Going Vegan for Beginners (Ultimate 2022 Guide)

by Alena

Looking to go vegan? Our ultimate beginner’s guide lets you in on everything you need to know from non-vegan ingredients to transition tips, easy recipes, best resources and dealing with everyday hurdles.

Congratulations on making a wonderful choice for the animals, this planet and your health! Going vegan can actually be a piece of cake — especially with this complete beginner’s guide.

We’ve already written about how to start a plant-based diet and transitioning to a vegan lifestyle but this article rules them all.

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free 7-day vegan meal plan

Your next week of eating is planned out with these quick and delicious vegan bowls, meal prepping steps & full grocery list.

Learn what being vegan actually means and which areas of life it entails, find handy grocery lists to stock your plant-based kitchen and other free printables!

We’ve included lots of beginner-friendly and crowd-pleasing vegan recipes for any occasion and preference to show you that it’s absolutely possible to go and stay vegan for good.

Be sure to check out our 7-day vegan challenge, too, and get ready for your one-stop guide to going vegan with minimal effort and lots of fun.

Reasons & benefits

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly does “vegan” mean and why is it a good idea to go vegan in the first place?

Definition of veganism

You often see the terms “vegan” and “plant-based” thrown around interchangeably. But they are not actually the same thing!

Let us explain.

Veganism is more than just a diet, it’s a lifestyle and a philosophy. In the words of The Vegan Society, the official definition is as follows:

“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

While vegetarians only abstain from meat, fish and gelatine (products of the actual dead animal), vegans also cut out all animal by-products and even apply their philosophy to other areas of life.

  • Plant-based: refers to food only and usually entails a healthy eating approach; plant-based diets don’t have to be 100% vegan.
  • Whole food plant-based: refers to a diet that consists of unrefined, unprocessed or minimally processed food and doesn’t encompass any other areas of life such as clothing.
  • Vegan: lifestyle that includes a diet free from all animal products as well as abstaining from leather, wool, silk, zoos or cosmetics tested on animals.

For more information, see different vegan diets and types of plant-based diets or our guides below.

What can vegans eat

Simply put, vegans eat everything from the plant-kingdom and there’s a vegan version for any food or meal you can imagine. That doesn’t sound very restrictive, right?

Here’s an overview of what vegans can eat:

  • Fruits & veggies
  • Grains like bread, pasta or porridge
  • Beans & lentils
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Dairy alternatives
  • Mock meats
What Vegans Eat

Reasons for going vegan

Knowing and remembering why you want to go and stay vegan is very important, especially at the beginning of your journey.

Since veganism is an ethical standpoint, the main reason to follow this lifestyle is to reduce animal suffering as much as possible. Even though there’s no such thing as a 100% cruelty-free life, we can still aim for harm reduction!

Other benefits of veganism include:

  • Lower environmental footprint
  • Lower rates of heart disease & type 2 diabetes
  • Less water & air pollution
  • Plant-based diets can feed more people
  • Supports a healthy weight
Top Reasons to Go Vegan
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Going vegan: the first steps

How do you get started on a vegan diet if the points we just mentioned have made you curious? Here are 5 helpful tips.

Take small steps

Even though every single person is different, most of us have an easier time changing our habits if we do it step by step.

You’d probably feel really overwhelmed if you thought of all the food you won’t be able to eat anymore all at once, right?

How about you start adding new foods to your diet before removing anything!

Just increase the amount of fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds on your plate without cutting anything out.

Similarly, you can go over the non-vegan foods in your kitchen and think of replacements: try soy milk instead of cow’s milk, veggie burgers instead of beef burgers, margarine instead of butter.

If you have been eating an omnivorous diet up until now, you can decide to cut out meat first, then go dairy-free and so on.

Find our favorite vegan food swaps here!

Transition types

Just because most people do better when they slowly transition into a new diet and lifestyle, this doesn’t mean that you’re not one of the few who prefer clean cuts!

Especially if you’re already vegetarian or almost vegetarian, it’s certainly possible that you go vegan overnight.

