How to Start Going Vegan

So you’ve seen the posts on social media. You’ve watched a few of the documentaries such as Earthlings or Cowspiracy. You’ve learned about the horrors of animal agriculture and have decided that it’s time to make a change. But when you begin to think about how you should actually do this, you just draw a blank. You don’t have the first clue about how to start going vegan. How do you make the change? Should you do it gradual or cut yourself off from animal products immediately? Here are some tips to help with your transition.

Ask 100 vegans how their transition to veganism happened and you are likely to get almost as many different answers. For me personally, I had watched a documentary on YouTube that made me decide then and there that I could no longer be complicit in the murdering and mistreatment of animals. The documentary was called “Lucent” and is a film with real footage from a pig farm in Australia which shows some heart breaking and horrendous treatment of these sophisticated and intelligent animals.  For anyone who is a self professed “animal lover as I claimed to have been, and was still eating animals and/or their secretions, I’d highly recommend watching this film. It’s a hard watch, but it educates you on what really happens behind the scenes. But I digress…

After watching Lucent, I decided that I was done. I talked to my wife later that evening and asked her what she thought about going vegan. She had some initial questions about how healthy it was which I had done research on prior to our conversation. I discovered that being vegan (whole food plant based) is considered healthy for all stages of life by many of the top health organizations around the globe, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the US, the Dieticians of Canada (where I’m from), and the World Health Organization. After informing her of this, she was ready to make the switch as well. Great. Now what?

What we ended up deciding to do was to use up whatever animal based foods that we had in the house and from then on we would only buy vegan food. Whatever that meant. But this was the plan. However, things didn’t go according to plan. The next meal that my wife made with meat, I just couldn’t do it. Through watching Lucent and my research prior to the conversation with my wife, I learned too much. I couldn’t unlearn what I had learned. I was repulsed by the “food” in front of me. I knew I had already had my last meal eating animals and there was no going back. My wife ended up having a few more non vegan meals, but she found rather quickly that she didn’t want to eat animal products any more either. We ended up throwing out the rest of our non vegan food and fumbled our way through the first several weeks of meal planning. Surely there’s got to be an easier way to start going vegan than this? Well, this is what I think you should consider before officially making the switch.


Not everyone eats the same. Some eat very healthy, some eat comfort food, some like a mix. Being vegan is NOT about being healthy no matter what you read. It’s all about the animals. So when you decide to start going vegan, don’t change HOW you eat or you will have a lot of trouble. If you don’t eat healthy all the time before you switch, don’t try to do it after. You can’t go from eating burgers and tacos to eating salads. It just won’t work.

If you are craving a burger, you can either find recipes online to make vegan versions of them or you can find out which stores near you sell pre-made vegan patties. Do you like to bake? Play around with egg replacements. Chia eggs, apple sauce, and aquafaba can be used, among others. Do you like having scrambled eggs in the morning? FInd a tofu scramble recipe that you like. For almost anything that you like, there will be either a vegan recipe for it or a vegan product in stores, or both. FInd the equivalent to what you already eat.


If you are going to be permanently cutting animal products out of your diet, you need to be supplementing with B12. You don’t want to mess with this. B12 is crucial in having healthy red blood and nerve cells and helps make your DNA. Having a B12 deficiency can cause headaches, make you feel weak or tired, cause you to be short of breath, among many other things. While many vegan products such as milks, cereals, and “nooch” are fortified with B12, to make sure you have your bases covered, you should get a supplement. Aim for 2.4mcg a day for an adult.

Find Support

Being a vegan can be lonely sometimes. You’ll especially feel this during holidays when you are sitting with a bunch of your relatives and are the only one not eating animal products at the table. It’s just something you’ll have to get used to. With even the most generous stats having people that claim to be vegan at 3% of the population. Sometimes you’ll just need to vent or just have someone to talk to that understands what you are going through. This is where social media can be a huge help. I’m not a huge social media user on the best of days, but I definitely am part of vegan groups on Facebook and follow vegans on Twitter. I’m sure other social media platforms will have vegans as well. You can do anything from complain about the lack of options in your city to asking how to deal with certain social situations. Especially when you are just starting out, you can get some advice from people who have potentially been in a very similar situation in the past.

Those to me are the three most important things that you can do when you first start going vegan. Everything else can come later. But I feel like these are the essentials to get you started. Find vegan substitutes for food you eat every day, make sure you take a B12 supplement, and find some groups or people online for support. This will promote a long lasting vegan life ahead which will be better for you, and of course the animals.

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