Are you new to plant-based eating? If you don’t want to watch Justin and I wingin’ it on camera, check out our need-to-know tips for new vegans below.

 

Stick to foods you already know and love

Many people think that when you go vegan you have to ditch fun, familiar foods and start eating just salad and tofu. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! Almost any dish you can think of can be veganized. From classic tacos, to heavenly chili cheese fries, to mouth-watering pizza, to indulgent ice cream, it’s all possible! Go step by step and replace any meat, egg, or dairy containing ingredients with your favorite alternatives. There are a lot to choose from these days!

Find your favorite meat, egg, and dairy alternatives  

It’s important to discover the awesome vegan products out there so you never feel like you’re missing out. There is a great substitute for everything – chicken strips and tenders, bacon, beef, cream cheese, yogurt, eggs, crab cakes – you name it! Keep trying until you find your perfect match. It’ll be worth it! Some of my favorite brands are Gardein, Follow Your Heart, and Tofurky.

Discover the accidentally vegan products

You may be surprised to know how many already vegan products there are on supermarket shelves. When I found out that oreos were vegan… well, I won’t tell you what I did then. Some other vegan snacks I like are the Sweet Spicy Chili flavored Doritos, Nutter Butters, Sour Patch Kids, and Cracker Jacks. (These aren’t everyday foods for me, I swear). Once you realize how many options are out there you’ll know you can do this!

Eat enough calories and colors

One of the most common problems I hear from people who are making the switch to vegan is that they are hungry all the time or feel tired. Not getting enough calories is almost always the culprit. When cutting things out of your diet you need to make sure you are replacing them with enough of the right things. Make sure you’re getting a variety of foods and make sure you stock your fridge with lots of red, yellow, and other brightly colored foods for optimum health. You can usually eat more as a vegan as well since many vegan foods have less calories. You can’t beat that! Keep snacks on hand so you never go hungry.

Don’t stress over perfection

Being vegan doesn’t mean you do everything right, and it’s unrealistic to expect that from yourself. You aren’t always going to know what’s in the bread on the table when you’re out to eat or if the chips at a party have milk in them (a lot do by the way), so give yourself a break when it comes to the small stuff. And don’t worry if you’re friends make comments or ask “is that vegan?” Just tell them you’re not perfect and neither are they. Being vegan means striving to cause the least amount of harm to the animals, the planet, and to your own health, so know that you’re already doing amazing things!

Discover the vegan options at chain restaurants

With veganism on the rise, some of the biggest chains and fast food restaurants are taking notice and adding plant-based options to their menus. Some of my favorites are Chipotle’s Sofritas – organic tofu braised with peppers and spices – that you can add to any bowl, burrito or salad. Denny’s is even accommodating with their oatmeal and the Fit Fare® Veggie Skillet (without egg whites). Johnny Rockets has the Boca Burger they call “The Streamliner” with grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and mustard. Did you know that Olive Garden’s breadsticks are vegan? They also have angel hair, cavatappi, fettuccine, gluten-free rotini, rigatoni, small shells, spaghetti, and whole-wheat linguine that can all be topped with their vegan marinara sauce. Taco Bell is even jumping on the vegan train as you can now order anything on the menu “fresco style” which means they’ll leave off the dairy. Swap out the meat for potatoes and you’re good to go!

Find support in your community or create your own group

One of the best things you can do for yourself when you go vegan is to find support within your community. Surrounding yourself with others who understand you cannot be underestimated. If there isn’t a veg meetup in your area think about starting one yourself! You may be surprised to find out just how many other vegans there are nearby. And you will find a lot of support right here with Love Veg! Let us help you discover just how awesome plant-based eating truly can be!