifice and you have to ‘give up’ all this food! The truth is once you see these documentaries you won’t want it! Make life easier for yourself and remove the sacrifice from your relationship with what some call “food”.
Forks over Knives
What the Health
I have always thought of myself as an eco warrior/environmentalist. My friends think I’m a tree hugging hippie, and maybe I am. This was the first documentary we watched, and it was the documentary that inspired us to go vegan.
Before the Flood
An Inconvenient Truth
Here’s a list of some more if you just can’t get enough….
A very funny mockumentary, but it brings up some interesting points.
- game changers
- from the ground up
- eating our way to extinction
- farm to fridge
- hungry for change
- eating animals
- eating you alive
- invisible vegan
- taking note
- meat the future
- fat head
- supersize me
- the engine 2 diet
- ghosts in our machine
- Maximum tolerated dose
- Live and let live
- Called to rescue
- the beautiful truth
- rotten (netflix series)
- Fat sick and nearly dead
- Jason vale
- The Cove
- Okja (thought provoking movie on Netflix)
A lot of these documentaries are on Netflix, but if they aren’t you can watch them on YouTube.
The China Study
How not to die
- how to go vegan by Veganuary
- the secret life of cows by Rosamund Young
- eating animals by Jonathan Starn Foer
- Farm Sancturary: Changing Hearts amd minds about animals and food by Gene Baur
- my beef with meat by Rip Esselstyn
- Skinny bitch and Skinny bastard by rory freedman and kim barnouin
- the 30 day vegan challenge by colleen-Patrick-goudrea
- the engine 2 diet by Rip esselstyn
- the world peace diet by Will Tuttle PH.D
- meat is for pussies by john joseph
- the happy vegan by Russell simmons
- what the health by Eunice wong and kip andersen
- the fully raw diet by Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram
(If I have missed any good ones, please comment below!)
People to follow
I would suggest you youtube these guys and watch some of their speeches and lectures, and then follow them on instagram/facebook/twitter etc.
And listen to his podcast with Yoga Girl…
I’ll admit the hardest thing about going vegan is the amount of comments people throw at you to prove what you’re doing is stupid! It’s nice to have some facts up your sleeve for that occasion!
I would be lost without Pinterest. Create a vegan recipe boards and pin recipes you’d like to try. I’ve already done this, if you like to use mine….
- Vegan/veggie food ideas
- Eco warrior/vegan
- Vegan Christmas
- Vegan BBQ
I also follow pages on Facebook such as ‘vegetarian/vegan Northern Ireland’. People in your area post good restaurants/recipes and new vegan products they find while grocery shopping.
Vegan cookbooks and websites
- Minimalist baker (probably my favourite)
- The Edgy Veg (new favourite)
- Anna jones
- Deliciously Ella
- The Happy pear
- Thug kitchen
- Aine Carlin
Cookbooks on my Amazon wish list…
- Fearne cotton
- Feed me vegan
- Vegan in 15
What to Eat
I could write a whole blog of a easy vegan dinners or what I eat on a daily basis, but here’s a short list to get you started…
- Avocado on toast
- Peanut butter and tomato on toast (Everyone thinks I’m weird for eating this, but I love it! Skip the tomato if you don’t fancy it!)
- Porridge with plant milk of choice, fruit and jam
- Veggie fry – Veggie sausage, beans, hash browns, tomato, mushrooms, avocado, tofu scramble, spinach (all or some of the above)
- Garlicky Mushrooms tomato and spinach on toast
- Vegan French Toast
- Granola and dairy free yoghurt with fruit!
- Fresh cold pressed juice
- Buddha bowls
- Sambo (I’m lucky to work beside a cafe that has a vegan sandwich option…. but it would be easy to make your own.
- Leftover dinner (I always make double for lunches or triple and freeze)
I usually have a few staples that I can rustle up quickly during the week then I try new recipes/longer recipes at the weekend when I have more time to play.