If that’s your style, we suggest that you go through each food item in your home, read the ingredient list (more on that later) and just throw out what’s not vegan. You can give it away to someone else who still intends to eat animal products.

Next, take a look at our vegan grocery list further down in this article and take some time to go through each aisle in your local grocery store to find replacements for everything you’ve just thrown out!

If you’ve been moved by the ethical reasons for veganism, it’s not unheard of that you just won’t be able to stomach animal products anymore. You’ll grow into your new diet super quickly if that’s the case!

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Let go of perfectionism

No matter your transition type, everyone will come across some mishaps during their vegan lifestyle. It happens to us after years and years!

Waiters may mess up your order, grandma forgot to use margarine instead of butter when she was baking you a cake or you went shopping in a hurry and reached for the wrong product.

It doesn’t mean at all that you’re not vegan anymore if that happens! Don’t get caught up in perfectionism or diet mentality and simply aim to pay better attention next time.

Even if you slip up intentionally and reach for that slice of cake that contains animal products, it just means that you still need to find good replacements or connect with the ethical reasons for veganism a bit more.

Abandoning a vegan lifestyle altogether because of that won’t help a single animal!

Take stock of your diet

You might be surprised to see that lots of items in your kitchen are already vegan without you noticing!

From whole plant foods like fruits and veggies to most breads, traditional pasta, jam, peanut butter, sauces or Oreos (oh, yes!) — you probably won’t have to start from scratch.

Make a list of what vegan foods you already have or like, write down what will be easiest for you to replace and which non-vegan food you want to tackle last (for most people, that’s cheese).

Join our free transition course

If you’d appreciate a detailed plan for going vegan and how to tackle different areas of your life, we can take you by the hand and walk you through the first steps!

Our free vegan transition course covers everything from stocking your kitchen to shopping, nutrients, meal planning and having conversations with others about your new lifestyle.

Join it today by clicking below and get our best tips as well as a free 3-day meal plan!

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Going shopping

Now that we’ve laid most of the groundwork, let’s go grocery shopping together! Here’s what to look out for and which foods to buy at the store.

Building a grocery list

Granted, we’re all different in our approach to grocery shopping or when it comes to dietary preferences.

That’s why we’ve created this ultimate vegan grocery list with every single possible item you may be able to find at the store that’s totally vegan-approved.

Cross off what you already have at home, circle what you want to get the next time and modify it to your needs.

two printable pages to create a vegan grocery list

download our free printable vegan grocery list

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Vegan staple foods

If you don’t know where to start or our full grocery list is too overwhelming, we suggest that you get the most important vegan staple foods which enable you to create a whole array of vegan meals!

  • Canned beans
  • Rolled oats
  • Potatoes
  • Almonds or cashews
  • Bananas
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Vegetable broth
  • Plant-based milk
  • Tofu
  • Pasta & bread
  • Flax or chia seeds

Check out our full list of vegan staple foods including lots of ideas for how to use them!

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Reading labels

Since we cannot tell you exactly which item to get and if it’s vegan or not, we want to equip you with the knowledge of checking for yourself to see whether or not it’s vegan-approved.

Quite a few items at the store feature some type of vegan label nowadays — there are a few official labels and some that have been put there by the producers themselves.

There are also several apps like Is It Vegan? which you can use by scanning a code or searching for products and ingredients.

When reading labels yourself, here are some ingredients to look out for which symbolize that the product in question is not vegan:

  • Ghee
  • Gelatine
  • Royal jelly
  • Whey
  • Casein
  • Rennet
  • Lactose
  • Collagen

For a full and regularly updated list, check out this page by PETA.

Vegan Ingredients Checker

Best snacks at the store

Next, let’s cover snacks! Because anytime our blood sugar drops significantly, we are much less likely to make the right decisions — so let’s prevent any unintentional non-vegan snacking.

We highly suggest that besides stocking up on common snackable food like fresh or dried fruit and nuts, you choose from some of the following simple vegan snacks:

  • Crackers
  • Chips 
  • Hummus & guac
  • Nut butter
  • Popcorn
  • Vegan bars
  • Vegan yogurt
  • Energy balls

Here are our 25 favorite snacks at the store! If you want to make some snacks at home, check out the following recipe collections.

