Switching to a vegan diet can seem somewhat daunting due to the sheer amount of lifestyle changes involved from ditching certain foods to knowing which beauty products are vegan-friendly. However all it takes is a few easy tips and tricks to help you ease into a new routine, whether you're trying the diet temporarily or looking to make a permanent change.
The Veg Space blogger Kate Ford knows a thing or two about veganism – not only has she won awards for her meat-free recipes but she is also the author of new cookbook Vegan in 15 which is chock-block full of recipes you can make in just 15 minutes. Here, she shares her top tips exclusively with HELLO! Online on what you need to know if you're going vegan…
Kate suggests finding vegan versions of your favourite recipes to stay motivated
Kate's top tips:
1. Try a 30-day challenge to fully immerse yourself in all things vegan - you will get the hang of how to shop, cook and eat so much more quickly than trying it for, say, one day per week.
2. Stay on track by taking half an hour over the weekend to write a quick meal planner for the week ahead. You will save money, shop more wisely, and avoid getting stuck for lunches and snacks on the go, which can be the hardest times to find vegan options.
3. Shopping online for a while makes label-reading easier, and usually allows you to save ‘favourites’ once you’ve worked out which brands of your weekly groceries are vegan.
4. If you’re eating out, do some research on the restaurant’s website – most chains have information about their vegan options online. If not, don’t be afraid to call ahead – the chef would rather know in advance that you are vegan!
5. When starting out, avoid 'fake' meat and cheese substitutes for a few weeks – there are a lot out there and they are worth experimenting with in the long run, but may leave you disappointed if you’re swapping immediately from the 'real thing'.
Do your grocery shopping online to find your favourite foods
6. Don’t assume a product isn’t vegan if it isn’t labelled as such – many supermarkets still don’t use the vegan label, so it is always worth reading the ingredients list just in case.
7. Think about how to vegan-ise your favourite recipes – substituting in dairy-free milk, cream, butter, and cheese in recipes almost always works really well, so creamy sauces and pasta bakes aren’t off the menu!
8. Look for simple recipes from cuisines which do vegan really well: Indian, Middle-Eastern, Thai, even Italian!
9. You will be amazed at some of the everyday supermarket products are 'accidentally vegan', (think ready-rolled pastry, biscuits, crisps, and even donuts!), so read up online and treat yourself occasionally!
10. Just go for it – now is such a great time to be trying a vegan lifestyle, with the quantity and quality of new vegan products hitting supermarket shelves increasing rapidly, and so many great vegan cookbooks and online recipes to try.
Kate Ford is author of Vegan in 15: Delicious plant-based recipes you can cook in 15 minutes or less. Published by Short Books, £8.99 in paperback.