Why Go Vegan? 99 tips: Epic Guide for Becoming Vegan

Why go vegan? There are many reasons why you should go vegan. The animals, the planet, your health, etc. We’ve compiled this list of 99 things to think about when going vegan. Yes! 99! That’s a lot, and it’s all because veganism is getting more and more popular these days, which means that the availability of vegan products and vegan support is all around us! Embrace all the info, support, food and lifestyle the world and the world wide web have to offer and live it up! Change your life. Make a difference.

Why go vegan? Why not? Learn how to go vegan with these 99 tips. Do it for your health, do it for the animals and do it for the planet.

 

Why Go Vegan?

  1. Take baby steps. You could first just cut out some meat, slowly move to all meat, then remove eggs, then remove all dairy. At the same time, you can add new things you might not have ever tried – tofu, tempeh, seitan, tofurky, etc.
  2. Do research online. The internet is vast and full of info about veganism and tips for going vegan. It’s amazing!
  3. Read books about veganism. So many good options out there for beginners. The first book I read was: Diet For a New America by John Robbins. Other good choices include The China Study by TC Campbell & TM Campbell or Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran.
  4. Watch documentaries for the vegan diet: Vegucated, Cowspiracy, Earthlings, Forks over Knives, etc, etc, etc…. I could go on and on. So many films to watch. After watching one of these I am sure there will be no more asking: why go vegan again?
  5. Seek out friends who are vegan. Find people you can relate to. It’s good to have support when you’re going vegan. You’re going to deal with a**holes sharing their opinion to you and having people to vent to about this is helpful. People you can relate to. There are online support groups you can check out on Facebook.
  6. Ignore the haters. There will be jerks (aka haters). I still can’t get over these types of people, and get angry at times. However, I’ve learned not to let their ignorance get to me as much. You will too.
  7. Enlighten the curious. Many are curious about what you eat, why you chose to eat this way and if you’ll always eat this way forever. Just be open and honest and do your best to stick to the facts.
  8. Protein. Don’t stress about protein if you eat these: beans, tofu, tempeh and grains. Even vegetables contain some protein. There seems to be big hype about “where do you get your protein?” – but you really don’t need to worry about it as much as people think.
  9. Beans: pinto, black, chickpeas (garbanzo), kidney, white beans, lima, red beans, adzuki, soy (edamame), black eyed peas, lentils, split peas are just a handful of bean or legume options. They are great in burritos, tacos, as a side dish, in salads, in stir fries, over rice, in burrito bowls, in soups, on bread, over a sweet potato, in chili, etc. Great source of protein – around 21 grams per 1/2 cup.
  10. Tofu – I stick to organic and non-GMO only. Tofu is great in stir fries, salads, as a side dish, etc.
  11. Preparing Tofu: I like to press it and squeeze out the liquid before cooking usually. This helps if you’re stir frying it or baking it. I basically put it into a colander, put a plate over it, and then put something heavy on top of the plate. The liquid will drain out slowly. I do this for at least 30 minutes.
  12. Simple Tofu Stir-Fry: Cut tofu into bite-sized squares, and fry it in a pan with oil and season to taste. Braggs or tamari or coconut aminos or soy sauce is great and adds lots of flavor, plus pepper & garlic powder. Fry until golden brown on all sides (flip around a few times while cooking).
  13. Scrambled Tofu? Satisfy your scrambled egg craving with a tofu scramble.
  14. Tempeh – Essentially fermented soybeans, but I’ve bought the kind made with grains and soybeans also. It’s best to steam tempeh before cooking it with whatever seasonings you’re going to use. It takes away a bitter taste plus allows it to absorb the sauces you’re about to add to it. You can then dice it up or crumble it up, do it however you’d like. This all depends on what you plan on doing with it. Stir fries, burritos, soups, pasta, chili, etc.
  15. Tempeh Bacon: Substitute a bacon craving with tempeh bacon.
  16. Bacon Bits: Bacon bits are also SURPRISINGLY vegan – who knew?
  17. Side note: Oreos are vegan, too.
  18. Accidentally vegan: A popular phrase you may see online or in social media that shows you that many products out there are “accidentally vegan” – meaning they are vegan, but it wasn’t done intentionally and some don’t even advertise it or put it on the label.
  19. Try faux meats: Tofurky makes sausages, deli “meats”, roasts, etc. One of my favorites is Gardein (usually expensive, but look for sales!) – they make fake chick’n strips, veggie ground “meat”, fake fysh, veggie burgers, etc. Also try seitan and there are tons of different veggie burger brands out there.
  20. Faux meats in restaurants? I’ve found that some Chinese or Thai food restaurants offer fake meat options, so keep a look out for those! They almost always serve tofu, too.
  21. Veggie burgers: You can buy these in the store and at a lot of restaurants. You can also make your own using beans, oats, rice, veggies, spices, etc. There are many recipes online.
