Want to go vegan but don’t know where to start?
Frequently Asked Questions – Answered by Elly: Regular Person
Being right here is already great step!
Firstly, go easy on yourself. Start slowly and expect to slip up. This is okay! You do not need to be a “perfect” whole food, oil free, raw, organic vegan because someone on Instagram is doing that. Maybe that’s your long-term goal or maybe it’s not. The point is do not rush the process.
The easier you make your journey the more likely it will stick.
Want to start with meatless Monday? Great. Vegetarian? That’s great! Dairy free? Yasss! Mostly vegan? (heh) that’s awesome!
There is no real wrong way or right way, do it the way and at a pace that feels natural and right for you.
If this is cheese, try this
Vegan cheese will grow on you – I promise! Usually a stand down period between dairy cheese and vegan cheese is the best approach
Need a scare? Google casein addiction
If this is bacon, try this
Need a scare? Google farrowing crates
If this is beef burgers, try this
Need a scare? Google comparisons between resources (land, water) required for a beef burger vs veggie burger
Everything can be recreated vegan. HOWEVER: Do not let one thing hold you back.
Just go ahead and eat vegan except for ________ . And reassess later. The rest still counts.
Truth Bomb: You wouldn’t say “I want to build a house but I don’t know what carpet I want” So? Build the house and worry about it later.
Do not let the entire project (the intention to be vegan) stall because of one component.
Just because it’s vegan does not mean it’s healthy, but the opposite is also true. Do not let someone who eats McDonalds and KFC 6x a week interrogate you about your nutrition when you mention veganism. If you use common sense you will be fine!
Truth Bomb: People who eat animal products can be malnourished too, or low in iron or B12 or have disordered eating.
Broadly speaking; if you eat enough food, and this is something to be aware of in the beginning as animal products can be very calorie dense. So when you start to swap them out you need to be eating a little more to accommodate for this. If you immediately feel low in energy this could be why (remember I am not a doctor, just be aware of it).
Circling back, if you eat enough food and a varied diet; fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts and all the rest you should be fine.
Don’t forget some treats, snacks or whatever else you may fancy too!
If you have doubts or any health concerns or deficiencies of course seeking some professional advice or conducting some research is a great idea – as mentioned I am just a regular person and I don’t know your specific situation.
A classic! We need just a smidge under 1g of protein per kg we weigh. The fitness and diet industry would have you believing it’s almost double that!
So protein isn’t the big deal people may think. It’s good to be aware of how much protein you’re getting, of course, just like it’s good to be aware of how much water you’re drinking, how much sleep you’re getting etc.
Assuming you’re eating enough food with a good variety you are likely to be just fine! Use your common sense, but if in doubt seek out a dietitian and get some expert advice if you think you need.
Truth Bomb: Almost everything has a smidge of protein. Everything from rice to potato to white flour.
HOWEVER, here are some good sources of vegan protein to ease your mind: tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils, chickpeas, seitan (what? Learn here), quinoa, protein powder, spirulina, nuts and seeds, the list goes on!
Check out my cheat-sheet on B12 here
Iron and B12 needs and absorption rate vary from person to person. Again, if you use common sense you will be fine but seek advice if you need to.
Truth Bomb: People can be low in iron and/or B12 whether they are vegan or not. Some people eat meat and do not get enough.
Truth Bomb: They often supplement animals intended for human consumption with B12 and iron (and who knows what else) anyway.
So please do not be fooled into thinking eating a supplemented animal is more natural than taking a human supplement for yourself.
BUT supplements are not the only way. Fortified foods are a great way to get B12 without the fuss.
B12 Fortified foods: meat alternatives, plant milks, cereals and there is always nutritional yeast – vegan gold.
A wonderfully cheesy sprinkle you will very quickly fall in love with!
Supplements are an option for iron but it can be found in plants too, as mentioned every person is different and I don’t know your situation so proceed with common sense and do not hesitate to have your bloods done or seek professional advice if you have concerns.
Where to find iron in plants: Tofu, tempeh, lentils, dark leafy greens, dark chocolate, mushrooms, grains, pumpkin, nut and seeds, the list goes on.
The calcium/health benefits claims about dairy get crazier the more you delve, but let’s skip that and jump straight to where you can find it. Calcium again can be added to foods. Calcium fortified foods are most commonly plant milks and cereals.
There are also vegan calcium supplements available, but it can be found in foods too: tofu, tempeh, soybeans, broccoli, collard greens, cabbage, kale, tahini (sesame seed), navy beans and almonds
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