WHAT IS VEGANISM?
Veganism is a way of life that avoids the exploitation of animals as much as possible. This of course includes eating a plant-based diet. We now know that there is no perfect diet and no way of eating and living that does not affect the lives of other animals in some way. But by eating only foods made from plants, our impact is very limited. And a vegan diet isn’t just good news for animals; it is also better for the planet, reduces the risk of pandemics, helps us avoid many serious diseases and reduces the threat of antibiotic resistance. There are many reasons why people go vegan, and they are all equally valid.
HOW HARD IS IT TO BECOME A VEGAN?
Most new vegans report that it’s not as hard as they expected! But how easy or difficult it can be will depend on how you approach it, your preparation, your motivation and how willing you are to try new things. Most people find that setting a 31-day vegan challenge helps them adapt to this new way of eating without being forced to commit to it forever.
Getting advice and support during this transition period is key, so we encourage you to sign up to our free 31-day challenge and take advantage of our practical and inspirational resources.
IS BEING VEGAN EXPENSIVE?
It does not have to be. Chickpeas are cheaper than chicken and a beet burger costs less to make than a beef burger. Most pantry essentials like pasta, bread, rice, beans, pulses, and seasonal or frozen vegetables can be bought cheaply, and if you base your meals around them, it’s easy to stick to a tight budget.
If you eat out, you may notice that meatless food is often the cheapest on the menu, and for a reason. Meat is expensive! In fact, it’s probably the most expensive thing in the store outside of the liquor aisle, so leaving it off your plate and out of your cart will save you money right there.
And that means there’s a little more to it, so you should be able to buy plant-based milks and yogurts, which can be a bit more expensive than the dairy versions. Overall, you should see your weekly expenses go down. In fact, recent research by Kantar in the UK looked at the shopping baskets of real people and found that vegan meals cooked at home cost 40 percent less than meals that contain meat or fish.
HOW TO BECOME A VEGAN IN 2023
Newsflash: If you go in completely unprepared, with no vegan food in the house, no idea what to buy, cook or eat, and nothing but your revolutionary zeal to get you through, you’ll probably be a perfect vegan for 12 hours. max, only to fall off the wagon at dinner.
So before you take the plunge, there are a few things to consider that could help make your journey to veganism smooth, sustainable and very enjoyable. These are our top picks.
Take your time
When you know you want to try veganism, it can be tempting to immediately clear out the fridge, throw on a vegan t-shirt and get started. This approach works for some people, but our advice would be to take the pressure off. Take some time to prepare and think realistically about the transition. For many people, substituting one item at a time over several weeks can be a more sustainable approach – plant-based milk for dairy this week, plant-based burgers for meat patties next week. Others may choose to have three vegan days a week and increase this over time. Whatever works for you is the right approach. After all, it’s not a race, and if time helps you achieve lasting change, we’re all for it.
Know your why
It’s much easier to go vegan when you know exactly why you’re doing it. Maybe you have a bad feeling about how animals are treated, but if nothing else, the motivation to go vegan can soon wane. We don’t recommend that you search for the most graphic footage and pictures on the internet, but we do recommend that you spend some time learning how animals are treated on farms. It can be upsetting, of course, but looking away won’t stop the suffering, and you’ll have a better understanding of why being vegan is a compassionate choice. It’s the same if your motivation is your health or the environment: arm yourself with knowledge and the motivation will follow.
Make sure you don’t miss out on essential nutrients
A balanced vegan diet is associated with a reduced incidence of some of the most serious diseases our society suffers from. You’ll notice that the keyword here is balanced. It is very easy to be an unhealthy vegan, and these products may be tasty and convenient, but they cannot be said to be healthy. Do your research! It’s perfectly possible to get all the nutrients you need as a vegan, but it helps to know what they are and where to find them.
Prepare your own food
Cooking vegan food costs less and takes less time than cooking food that contains meat or fish, so there are two good reasons to prepare your own food. It also means you can cook in batches and freeze some for later, and you can prepare meals just the way you like them, choosing ingredients that taste great and help you on your way to optimal health. Cooking is a creative act and for many it is a way to unwind after a long day. You don’t have to be a candidate for Masterchef. There are many simple yet delicious recipes available for people of all abilities.
Try new things
We all get stuck in a rut sometimes, but going vegan often helps people fall back in love with food. They discover new ingredients – such as jackfruit, banana blossoms, quinoa or nutritional yeast – and find new recipes, new cuisines and completely new ways of cooking and eating. Those who approach veganism with an open mind and see it as a chance to try something new will love the journey and are more likely to find it works for them.
Ask for help
There is no shame in that! If there’s anything you need to know or are concerned about, you’ll find a friendly online community in the Million Dollar Vegan Facebook group. Since we were all raised eating animal products but – for our own reasons – went vegan, you will almost certainly find someone who has been through whatever you are going through. So don’t give up because you crave a certain food. Ask the experts where you can get this item – or how to make it. And never feel alone. Even if you’re the only vegan you know, there are millions of us out there and we’ve got your back. Just contact us, say hello and tell us what’s on your mind.
Try new restaurants
If you’ve been going to meat-centric restaurants, eating out can suddenly seem daunting. Not only will you be faced with slices of meat on everyone else’s plates and the smell of charred meat wafting