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Easy Peasy Tips for the New Vegan

Ever since I wrote about the American Dietetic Association’s updated position paper in support of vegetarianism, I’ve heard from people who really want to go vegetarian or vegan but just aren’t sure how. Others need a little more help convincing their loved ones that veganism is safe and easy. It’s exciting that so many people are ready to give peas a chance, so to speak! It’s easy being vegan, and the following tips should help get you started—or help you persuade your worrywart friends and relatives that vegan foods are nutritious, delicious, and widely available.

1. Just Veg Out: For optimal health, eat an array of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and all the nutritious foods that can be made from them. Inexpensive, versatile vegan staples, like beans, lentils, leafy greens, rice, pasta, peanut butter, and tofu, can be used in a variety of recipes.

2. Easy Does It: Don’t worry if you’re not a celebrity chef—you don’t have to make elaborate dishes. You can whip up tasty meals with little effort. Try a vegan wrap with hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, sprouts, and shredded carrots. For innovative lunch ideas, see veganlunchbox.blogspot.com.

3. Mocks Rock: Choose veggie burgers rather than hamburgers, soy sausage over pork sausage, and tasty faux chicken instead of chicken flesh. Check out this list of popular mock meats, egg replacers, and dairy-free milks, cheeses, and desserts.

4. Simple Substitutes: Many of the things you likely already eat can easily be “veganized” just by swapping one or two ingredients. For example, you can make manwiches or “meat sauce” with Veggie Burger Crumbles.

5. Accidentally Vegan: Some of the packaged foods you already buy are likely vegan too, even though they aren’t marketed that way. Check out this list of “accidentally vegan” foods.

6. Eat at Moe’s: Many popular chain restaurants, including Johnny Rockets, P.F. Chang’s, and Moe’s Mexican restaurant have vegetarian and vegan options.

7. Ethnic Options: Most Indian, Ethiopian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Middle Eastern restaurants offer a variety of vegan options. Don’t be afraid to try new cuisines!

8. Vacation With Your Values: It’s easy to take your vegetarian diet with you when you go away. Visit www.vegdining.com and www.happycow.net for a list of vegetarian-friendly restaurants at your destination. Many travel books, like the Lonely Planet guides, offer suggestions for vegetarian travelers too.

9. A Good Influence: Whether you’re young and need help convincing your parents that you can get all the nutrients you need from a vegetarian diet or you’re a parent trying to persuade your children to eat healthier, PCRM’s tips and meal ideas can help you out.

10. Vegetarian-Friendly: If your friends and family members don’t share your interest in vegetarianism, join a local vegetarian society, attend vegetarian potlucks or conferences, or simply chat online with other like-minded folks at www.vegsource.com. Not enough advice? Don’t worry: We have even more tips for making the transition to a vegan diet.

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  • LostGurlJK says:

    Xint resource guide. I’m glad so many restaurants offer the vegan entrees. Soy cheese pizza? Mushroom, pineapple and jalepenos toppings and I am so there.

  • Rachael says:

    This is my first day being vegan. I dont eat much meat to begin with so cutting that out wont be much of an issue but I do love me some dairy products like yogurt, cheese, milk, sour cream. That is going to be a huge issue but I am determined and with some support I believe I can do this. This website is awesome and just what I need. Thanks PETA!

  • Christine Cook says:

    It truly is easy being vegan. Check out my blog titled just that: It’s Easy Being Vegan! at http://vegangirlnextdoor.wordpress.com

    Thanks!
    Christine
    aka the vegan girl next door

  • Anil says:

    I am a pure vegeterian for the last 10 years .. and now in UK for almost a year. I am really struggling to get veg food here in UK as there will be only one or two veg stuffs will be available in hotels or super markets and that too just for the name sake.And Morrison think that egg is also a veg and they marked as veg even that food made up of egg. Also in Mc Donalds they are really surprised by hearing my quest ” Do you have veg sadwich as breakfast ?” as she looked at me like i came from mars… and atlast said .. they do not have veg as breakfast. They only have dead animals to eat in the morning…for a fresh start :(

  • Rach says:

    Yikes! Why are you encouraging people to eat unfermented soy?? It is extremely bad for you. See mercola.com and/or naturalnews.com for articles, links etc. Also soy that is not organic is processed with hexane (approved by the USDA), and 91% of conventional soy in the US is GMO. Unsafe, unsafe, unsafe!

  • Danielle says:

    Great information. I have been vegan for nine months now and previously had never even thought of going veg. My advice for anyone wanting to go vegan is to throw yourself into it whole heartedly and without transistion – just wake up one morning and announce to the world and yourself that you are now vegan – this is how I did it and I’ve never looked back. My only craving is cheese, which I don’t give into – it’s a small price to pay in my mind. Plus I think if I ate dairy cheese now it wouldn’t agree with my body, which makes it easier to stay away from!