  22. Can’t find tofu or tempeh in your local grocery store? Always be sure to check the refrigerated produce section, or ask around.
  23. Protein in Grains – Did you know that quinoa has 8.14 grams of protein in 1 cup cooked? Pretty cool.
  24. Couscous: If you need a grain in a hurry, boil 1 cup of water and add 1 cup of couscous. Turn off heat and let sit for 3 minutes. That’s it!! Seriously – 3 minutes!!!
  25. Stock pantry. I always like to keep beans and whole grains on hand in my pantry. They are always easy to cook up. Just add some veggies for a complete meal.
  26. Veggies are essential. Of course you knew this already. But my meals are usually 60-70% veggies, the rest is 1/2 beans or tofu and 1/2 grains/carb like sweet potatoes.
  27. Leafy Greens: Learn to love leafy greens – kale, spinach, collard greens, escarole, etc. Cook them up with pepper, salt, garlic powder. Or, add them to a smoothie, soup, sandwich. You can also make wraps using collard greens (MY FAVORITE).
  28. Eat a rainbow diet: Veggies come in all colors – and they contain all kinds of nutrients. Check out our guide here.
  29. Frozen Veggies? Frozen veggies are just are good for you as fresh. It will make your life a little easier, too, since everything is chopped and ready to go.
  30. Save Money on Veggies? start a garden for infinite, fresh veggies! If I had more space where I lived I would be a gardening fool!
  31. Community Supported Agriculture:  A CSA program is probably available in your area where you get farm fresh veggies (and sometimes fruit) from local farmers in your area. It’s great to support them and usually they’re organic or have organic options. They might be a bit pricey – but not always.
  32. Avocado is biologically a “fruit”. But they are the best – they’re great in smoothies, salads, making dressings, and in baking. Extremely versatile!
  33. Mayo sub: Avocado is also a great mayo sub. You can mash it up, and spread onto bread slices. Avocado is considered a healthy fat, too. Our bodies need this type of healthy fat.
  34. Browning avocado? To prevent this from happening when storing a cut open avocado in the fridge – just leave the pit in it or add lemon juice.
  35. HUMMUS! This is another great sandwich spread in place of mayo. I haven’t bought mayo for years! Hummus always does the trick.
  36. Hummus is good for other things too: great as a dip for tortilla chips or raw veggies. Great on a salad. Just drop a couple dallops or make a dressing. Good in wraps, or burritos. Good on a veggie burger. I love it as a dip for when I make roasted veggies. The list can go on and on about hummus. (can you tell I am addicted to it?)
  37. Hummus-stuffed Avocado: I saw a friend post a hummus stuffed avocado on social media the other day. Oh my, did my mouth water seeing that picture. Basically she took half an avocado, scooped some hummus in the hole (where the pit was) and sprinkled some pumpkin seeds on top. Simple lunch that includes healthy fats and protein!
  38. Vegan mayonnaise: there are vegan mayonnaises out there for those who want their mayo. Veganaise is a brand I have used. They come in different flavors – I think there is a sriracha vegan mayo! There is also Nasoya, Follow Your Heart and Earth Balance brands.
  39. Potatoes – Oh how I love my potatoes. They are a great carb, especially sweet potatoes (in my opinion!). I like to have them in place of whole grains at times. Red potatoes are my 2nd favorite.
  40. Picky Eater? Try one new veggie a week. 20 years ago I didn’t like tomatoes or brussels sprouts and I had never had many greens at that time in my life (and didn’t want to try them either!!). I grew out of that though! Also, 10 years ago I would not eat watermelon or celery (strange right) – now I love both.  Just keep trying, you will learn to love things you never liked before and try something you didn’t realize was so tasty all along!
  41. Protein Shakes – you could also have protein shakes if you feel like you need it or aren’t getting enough. Vega makes a good one.
  42. Vitamin B-12This supplement is my favorite. But you can also get it from certain cereals or Nutritional Yeast!
  43. Vitamin D – this ones a little easier to come by. Most nut milk/soy milk is vitamin D fortified. Or you could try my favorite supplement: Garden of Life
  44. Sunshine is another way to get Vitamin D. Go out into the sun for 20 minutes daily. Wear sunscreen. Take a walk and call it multitasking!
  45. You could also take a multivitamin. Here is my favorite recommendation for women and this is the version for men.
  46. Always read labels when shopping for food. You may be surprised to find your favorite food is vegan or you may be disappointed that it’s not….
  47. Know what is and isn’t vegan. Check out this handy list of Animal-Derived Ingredients.
  48. Veganize! You can almost always veganize something. There is a vegan version of almost any recipe you can think of. Check out Google.com for ideas.