Being vegan on a budget

Many people fear that they couldn’t afford to go vegan. That’s probably because when you take a look at vegan convenience food at the grocery store, veggie burgers or vegan ice cream still tend to be more expensive compared to the mass-produced and subsidized animal counterparts.

But many of the cheapest foods at any grocery store are often already vegan: from dried beans and lentils to pasta, seasonal produce or frozen veggies are affordable and make up the majority of plant-based food groups!

Find lots of everyday tips for being vegan on a budget alongside printable cheat sheets in our guide below! We’ve also written about being vegan in college specifically.

Best vegan substitutions

Eating a plant-based diet isn’t about restricting, it’s about smart food swaps! Here are vegan replacement ideas and brands for the most common animal products.

Vegan meat

  • Beyond Meat
  • Tofurky
  • MorningStar Farms
  • Gardein
  • Field Roast
  • Lightlife
  • Quorn

Vegan cheese

Vegan egg replacements

  • Just Egg
  • Follow Your Heart
  • Silken tofu (for scrambles)
  • Kala Namak (black salt with a sulphur taste)
  • Flax “egg” (flaxseeds + water)
  • Chickpea flour (for omelettes)
  • Aquafaba (chickpea liquid used for baking)
  • Smashed banana or avocado (for baking)

Honey replacements

  • Bee Free Honey
  • Humble Honee
  • Harmless Hunny
  • Maple syrup
  • Agave syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • Molasses
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Online shopping

If your local grocery store doesn’t carry many vegan products or you just want to try out something new, there’s always online shopping!

From Amazon to Vegan Essentials, VeganCuts or The Vegan Kind Supermarket, there are quite a few options worldwide.

Find our favorite vegan snack boxes here and get lots of goodies delivered straight to your doorstep!

Vegan food & recipes

Let’s talk about the fun part: delicious eats! If this aspect has you worried because you think that preparing vegan food is hard or that it might not taste great, let us convince you otherwise.

Vegan beginner recipes

From pasta with lentil bolognese to one-pot curries or simple sandwiches, so many common plant-based dishes are actually very beginner-friendly and incredibly tasty!

Browse the following collections to choose your very first vegan recipes to prepare for yourself or even your whole family!

Easy recipes by type

Start with breakfast

If making 3 plant-based meals in a day is too overwhelming right now, why not start by making vegan breakfast? 

It’s perhaps the easiest one to veganize and you don’t have to get the whole family on board. Here are some options:

Check out our vegan breakfast guide as well as the two recipe collections below for more ideas!

Meal prepping

If you’re often short on time or usually rely on takeout or convenience food, both of which might not be easy to find as a vegan version, we highly recommend you start meal prepping!

This means that you take out some time during the day to prepare larger batches of some meal components (or just the full meals themselves) and then have pre-made food in the fridge the following days.

From portable lunches to freezer meals, snacks that last a whole week and more, this can be so helpful! Your future self will be really thankful for all the yummy food.

Check out the following resources for more information!

Choose a few good recipes

Nobody asks you to come up with a whole new dinner idea every day of the year from now on! Most people usually have the same 8-10 dishes in their rotation to feed themselves and their families.

This means that having a few basic plant-based recipes you actually like on hand gets you pretty far already!

Some of our favorites include:

Make a plan

We like planning for many things in life — including what we eat. Especially if eating a plant-based diet isn’t second nature for you, it’s a great idea to put things on autopilot throughout the day or the week.

Rotate the same 3 vegan breakfasts, add a few portable lunches and family-friendly dinners and jot everything down. Just use the recipe collections above for tons of great ideas!

Be sure to check out our thorough guide on plant-based meal planning as well as our 1-week vegan meal plan.

