I know that veganism for beginners can be a little confusing, or even downright overwhelming.
I’ve gotten a lot of messages from friends, family, and strangers lately announcing that they are going vegan or trying to transition to a more plant based diet. Along with those announcements, often come questions, requests for tips, and excitement to learn about a new lifestyle.
Is it best to go cold turkey or transition to veganism over time? What is your favorite meat replacement? What kind of plant based milk do you like best in your coffee? Have you tried chia pudding? Do you have any tips or advice for me?
These are some of the common questions I get from excited newbie vegans. The answers are – whatever way works best for you, tofu, I take mine black, yesssssss mmmmm, and totally!
Last year I started expanding this site to include an entire vegan lifestyle section. Veggie Visa started out as a vegan travel website, because I was backpacking through Asia when I decided to become vegan. Now, years later, I want the site to be more than just a travel site. I want it to be a resource for anyone who is vegan or who is becoming vegan.
So, you can find a whole section on the site devoted to Veganism for Beginners. It includes a series of articles to help you learn the basics. However, before you go anywhere start with this article to find out what you need to know to go vegan.
Veganism for Beginners Guide – Tips & Info to Get Started!
Currently there are all kinds of articles on my site about vegan topics, including what it means to be vegan, what the different types of vegans are, what the best vegan sneaker brands are, and even articles positing whether or not certain products, like honey or alcohol, are vegan.
What is missing, until now, is a roadmap to becoming vegan. “Veganism for Beginners” if you will.
So, without further ado here are, in my opinion, some of the most important resources on my website for new vegans.
1. Know Exactly What Veganism Is? Veganism for Beginners 101
There are so many ideas about what it means to be vegan. Is it about health, about the animals, about the environment? One person’s reason for going vegan could have nothing to do with another person’s reason.
However, there is one definition that is usually referenced to settle the “what is veganism” debate.
It comes from The Vegan Society and states that 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; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
As an ethical vegan, I tend to stick with that definition and keep it in mind when making decisions relevant to living a vegan lifestyle.
For more information about what it means to go vegan, take a look at my article What is Veganism Anyway? In my humble opinion, it’s essential “veganism for beginners” reading.
2. Veganism for Beginners Step 2: Learn about the Different Types of Vegans
Another huge topic to tackle when it comes to veganism for beginners.
There are millions of vegans living on this planet. Most were not born vegan. That means millions of people have considered whether or not to drastically change their lifestyle for one reason or another. It could be for health, ethical reasons, the environment, or even religion. It could even be a combination of those reasons.
Ethical vegans choose a vegan lifestyle because they are against animal-cruelty. This is the type of vegan the “official” definition mentioned above pertains to the most.
Veganism for the ethical vegan is a lifestyle. It applies to everything from food, alcohol, clothing, shoes, and bags, to make-up, body care products, household products, and more. The entire point of choosing veganism because of ethics is to make choices that will exploit animals as little as possible.
Environmental vegans adopt a vegan diet to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimize their personal impact on the planet. Since animal agriculture is accountable for more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transportation systems, becoming vegan is a logical choice if one wants to do their part to reduce climate change.
More and more people are choosing to go vegan for heath. They are excluding all animal products from their diet in order to improve their personal health.
Even Simon Winch, the CEO of Veganuary stated that “health is now the second biggest driver for so many people going vegan“. Vegan diets have been shown to help reduce the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health issues. So, it’s no surprise many are choosing a vegan diet to feel better.
Religious vegans follow a vegan diet due to spiritual beliefs. This includes followers of Jainism, and some followers of Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity.
For more information see my article “4 Types Of Vegans & 8 Different Vegan Diets“.
3. Do it at Your Pace – Veganism for Beginners
For me, going vegan was a process. I went from an omni diet to being vegetarian. Then I transitioned to a vegan diet. It took a few years but it was the route that worked for me.
Some people go vegan cold turkey. Some transition like me. I’d encourage you to decide what path works best for you and take it.
Whichever you choose, there are a lot of tips I can share with you to help make the road less bumpy. Tips on how to eat out as a vegan, traveling as a vegan, supplements to consider, apps you can use, and more. Just take a look at my article “How to Go Vegan“.
One key step in veganism for beginners is to do it at your own pace! Don’t take slack from anyone who tries to pressure you into vegan perfectionism. It doesn’t exist.
4. Stock up on Vegan Pantry Staples
Going vegan, no matter the reason, means changing your diet. Which inevitably means trying new foods. Strange looking products with even stranger names (quinoa, tempeh, and seitan I’m talking about you) might start to catch your eye while you stroll up and down the aisles of your local health food store.
If you feel lost and have no idea where to start, want some inspiration, or are looking for something new to here’s my Ultimate Vegan Grocery List with 111 must have pantry items.
If you want to see what a vegan pantry looks like, then take a peek at the above video. My European pantry might be small, but it’s mighty…and fully stocked!