  49. Egg replacer #1 – did you even know there was such a thing? When I say egg replacement, I mean for baking. My go-to is usually a flax-egg. 1 TBSP ground flaxseed mixed with 3 TBSP warm water. Stir.
  50. Egg replacer #2 – You can also make a great baking egg replace from chia seeds. 1 TBSP chia seeds + 2 TBSP water. If you need more water, add more. Let it sit at least 10 minutes.
  51. Egg replacer #3 – Bananas are also a great egg replacer. I mash it up and use it in a zucchini bread or muffin recipe all the time.
  52. Eating out: NEVER be embarrassed to ask questions about your food at a restaurant – it’s your body, you have the right to know what’s going into it.
  53. Online search for restaurants: Use the website Happy Cow to search for vegetarian and/or vegan restaurants near you. Yelp is also a good resource for finding vegan/vegetarian restaurants.
  54. Menu: I always look online at a restaurants menu before I go there, just to be sure I can have something there, and also to have a plan.
  55. French Fries: They are almost always vegan (This depends on what oil they were cooked in and also if they were fried separately from meat). Nowadays you can even get sweet potato fries.
  56. A side of veggies: Most places you go to will almost always offer steamed veggies as a side dish. Just order a side of rice, and you have yourself a stir-fry.
  57. Call Ahead if you’re unsure: If you were unable to find any info out online about a restaurant, give them a call and ask if they have vegan options.
  58. Shopping tip: If you are unsure about a product or 2 at the store, get the Is It Vegan? app on your phone. You can scan items to see if they’re vegan or not.
  59. Vegan-Friendly Stores: Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Natural Food marts, Aldi.
  60. The truth about shopping: All stores have vegan food – fruits, veggies, grains and beans are all vegan naturally (plant-based).
  61. Check out local Asian markets – you may be surprised by how many vegan options you’ll find! Fried tofu, veggies/fruits you haven’t heard of, fake meats, sauces.
  62. Snack Time: Keep snacks in your bag at all times – nuts, dried fruit, Clif bars, etc. Feeling hungry with no options is no fun!
  63. Nuts and seeds are filling and a great snack idea. They are a healthy fat + added protein. Store them in your freezer, they will last longer that way.
  64. Nut butters: peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower butter, walnut butter, tahini (sesame seed butter), coconut butter. The list goes on. I love these – put on bread, on crackers, on apple slices, in smoothies, or be like me and eat it out of the container with a spoon.
  65. Craving Sweets? Eat some fruit.
  66. Fruit: Always eat in season. The fruit will be cheaper and taste better. Eat fruit as it is, make a fruit salad, add to a green salad or make smoothies!
  67. Banana “Nice Cream”: Yes – this is the best treat. You don’t have to feel guilty eating this either. 2-3 frozen bananas (sliced) + 1/4 cup-1/2 cup almond milk. Blend in high powered blender, adding almond milk as you need it and as it becomes as thick and creamy as you’d like. I also like to add chopped dates, unsweetened cocoa powder and natural peanut butter to mine. You could also make a berry version adding frozen berries in with the frozen bananas. Why go vegan? Do it for this.
  68. Store bought “nice cream”: If you don’t want to make your own “nice” cream, there are tons of brands in stores these days. I like coconut milk nice cream or almond milk. I wasn’t a fan of rice cream, but everyone is different. Give them all a try to find your favorite. Even Ben & Jerry’s makes a dairy free nice cream now!! (sadly not available at all stores, but shop around in your town)
  69. Frozen fruit: I always keep bags of berries in my freezer. Frozen bananas for nice cream (above recipe) are also essential. You can literally freeze any fruit. If you find some on sale, grab all you can get, cut it up, place on a cookie sheet so the pieces aren’t touching and then freeze. Once frozen you can add to a ziplock to store in the freezer and use in smoothies as needed.
  70. Frozen grapes: good little snack, especially in the summertime. Kids love ’em.
  71. Important note on Prepackaged frozen fruit: read the labels and avoid any that are sweetened with sugar. You really don’t need it, plain fruit (unsweetened) is best.
  72.  Skip White Sugar:  This junk is totally bad for you and highly processed. Use natural sweeteners like pure maple syrup, pure raw agave nectar, cane sugar, raw sugar, monk fruit sweetener or stevia (make sure its the kind that doesn’t include granulated white sugar in it).
  73. Note on Sugar: Any sugar labelled Organic, Raw, Turbinado, or Beet sugar is guaranteed to be 100% vegan.
  74. Spices: Expand your spice cabinet. Experiment. Have fun with new and different spices to jazz up meals – instead of salt! Salt is okay, in moderation, but there are so many different spice varieties out there. Enjoy yourself and enjoy your meals more.
  75. Indian Food: speaking of spice, Indian food is delish and a lot of it is vegan. Give it a try if you haven’t already!