Your plan could look something like this:

  1. Blueberry pancakes, chickpea wrap, lentil bolognese
  2. Apple cinnamon oatmeal, tomato soup with toast, bean burgers
  3. Chocolate smoothie, mason jar salad, one-pot curry
  4. Banana pancakes, leftover curry, vegan lasagna
  5. Apple cinnamon oatmeal, Mexican rice salad, bean goulash

All of our freebies and vegan eBooks include beginner-friendly meal plans!

blender jar filled with avocado, pineapple, broccoli and kalepin it

Cooking tips & tools 

Whether you’re new to cooking altogether or want to reignite your spark in the kitchen, it’s great to have a couple of handy tools and tips on hand!

If you want to eat lots of veggies, you can buy them pre-chopped or wash and chop them in bulk at home, then store them in the fridge to have them ready once you want to start cooking.

Invest in a sharp knife and non-stick bakeware, some kind of blender and a sturdy chopping board. A few pots and pans are a must, too!

We personally love using our Instant Pot for lots of things from cooking our own beans from scratch, having steamed potatoes or rice ready in minutes or making large batches of soups and stews — all without watching the stove.

Vegan nutrition 101

Do all vegans suffer from malnutrition? How difficult is it to replace the nutrients people usually get from animal products and are supplements necessary?

These are some of the most common questions around plant-based nutrition.

Let’s go over the basics of what you need to know when going vegan and what’s more important down the line.

Where do you get your protein?

There’s probably no vegan on planet earth who hasn’t been asked this question — so, let’s cover this one first.

Vegans get their protein from plants. Surprised? Yes, there are plants that have essential amino acids and eating a wide array of them ensures that we meet all of our needs.

Common vegan protein sources

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Tofu & soy products
  • Seitan
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Nuts
  • Protein powder

And in case you’re wondering: no, soy is not bad for you!

Plant-Based Protein Guide
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What’s the deal with B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient, meaning our bodies cannot produce it and we need to get it through animal-based foods or from supplements.

Since option B, supplements, are ubiquitous and cheap, this is no problem for aspiring vegans!

It’s recommended that older adults, vegetarians, vegans and people who have conditions that affect their ability to absorb vitamin B12 from foods should regularly supplement since deficiencies can be irreversible.

Luckily, more and more vegan products like mock meat or plant-based milk are fortified with not only B12 but also some of the other nutrients of concern we’ll cover below.

Check out our full article on vitamin B12 on a vegan diet here!

Nutrients of concern

Well, the stereotype of the weak and pale vegan doesn’t come from nowhere: if you decide to cut out all animal products, it’s important to assure that you meet your nutrient requirements by emphasizing certain plant foods.

However, every person, no matter their diet, should make sure that they consume neither too little nor way too much of certain nutrients, right?

As a meat-eater, you need to consume more fiber and less saturated fat (typically), while vegans need to watch out for other nutrients instead. Here they are!

  • Calcium: green vegetables, oranges, tahini, calcium-fortified soy milk and tofu
  • Iron: oats, spinach, dried figs, lentils, tahini, chickpeas
  • Zinc: whole grains, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, pumpkin seeds, almonds
  • Iodine: nori or dulse seaweed, iodized salt, supplement
  • Omega-3: flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, algae oil supplement
  • Vitamin D: sun exposure, some UV-light grown mushrooms, supplement
  • Vitamin B12: supplements, fortified foods

For more information and free downloads, check out our in-depth vegan nutrition guide!

Mockup of two sheets of the vegan food pyramid printables

download our free vegan nutrition printables

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Eating enough calories

Are you familiar with the concept of calorie density? It refers to the number of calories in a bite or pound of food.

As you can imagine, a bite of meat offers way more calories compared to a bite of spinach. This means that you cannot just replace the high-calorie animal products on your plate with vegetables and assume that you’ll be just as satiated — not to speak of the different nutrition profile.

Some people struggle with feeling full on a vegan diet which might be because they don’t focus on high-calorie vegan foods on their plate!

Be sure to always add hearty foods like beans, lentils, grains or nuts to your meals — heck, you can even feature all of them at the same time!

Check out the following articles for more.

Family & social life

For some people, eating only plant-based foods isn’t the hardest part about going vegan — it’s their social life.

Here’s how to avoid feeling left out, tips for conversations, living with non-vegans and much more.