  • Sara Howard says:

    Fabulous helpful comments :) it is difficult to find some of the vegan products (esp. dairy substitutes) in New Zealand, as our entire economy is based on the meat/dairy industry. Also the pricing makes some products inaccessible to a solo mum on welfare. My daughter and I are both vegetarians from birth and would love to go vegan, but I simply can’t justify the extra expense of soy milk etc. Any ideas on cheap veganism? :)

  • Shanon says:

    I am so happy I went vegan. It was like a lightbulb went on. Transitioning was painless. I was so excited! I think the key is to get really excited about it. Like, say, “yeah, I get to live without cheese, that rocks!” and then move forward. The difference between vegetarianism and veganism is huge (in my opinion) and I would have never know what this felt like had I not made the switch. I recommend going vegan if you are contemplating it. My sensitivity to the world is greater and you feel wonderful for weaning yourself off any type of animal usage. Stay strong and go for it!

  • Joanna says:

    I’ve been vegetarian for 6 years. These are some great tips and make things really easy (because I hate cooking and avoid anything complicated). Also, Moe’s rocks! You can get tofu as a “meat” option in anything, plus free chips and salsa! I love a restaurant that is conscious enough to provide vegetarian and vegan options.

  • Jeff says:

    Personally if your going to commit to being a vegetarian, the EAT UNPROCESSED VEGETABLES. Soy cheese and soy meat is bad for you and can cause MAJOR digestive problems. In fact prisoners in the Illinois state corrective system are being fed soy based imitation meat and are developing severe health problems. They are now suing the state government because of this.

    I love being a vegetarian, there are so many wonderful foods, but imitation meat is not one of them.

  • chris says:

    The key to the vegan transition, I found, is to treat cheese like it’s crack and have nothing to do with it. I promise you that after 3 weeks to a month the “cravings” will go away. If I accidentally have anything dairy now, it’s not pretty! Amys makes a great soy cheeze pizza, and for the fatty flavour I miss from cheese on tacos and such, I just pig out and load on the guac and Better Than Sour Cream and I don’t miss the animal products one bit!

  • Marisa Miller Wolfson says:

    Great tips! We at Kind Green Planet have a free email coaching program called Vegan at Heart for folks who consider themselves vegan at heart but not in practice. It’s super practical tips and resources for making the transition to a more plant-based lifestyle. Check us out! http://www.veganatheart.org

  • Rucina says:

    this is some great advice to share with people! it really isn’t hard to give this stuff up once you realize all they pain your causing! i went vegetarian 4 years ago and it was super easy i had 1 craving and that was just cause i wanted fatty food. i then went vegan this February and i use to love cheese, milk, and pretty much anything made from dairy products but i once i decided to go vegan i just gave it all up and never looked back! it was most likely due to a baby cow named clarence i watched him come into the world in a “cow birthing tent” at a local fair and i instantly fell in love with the little guy and i couldn’t be a part of anything that would hurt him!

  • Janus says:

    Great list of advice for going vegan, I’ll share these with my loved ones who always reject it because of how ‘hard’ it is for them. :)

  • Casey says:

    Deanna, Follow Your Heart makes wonderful Vegan cheese that melts as well. It’s amazing for nachos or on top of veggies! You won’t miss dairy cheese after you try this product :) Plus it doesn’t cause the bloat or pimples dairy tends to give females!

  • Paulina says:

    I’m starting my vegan diet, so hopefully this makes the transition easier. It wasn’t difficult for me, but sometimes people around me go and try to make it hard! Thanks!

  • harini says:

    Thanks for the great tips!

    I have been vegetarian from birth but trying hard to become vegan

    The main problem is the community i live in… i get just too much critisism.. when i go out with family or friends to dine.. first the difficultly to choosing a place that serves veg.. n second the dairy products :( .. people around me get soo irritated that it severely discourages me..

    However, i m hoping with time i’l learn to deal with it.. :)

  • chander kumar soni says:

    fabulous.

  • Casey says:

    Great tips you guys! I’m a Vegan and I forwarded this on to all the non vegans I know. Veganism is truly an amazing thing and so healthy for your body, I don’t know why it gets such a bad reputation with meat eaters. Perhaps they are trying to make an excuse to justify their cruelty upon animals. The biggest stereotype is that Vegans are pale hippies with terrible complexions because they don’t get any nutrients. I can vouch that this is not true. I have been successfully modeling for top ad campaigns for around 5 years. If anything you glow more from being such a compassionate consumer! I am SO PROUD of all you Vegans out there. Keep up the excellent work and spread the word…

    Ciao,

    Casey

  • Deanna says:

    Yeah, I agree with Jessica. Giving up meat was easy, I refuse to eat chicken, pork and beef. I just quit eggs a week ago, and never really drank milk … but I LOVE cheese on everything, so that will be the hard one. Once I give up cheese, I can say I’m a true vegan, until then, I’m a cheese eating vegetarian.

  • Jessica C. says:

    I want to thank you for your help. Im 19 years old and starting out by just trying to be a vegetarian and hopefully over time becoming Vegan. But all these tips are very helpful. Thank You!

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