Can you remember when you decided to become a vegan? If you haven’t yet taken the leap and want to know how a newbie faired, Colleen B from Expert Home Tips decided to try veganism for a month, and here is what she found out.
1. Have fun with the vegan diet
As I am completely obsessed with eating and cooking, the month of veganism was an exciting time for me. I love finding new recipes having already followed a load of vegan bloggers and cooks on social media, I already had a few recipes I wanted to try.
Making vegetables the star of your plate, where chicken or steak once sat is a surprisingly enjoyable challenge. It means you must dedicate the care and attention to the main vegetable as you would have done with a piece of meat.
There are so many recipes to be discovered on the internet, (such as Vegan Life’s own recipe list), as well as a number of new cookbooks for the vegan diet.
2. Support is out there
There are loads of incredible websites out there, especially if you’re feeling a bit lost. They are packed full of great information on recipes and advice to help you get started on your new lifestyle.
I also found plenty of useful Facebook groups to join and everyone was incredibly friendly and had lots of wonderful tips for fellow newbies like myself.
If you have a burning question, don’t be afraid to ask. There are so many friendly vegans out there that want to help!
3. Don’t worry, vegan cheese exists
Cheese lovers, if the thought of giving up your precious yellow treat leaves you cold, then worry not. There are loads of dairy-free cheeses out there and you’re bound to find one you love. Vegan cheese can be made from cashews, sesame seeds, soybeans, coconut oil, nuts, nutritional yeast and almonds. Take your pick!
Check out your local supermarkets to find vegan mozzarella, cheddar and even blue cheese. Some of it even melts! Pizza fans among you – I tasted the new Vegan Giardiniera at Pizza Express and was really impressed.
The more people that choose to embark on a vegan diet, the more demand will rise, and companies will start to offer a variety of different options.
4. You’ll have to check a lot of labels
I spent a lot of time pouring over labels and found many hidden ingredients which meant that I couldn’t eat the contents inside. Many snacks like crisps and biscuits contain milk, so be sure to gaze over the list before you buy.
Head to the bottom of the ingredients list and you should see information on allergens where it may say ‘Contains milk’. To save time on label-checking in the supermarket, opt for homemade food – this way you’ll know exactly what’s going in it.
5. I probably have a milk or dairy allergy
Lactose intolerance and milk allergies are common, and I had semi-guessed that having milk (especially cream) was affecting me adversely.
In as little as three days on a dairy-free diet, my skin improved. My face was clearer, and patches of eczema were starting to disappear. It dawned on me that I almost certainly have a milk allergy.
My month of veganism opened my eyes up to the many, many milk alternatives out there – almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, and rice milk to name a few. My new favourite is oat milk for my tea… and coconut milk for my rice pudding.
6. You can still eat out in restaurants if you are a vegan
I can appreciate that in the past, it would have been incredibly tough to eat out as a vegan. Luckily in recent times, restaurants have started to offer vegan choices on the menu. As I write this, IKEA is to launch a vegan hot dog! PETA has a big list of vegan options at high street favourites like Wagamama, Zizzi, and even Toby Carvery.
All it takes is a bit of pre-planning to check whether the restaurant you’re visiting caters to the vegan diet. More and more people are turning vegan which means the restaurant chains must take notice and respond – more delicious food options for us!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my 6 revelations from my month of veganism. If you’d like to get in touch or have any questions, please follow me on Twitter!