Vegan family tips

Do you want to transition to a vegan lifestyle on your own or get your family on board? Lots of variables appear when you ask this question.

It largely depends on whether or not your partner is supportive of your lifestyle choice and agrees to eat plant-based with you at home, whether you’re the one doing most of the cooking and shopping or whether you’re a teenager and don’t have a lot of say in the family at all.

Find valuable tips for your specific situation in the following articles:

Raising vegan kids

This subtopic warrants its own mentioning. Whereas some might argue that it’s not fair to “push veganism” onto children, but to be fair: all parents live in a specific way that influences their children.

From different ways of eating to playing music, seeing friends and family a lot or almost never, going out in nature every day or even political views — these are all parts of different upbringings.

Just to get the most important concern out of the way: yes, you can feed a child a vegan diet without missing out on any important nutrients. Plant-based diets can be healthful at any stage of life!

Read more in our full article on raising vegan kids.

Tips for conversations

Relationships are so different that we can’t just give you a one-size-fits-all answer for how to deal with conversations about veganism.

It obviously depends on what kind of personality you have as well — but one thing’s for sure, treating others with respect is one of the most important foundations of a successful conversation.

We’ve collected our top tips for how and when to talk with others about veganism as well as answers to the most common questions you’ll get as a vegan! Just check our articles below.

Eating out as a vegan

As we’ve established above, the first few actionable steps when going vegan is to buy only vegan-approved products and consume them at home. Easy done!

But what if you are outside of your own home, say at a party, traveling or at a restaurant?

Depending on your level of confidence, you might decide to eat vegan food only at home for the first few weeks. During this time, you could order the vegetarian option whenever you’re out which will be easy to find anywhere.

If you don’t happen to live in New York or London, finding plant-based dishes at random places can be a bit tricky! Here are some tips.

  • Check the menu for a little (v) next to the dishes
  • Browse the sides instead of mains to see if you can create a little menu
  • Take a look at the menu online before you go to make a plan
  • Ask the waiter whether butter or oil is used in certain dishes
  • Tell the waiter you’re vegan and ask whether they can accommodate you (this is great for spreading awareness of veganism!)

Find the best vegan-friendly restaurants all around the world by using the free app HappyCow and ask your friends whether you can check some of them out together!

Best Vegan Fast Food Choices
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Social gatherings

From birthdays to Christmas, cookouts or all of the other get-togethers, most of us are true social creatures — and during these occasions, food always plays a main role.

Not to fear, you can totally make this work as a vegan! From letting the host know in advance about your new “dietary restrictions” to sending recipes for plant-based food they can make or offering to bring some yourself and share it with everyone, there are lots of solutions at hand.

We’ll share with you our tops tips (and recipes!) for specific occasions such as BBQs and cookouts or the holidays below in our FAQ section!

Connect with other vegans

No need to feel lonely and like the whole world is against you as a vegan! The number of vegans worldwide is growing daily and luckily, we have the internet to connect with each other.

From Facebook groups (feel free to join ours here!) and communities on other platforms or Meetup, you can probably find vegans somewhere in your area, too.

And if you’re looking for vegan healthcare professionals to consult, check out plantbaseddocs.com.

Vegan lifestyle tips

As per definition, veganism goes beyond food and also entails other areas of life like going to the zoo, materials and fabrics in consumer products, animal testing and more.

Here’s what you need to know!

Clothing & apparel

No need to look for vegan certified t-shirts or anything! While it’s more and more common that items like shoes are certified vegan (which even entails the glue they use!), just avoid the most common animal-derived materials such as:

  • Leather
  • Wool
  • Silk
  • Fur
  • Cashmere
  • Chiffon
  • Down 
  • Suede
  • Felt
  • Satin

Many everyday clothing items are already vegan-approved but especially when it comes to shoes, jackets, belts and warm sweaters, you should try to look for vegan alternatives to wool, leather, etc.

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Personal care & cleaning

Some makeup, personal care or household cleaning products can contain animal-derived ingredients or have been tested on animals.