  76. Thai Food: also has great vegan options, make sure to request no fish sauce.
  77. Yogurt? Yes, there are many vegan yogurt options and you’ll probably be surprised to find them at almost all stores. They usually will be made with coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk or soy milk. There are flavored with fruits, or just plain options as well.
  78. Milk/Mylk? I am surprised every day to learn a new “milk/mylk” option. They make milks from everything! No need to torture mama cows anymore! Drink milk alternatives: coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, soy milk, rice milk, pea milk, hemp milk, flax milk – or any combo of 2 of those. You can even find chocolate milk made from almonds or cashews or coconuts or whatever! It’s an amazing world we live in!
  79. Coffee creamer? Yes! lots of varieties of vegan creamers out there.
  80. Butter? Good options, earth balance is one. Miyokos is a new brand I haven’t tried, yet!
  81. Cheese/Cheeze? So many options, not all great, but everyone has a different opinion, so go out there and explore the options. You could also make your own if you have the patience.  Seek out recipes online.
  82. Cashew Cheeze: 1 cup cashews soaked for at least 1/2 hour (drain them) + 1/3 c. water, 1 tsp lemon juice, salt, nutritional yeast –  blend. Put on pasta, sweet potatoes, potatoes, fries, broccoli, rice, steamed veggies, etc. Again I ask — Why go vegan? Do it for this cashew cheeze!!
  83. Nutritional Yeast: a big staple for vegans – at least that’s what I think. HAHA. It’s literally these golden flakes that give you a cheezy flavor. Learn more about it here. Sprinkle on anything: salads, soups, chili, pasta (parmesan substitute), veggies, etc. Use in the above recipe for cashew cheeze! Oh, and the best part about it is it contains vitamin B12 which is hard to get on a vegan diet because it’s usually found in animal products only.
  84. Need buttermilk? Soy milk + lemon juice. Boom.
  85. Need feta cheese? Press tofu of its water. Crumble it. Add 1 TBSP nutritional yeast, ¼ tsp ground black pepper, ½ tsp sea salt, 3 TBSP lemon juice, 3 TBSP olive oil. Combine well. Add to a container to marinate for at least an hour or 2, the longer the better.
  86. Salad Dressing: Skip processed salad dressing if you can. Instead make your own with balsamic/apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, dried herbs. Add some tahini or hummus.
  87. Omega 3’s? Use flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed in your smoothies for getting your omega 3’s.
  88. Vegan products: There are tons of them out there. Fake meats, fake cheezes, all kinds of alternatives. But, just remember that vegan products are not always healthy. Always read labels for ingredients and nutrition facts – especially on the packaged and processed foods.
  89. Nutrition? Wondering if you’re getting enough or too much of certain things like sugar, carbs, Sodium, protein, fats, magnesium, folate, calcium, etc, etc, etc?  Track your food in MyFitnessPal or cronometer.com. They both break it all down for you.
  90. Cook! Make the time to actually make meals, don’t rely on convenience foods. Sure, they’re okay every once in a while. But, in reality, they are just like all convenience foods out there – slightly unhealthy, full of sodium, added sugars and who knows what else. Make foods from whole foods like veggies, grains, beans, etc.
  91. Recipes galore everywhere! Of course the internet is full of ideas. I get food ideas from vegan facebook groups I’ve joined, instagram, pinterest, or just a simple old google search.
  92. Cook in large batches. Save leftovers for the week. This will make your life easier.
  93. Don’t judge others. Being vegan doesn’t give you the right to think you’re better than everyone who isn’t vegan. I’ve even seen vegans talk smack to vegetarians… it’s just not cool. Instead of being a jerk, why not be friendly and possibly change someones life for the better.
  94. Get educated about what you’re doing for the planet with your new diet. One example – you’re conserving water by going vegan (according to One Green Planet it takes 25 gallons to produce 1 lb of wheat vs 5,000 gallons for 1 lb of beef!) Get online and find out other facts of what veganism does for the earth, your health and the animals. “Should I become vegan?” Yes – you should. If not for this reason – do it for your health or for the animals.
  95. Heal your body. A vegan diet is naturally low cholesterol. If you suffered from high cholesterol before starting a vegan diet, expect it to go down once you go vegan. Get yourself checked before and check it a couple months in to see a difference.
  96. Plant-based foods don’t contain bad cholesterol – so if you find a food with cholesterol, it’s not vegan.
  97. Do it for the animals! Some people do it for their health, others for the planet, and others for the animals. There is so much suffering out there with factory farms and the way they treat animals. Learn about it online, or go visit one yourself if you really want to experience it. It isn’t pretty.
  98. Don’t worry about what others think of your choices, no matter what your reasons are (your health, animals, planet – or all of the above), this is your choice.
  99. If you make a mistake – get right back on the wagon. Don’t stress. You are human. Ask yourself the question: Why go vegan? And remind yourself the answer.

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