Forget everything that you've previously heard because going vegan can, in fact, be super easy. I’ve been following the animal-free diet for over four years now, and it's one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Nothing has felt more right to me than going vegan.
Nonetheless, I realise that making such a drastic diet change is a privilege that not everyone can afford, which is why it's something that takes a bit of prior consideration. As long as you're in a position in your life where you're able to go vegan, then I wholeheartedly believe in you. You've got this!
There are a few things that you might want to know beforehand to make it a smooth transition because it's always good to know what you're getting yourself into! By no means is this an exhaustive list, but I have outlined some advice that I wish I had known before I went vegan. Hopefully, it helps you on your journey!
Some supplements are tricky to get on a vegan diet; for example, B12 is only found in animal products, so it's advisable to take a daily supplement for this. It's a super essential one because it aids the health of the body's nerve and blood cells. Other recommended supplements would be Vitamin D and iron. However, there are plenty of vegan food sources for both of these. If you feel a dip in your energy or overall after switching to a vegan diet, then you can get a blood test to show what nutrients that you might be deficient in.
The vegan diet is often labelled as being too expensive, which it can be if you purchase a lot of processed products such as mock meats and treats. However, if you follow a whole foods plant-based diet, then I can assure you it will be much cheaper than a diet that includes animal products.
If you suffer from any medical issues or have a chronic illness, it's advisable to have a chat with your doctor or do research beforehand. There are lots of online groups and forums that offer advice and a sense of community to vegans living with illnesses, such as Crohn's or IBS, that might make it more tricky to make dietary changes.
Despite the huge growth in interest, an animal-free diet is still relatively new in the modern world, which means a lot of people will be curious if they find out that you're vegan. Diet is also a sensitive topic for some, but arguments can be avoided by holding back on any judgement or hostility. Trust me, once you've been vegan for a while, you will become accustomed to the bombardment of questions and comments - patience is key!
No need to worry, you can still eat Oreos! You might be surprised at how many foods out there are 'accidentally vegan', for example, certain flavours of Doritos, Skittles, and Ritz Crackers.
It's not a race against the clock, and there’s no rule book when it comes to your diet. If you're concerned that you might miss certain things, for example, cheese, then it's okay to follow a vegan diet and have a little cheese every now and then. It's not all or nothing, you can do whatever suits you. By eating a primarily plant-based diet, you will still be making a great lifestyle change, and will hopefully reap the health benefits, too.
Also, if you're on the journey to going fully vegan, you don't have to do it overnight. It's a different experience for everyone; it can take days, it can take months, maybe even years.
E numbers and additives are mostly found in processed foods and are sometimes derived from animal products; unfortunately, product packaging doesn't disclose whether they are or not. You'll have to research this online for yourself.