If you want to avoid as much cruelty to animals as possible in this area of life, you can look for some kind of vegan label on the front or back of any specific product.

Most of the time, reading ingredient lists is too complicated and cryptic — also, they don’t tell you whether the product was tested on animals.

Common vegan-approved brands are:

  • Pacifica
  • Mrs. Meyer’s
  • Ecover
  • Method
  • Wilko
  • Alba Botanica
  • Principle Beauty

Gift giving

Next on our list is vegan gifts! Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end, knowing what’s vegan-approved is always helpful.

From vegan books and cookbooks (more on these below!) to handy kitchen tools, fashion gifts, wellness goodies or eco-conscious items, we’ve collected lots of ideas for you!

Resources & education 

Dive deeper into the reasons behind veganism, plant-based nutrition and everyday lifestyle tips by browsing our list of fun, approachable and educational resources — using the medium of your choice.

Best books & cookbooks

Documentaries

  • What The Health
  • Cowspiracy
  • Speciesism
  • Land Of Hope And Glory
  • Forks Over Knives
  • The Game Changers
All Vegan Documentaries

Our favorite vegan blogs

Obviously, there are so many more great vegan blogs, this is just a starting point.

Best vegan podcasts & Youtubers

One more section with great vegan resources that you can listen to (and watch)! It’d be way too hard to pick favorites here, so go check out our full lists below or go directly to these vegan speeches.

Extra guidance

Wait, there’s even more! Check out some great online courses, programs, eBooks and apps that may help during your vegan transition and beyond.

Some are downloadable, others are interactive and offer communities for extra support!

Vegan FAQs

It’s totally understandable to have 101 questions when you go vegan! Let’s check out some of the most common ones in this section.

Are there any side effects?

Going vegan doesn’t mean that you’ll be malnourished at some point in the future. Anyone who doesn’t have any health issues can look into how to create a well-rounded plant-based diet so that they meet all of their nutritional needs.

We went over this in our “nutrition 101” section of this article.

If you’re unsure or deal with anything from blood pressure or blood sugar issues, anemia, fertility issues and more, just consult your doctor or a Dietitian first!

There are unwanted experiences some people face when going vegan like feeling bloated due to new foods or an increased amount of fiber, unwanted weight gain or weight loss and feeling hungry all the time.

Check out our guide “Side effects of going vegan” for help!

Fiber & digestive issues

As we’ve just mentioned, having some digestive discomfort when changing your diet is fairly normal.

Actually, this isn’t just the case when going vegan but anytime you drastically change what you eat; by increasing or decreasing the amount of fiber and water-rich foods, introducing new foods altogether which your gut flora has to get used to, it may get a little bumpy for a while.

For that reason, we suggest that you slowly change your diet by swapping out individual foods instead of loading up on beans, broccoli and onions the first day of your plant-based journey!

Find out how you can get rid of bloating as a vegan and check out our articles on fiber and FODMAPs.

Weight loss on a vegan diet

If you’re looking to lose weight on a vegan diet, you’re in luck! Plant-based eating patterns are associated with lower average BMIs and are oftentimes easy to maintain long-term, meaning you won’t end up gaining back all of the weight.

A plant-based diet typically focuses on fiber-rich and lower-calorie foods which gives you the perfect foundation for successfully managing your weight.

Check out the following resources for more!

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Getting lean while feeling full? Yes, that’s possible! Find out about easy food swaps, calorie density and 3 full days of eating for sustainable weight loss.

Being vegan around the holidays

This time of year is usually the trickiest for aspiring vegans! Cookies, meat and other animal products are front and center during the holiday season, so how the heck can you navigate through all of this?

After 10 years of being vegan ourselves, we know many of the ins and outs of holiday meals, gifts and dealing with family gatherings.

Check out our helpful guides below for more!

Vegan BBQ & cookout

The other time of year where meat plays a huge part in many people’s lives is during BBQ season. 

Apart from trying all of the different mock meats from the store and voting for a potluck-style cookout where you can bring your own vegan food, there are some helpful tips in our guide below — including lots of recipes, of course.

Do vegans eat eggs?

