A Getting Started Guide for New Vegans

Veganism has come a long way in the past decade, with an explosion of blogs, cookbooks, products and resources, as well as an overall awareness. Of course, this is all very good, but all of the information can be very overwhelming if you’re new to the lifestyle.

My yoga instructor has decided to go vegan and was asking me about getting started. I’m certainly not an expert or a nutritionist, but I thought I’d put together some resources and recommendations to help her in the transition and to share it here to help any of you in the same boat. It’s just a quick guide and, eventually, I’d like to build on it enough to create its own page. And please feel free to add any tips of your own in the comments.

Books

Vegan Yum Yum” — As much as I love Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s books, I highly recommend “Vegan Yum Yum” for anyone starting out. Most of the recipes are very simple to make and budget-friendly. I still make her mac and cheese recipe on a regular basis.

Magazines

VegNews — In addition to recipes, this magazine offers tons of information about new products, destinations, as well as facts about living a meat- and dairy-free lifestyle. I’m always inspired to be a better vegan with each new issue.

Websites

Happy Cow — This site offers a list of non-vegan ingredients.
Post Punk Kitchen — I know I said to wait on her cookbooks, but her site is great way to find food ideas and to build yourself up to more involved recipes.

Advice

Try not to get into the frozen food, veggie burger rut. There is so much more to vegan food than veggie burgers and frozen dinners. Don’t get me wrong, they have their place, but if you depend on them, you will burn out quickly. Plus, they’re super expensive.

Don’t beat yourself up for not being 100 percent vegan. Even if your goal is to be 100 percent vegan, 100 percent of the time, there will be a time when you slip up, either knowingly or unknowingly. And that’s okay. Being vegan shouldn’t be about beating yourself up all the time or feeling guilty.

Don’t let the naysayers get you down. It’s going to happen. You’re going to come across that family member or friend who just doesn’t understand why you’d want to give up cheese. I’ve even had a so-called friend put non-vegan ingredients into food and purposely not tell me. The best thing is to be polite with these people and just let it go.

Have fun. While some may see the vegan diet as restrictive, I see it as just the opposite. Since becoming vegan, my eyes have opened up to so many new ingredients and recipes that I never would have been exposed to before. And I have a blast exploring all the possibilities.

Also, check out The Pantry page to find out how to stock your pantry.

More to come …

I hope you all are well! I’ll have some food posts up soon!

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