- Satay veg and rice
- Stir fry
- Pizza (homemade with bought pizza based)
- Pie and mash
- Burgers and sweet potato fries
- Veggie bangers and mash
- Spaghetti Bolognaise with veggie meatballs
- … or anything you want (you can make anything vegan)
Snacks (excluding vegan junk food)
- Roasted chickpeas with Cajun/paprika/salt and pepper (pick your spices)
- Medjool dates (pitted) they taste like toffee apples! Throw a spoon of almond butter in there for a luxury snack
- Veg and hummus
Follow me on Instagram for some easy vegan recipe inspiration.
Instagram peeps I follow to keep me inspired daily!
- Sarah’s World Fare
- James Aspey
- Minimalist Baker
- Deliciously Ella
- Vegan community
- Happy Pear
- Best of vegan
- The Buddhist chef
I take vitamin B12 some days when I know I haven’t been eating B12 fortified food.
I recommend doing some research on Vitamin B12 so you understand where it comes from and why you need it. I believe it’s included in the health documentaries, but there’s lots online too.
If you’re a women and your monthly cycle is heavy maybe you should take iron tablets around that time, but if you’re eating a well balanced whole food plant based vegan diet you probably won’t have to!
You can even get vegan (fish free) omega oil capsules if they are a staple of your supplements!
If you’re unsure, or you’re on other medication, make sure to do your research and ask your doctor/nutritionist.
Veganism isn’t just about food, it includes all animal products and animal testing! Don’t get swamped down by this. I would suggest concentrating on food products and dabbling with the rest until you’re up and running!
I didn’t throw out all my leather shoes and beauty products tested on animals. I simply waited until they were done and made sure my next buy was vegan!
Here are my go to shops for vegan beauty products;
- Body shop
- Urban decay
- Skinfull Affairs
Just use google to search for the vegan items you need and take your pick! There is loads online these days. You can even filter ‘vegan only’ on fashion websites too, I did it on ASOS and TOMS website.
And finally …
Now this is a hard one! Don’t become an angry vegan! I know it’s hard once you know of the animal suffering and cruelty or you see people suffering from ailments yet unwilling to change their diet! But realistically, who wants to be vegan when the only vegans you know are angry all the time! You can’t force anyone to make better choices you can only inspire them with your new found happiness, health and well being!
It’s really about aligning your actions to your core values. Deep down everyone loves animals, hates cruelty, wants to feel healthy and live on a green resourceful planet, free of pollution and destruction. Going vegan just makes sense, it covers all bases.
Veganism isn’t about being perfect, it’s about causing the least harm, to the animals, to the planet and to yourself.
If you cave and have a veggie cheese pizza, don’t throw in the towel. Start fresh the next day, find a restaurant in your area that does vegan pizza, or buy some vegan cheese and look up a recipe to make your own pizza. Don’t let one mistake break you! Even with the odd slip up, you’re still doing better than you were before.
If it helps, get a vegan/veggie buddy. I was lucky enough to have my whole family go vegan together, which made the whole thing a lot easier and way more fun. We also have a ‘Viva las vegans’ Whatsapp group where we share recipes, tips and new restaurants etc.
I know some people that are vegan Monday to Friday and not the weekends. Some people are vegan except for birthdays or holidays. Do what works for you! Doing something is always better than doing nothing.
Although I will say one thing! When I first went vegan I noticed a big change in my health within eleven days. More energy, better sleep, clearer skin, shinier hair, and I just felt happier. Maybe the happiness came from finally aligning my actions to my values and morals, or maybe a plant based diet creates a chemical change in your brain. Either way, I noticed a change! Most people feel the difference at about two weeks. If you can try it for two weeks straight, and feel the health benefits, it will help keep you on the vegan wagon!
As a travel blog, I will be including good vegan food spots in my travel destinations. You can also use happycow.net for this.
I also use http://www.vegantravel.com and Pinterest searches.
- the vegan traveller
- A vegan in Dublin
I’d love to hear what you think! If you have any more book, documentary or cookbook recommendations, I’m all ears! Just comment below!
Enjoy the journey!
The wandering boomerang