No, vegans don’t eat eggs. They come from an animal and their production requires the exploitation of the reproductive systems of hens and male chicks get killed almost immediately after hatching.

Most eggs come from famed chickens which are kept in horrific conditions and killed once their egg production slows down.

Even if you have your own rescued backyard chickens that are allowed to live happy and long lives, it might not be advisable to consume their eggs as removing them can cause the hen to lay more eggs. Some chickens also like to eat their own eggs.

Do vegans eat honey?

Honey is also an animal product and therefore not a part of a vegan diet or lifestyle. Bees produce honey for themselves, not for humans, and are often harmed in the honey gathering process.

While it’s not 100% established that insects like bees can suffer and feel pain, we like to give them the benefit of the doubt and replacing honey is easy! Just use maple syrup, agave, rice syrup or sugar instead.

What does “may contain” mean?

You often find these words written next to the ingredients found in a specific product. 

It refers to allergens like eggs, peanuts, soy or fish that are processed in the same factory — although these foods are not part of the product in question, it is possible that trace amounts can be found in it.

This type of cross-contamination is important for people with severe allergies but it doesn’t change the fact that the product itself uses only vegan ingredients. So, no need to worry about it if you’re not allergic!

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Do I have to eat tofu as a vegan?

You don’t need to eat any one specific food as a vegan. There are also vegans who are allergic to soy, so they can’t have tofu — they just get their nutrients from other foods like chickpeas, lentils or veggies.

That being said, have you ever had silken tofu chocolate mousse or tofu ranch dressing? Just because you don’t like the taste of plain, unprepared tofu, doesn’t mean you can’t create any other delicious meals with it.

Plus, it’s a great source of protein!

How to deal with cravings

Every time we alter what we eat or restrict our diets, it’s common to crave the foods we were used to eating before.

Yes, there are many vegans who crave the flavor and texture of meat! After all, almost nobody stops eating animal products because they suddenly don’t enjoy their taste anymore.

It’s largely a matter of finding delicious replacements and training your brains to get used to the new normal.

We wrote an in-depth article on how to stop cravings which includes a printable checklist to help you out!

Can I build muscle on a vegan diet?

Well, can you lift weights as a vegan? Yes, you can! Plus, there are so many delicious plant-based foods that offer enough protein to support that muscle building.

There are lots of professional athletes like ultramarathoner Scott Jurek or strongman Patrick Baboumian (and even MMA fighters!) that eat nothing but plants!

Find out more in the articles below.

What about beverages? 

Many beverages are vegan while others are not. Swapping cow’s milk in your coffee for almond milk is an obvious one, but did you know that some fruit juices and alcoholic beverages aren’t vegan?

They can be filtered with fish gelatin or isinglass or colored with various animal by-products.

You can either look for a vegan label if you’re unsure or check out the website Barnivore for vegan-friendly booze.

In terms of water, coffee beans or herbal tea, you’re good to go!

Top 10 tips for how to go vegan

  1. Don’t worry about what other people think and don’t try to be perfect. No need to be hard on yourself if you happen to get off track!
  2. Stop buying new animal products and eat fully plant-based at home.
  3. Commit to only one week of eating a vegan diet at first to give it a test drive.
  4. Make a taste test with friends or family and try at least 5 different vegan milk, meat and cheese replacements!
  5. Start by letting go of non-vegan foods you don’t care for as much anyways and make your ultimate favorites the very last ones to go.
  6. Make some vegan bliss balls and always have them with you when you’re out or store them at home in the fridge for when hunger hits! Other vegan snacks are fine, too.
  7. Pick a few vegan recipes you want to try and make a meal plan.
  8. Get an idea of plant-based nutrition basics and think about getting blood work done to have an idea of what you need to supplement.
  9. Reach out and see if a friend wants to join you or participate in a vegan challenge! It will be more fun that way.
  10. Watch documentaries, listen to podcasts or buy helpful vegan books to stay motivated and keep learning.

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Alena sitting in a cafe with a bowl of fresh plant-based food and a glass of coffee in front of her

About Alena Handwritten FontAlena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.

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