Research, research, RESEARCH!
For your own sake, don’t just dive in on a whim one day. It won’t be easy, you’ll find yourself facing lots of food in your fridge that you now can’t eat and you won’t be prepared when you find you aren’t getting the right vitamins and supplements. It might even be an idea to ask your doctor to run some BMI and blood tests beforehand and compare them again in a month or two.
Doing research will also help when telling your family and friends about going vegan so you can explain to them where you get your protein and calcium from! At first it can seem a bit scary wondering if you’re going to be able to balance all the dietary recommendations, but it can be a case of having meals with variety in them such as curries, chillies and smoothies.
From social groups online to work colleagues, vegans are more than happy to share their experience, tips and recipes with each other! Even if your family aren’t on board or willing to go vegan, cooking a meal for them will show them that you are eating healthy, tasty food and not living entirely on kale and avocados!
This website shows you which supermarkets have food on offer so you can save a bit money. Alpro milks can sometimes be found at 3 for £3.
Check your Cupboards and Fridge
This will help you avoid buying what you already have squirrelled away in the back of the cupboard and remind you of what you don’t have and need to add when you…
Write a Grocery List and stick to it!
Even though I have a master grocery list in Evernote I will still get home and realise I don’t have a tin of beans for this recipe or I used up the last of the chopped tomatoes the night before.
Make small swaps to start with eg milk and butter
Milk is simple to swap, but there are so many choices! If you find them on multi-buy, try different ones to see which you prefer. Alpro Light is my favourite for coffee, almond milk is nice for overnight oats. The Value ranges are okay if you’re on a budget and just using it in porridge and adding plenty of tasty ingredients to liven it up, but I wouldn’t want to put it in coffee or drink it on the rocks! As for butter, Flora Freedom is my go-to spread. It’s no Lurpak, but nothing is *sigh*.
Plan your meals for the week
Not only will this let you see what groceries you need to buy, but it will prevent you from having too much of the same thing during that week. Even something as simple as Rice, Pasta, Soup, Burger, Salad, Sandwich, Pizza will give you a bit variety and a base to work from.
Make a big batch of whatever you are cooking and freeze the leftovers so you always have something to pop in the microwave when you get home from work. Also, label them! That way you won’t think you’re having curry and end up with squash risotto…
It doesn’t have to be expensive
Fruit and veg are cheaper than meat. Yes the cheese and meat subs are pricey but try to avoid them. The only “meat” sub I tried is Linda McCartney’s sausages and Waitrose of all places had them on offer. My philosophy is to spend less on things that are going to be part of a cooked meal or recipe like tins of beans, tomatoes and chickpeas, loose onions and carrots that are all going to blend and infuse together; but spend more on luxuries like chocolate!
If at first you don’t succeed…persevere!
Alright, so you slipped up. You had chocolate that contained cow’s milk, the cafe didn’t have any soy milk left and the only thing left to eat in the fridge contained a bit meat. Don’t worry about it! You’re still in transition, learning new things and forming new habits. It’s going to take a while to get things just right. It took me four attempts to get my vegan Yorkshire Puddings looking like this and they’re still not perfect inside!
Finally, check out Accidentally Vegan UK on Instagram. It's surprising what foods you can eat!