5. Find Awesome Vegan Recipes – Veganism for Beginners
No veganism for beginners guide would be complete without some delicious vegan recipes!
I have a few vegan recipes on this site, and I’m currently working on adding more. However, there are countless delicious vegan recipes online. Youtube and Pinterest are awesome resources for learning how to cook as a vegan.
I’ve even prepared an entire article for you with my absolute favorite vegan recipe videos. It’ll have you covered for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and even dessert!
6. Learn What Food is and Isn’t Vegan!
Okay. Now that I’ve hopefully opened your eyes to a whole world of new vegan products, let me break some bad news to you. There are a lot of things you might assume are vegan but actually aren’t.
It can be tricky but here’s a handy article about sneaky non-vegan ingredients to look out for. Check it out.
7. Watch Some Movies on Veganism
A veganism for beginners guide wouldn’t be complete without including information on how to educate yourself about vegan health, animal exploitation, or veganism and the environment. Thankfully, there are a whole slew of movies on veganism, including documentaries and feature films.
If you’re looking for documentaries discussing animal exploitation and the environment there are classics like “Cowspiracy” and “Earthlings”. If you want a documentary that explores the health benefits of veganism check out “Game Changers” or “Forks Over Knives”.
If you’re looking for a feature film that’s heartwarming, yet tearjerking check out “Okja”.
One thing to note, if you’re venturing into the world of animal exploitation for the first time, make sure you’re in a good headspace. These films are not easy to watch!
8. Veganism for Beginners – Beyond Food
Veganism for beginners guides usually leave out the fact that the lifestyle isn’t just about food. There are a lot of other aspects of life to think about if you’re an ethical vegan.
The first time I saw a pair of shoes labeled as vegan I was totally confused. I thought, “how are shoes vegan, you don’t eat them!”. Little did I know that veganism doesn’t just apply to food.
If you’re an ethical vegan there is a lot to consider when you purchase clothing, shoes, bags, make-up and more.
Leather is an easy one to look out for. You can easily assuming you’re buying a pair of vegan shoes simply because it doesn’t contain leather, but you might be wrong. Rubber and canvas shoes can still contain animal products!
Here are a series of articles to help you understand what to look out for.
9. Have a Vegan Period – If you Have one
Bet you didn’t expect me to talk about periods in this veganism for beginners guide, huh?
If you’re an ethical vegan or a vegan for the environment, you might want to consider switching out those tampons and pads for a more environmentally friendly products. One that happens to also be animal friendly, and less likely to cause toxic shock syndrome.
It’s all the rage these days and chances are you’ve heard of it already. If you’re intrigued, you can read about my personal experience switching to this menstrual product here.
10. Learn About Vegan Tattoos – If that’s relevant to you!
Obviously, this one will not apply to every vegan. However, I wanted to include it in this veganism for beginners guide for any of you ink-prone vegans.
If you’re planning on getting a new tattoo any time soon then you’re going to want to do a little research before you go under the gun.
Lots of inks contain animal products. And that’s not the only part of getting tattooed to worry about. But, don’t stress, I have an article on that too!
Find out what makes a tattoo a vegan tattoo, which brands make vegan ink, and more in my article on vegan tattoos.
11. Learn How to Travel as a Vegan
Since I became vegan, and started Veggie Visa when I was traveling, you better believe I have some great tips on this topic for you!
Traveling as a vegan is easy, once you get the hang of it. After doing it for a few years, it all comes second nature to me. That said, sometimes there are still some frustrations.
However, if you just follow the tips in my Vegan Travel article, you’ll be a happy vegan camper.
12. Learn About Negative Vegan Stereotypes and Other Things You’re Gonna Hear from Non-Vegans
I think this is a super important PSA to include in this veganism for beginners guide. As you may know, there are some pretty negative vegan stereotypes floating around. They’re going to end up affecting you, trust me.
I do my best to combat them. I’m friendly, I don’t throw fake blood at meat eaters, and I almost never engage in pointless arguments on the topic of veganism.
I’m trying to show the world that being a vegan doesn’t equate to being annoying. But…(you knew there was a but, huh?) wow, sometimes I get totally fed up with the stuff that comes along with being vegan. So, one day when I was super cranky I wrote it all down.
Below is a good ol’ fashioned rant. Call it a warning to newbie vegans. This is the kind of stuff you’re going to probably hear at least 7,000 times during your life as a vegan.
A warning for new vegans. Here are the things you’ll hear from friends, family, and total strangers about your decision to go vegan.
Rant on Annoying Things About Being Vegan
Veganism for Beginners – Parting Thoughts
I simply can’t end this article on a negative note, even if it’s a silly rant. So, here are a few more thoughts on veganism for beginners.
Going vegan is truly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Really, It changed my life in so many ways. From feeling better physically and mentally, to feeling like I’m actually making positive impact with my actions.
Every single day I make dozens of choices that have a positive effect on the wellbeing of animals and the planet.
Simply put, I wouldn’t change my lifestyle for the world.