Save a turkey next Thursday, Grownups! Blogger Danielle Corcione shares resources for going vegan.
Reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer changed my life. Half-memoir, half-investigation, the book chronicles Foer’s moral dilemma of raising his son to be vegetarian (or not). It opened my eyes to the meat industry’s use of hormones and antibiotics; after finishing it, I removed meat from my diet entirely, and haven’t gone back since.
Three-and-a-half years after becoming a vegetarian, I watched a documentary called Forks Over Knives. In the film, several doctors stressed the importance of replacing processed food with a plant-based diet—excluding meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal-based products—to prevent illnesses and promote wellness.
I was convinced and went vegan.
If you’re considering a plant-based vegan diet, the following six steps are simple ways to get started. Try it for 21 days—your health and wallet will thank you!
- Watch a documentary. Beyond Forks Over Knives, check out:
- Cowspiracy: Filmmakers Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn expose the effects of the cattle industry on the environment. This is an informative documentary for Grownups interested in conservation and sustainability.
- Earthlings: Filmmaker Shaun Monson explores animal suffering inside factory farms, research labs, and puppy mills. If you want to understand the inhumane treatment of animals, this documentary is a good place to start. (Please note: This film includes graphic content.)
- Super Size Me: While this isn’t exactly focused on veganism, independent filmmaker Morgan Spurlock sheds light on how unhealthy McDonald’s menu is, which isn’t really vegan- or vegetarian-friendly. If you need a reason to stop eating fast food, this one’s for you.
- Locate vegan-friendly restaurants in your area. I recommend Happy Cow; it’s similar to Yelp, but for vegans and vegetarians. Their mobile app is a must-have for vegan traveling.
- Find recipes. Depending on where you live, your vegan dining options may be limited. However, that doesn’t stop you from cooking. I used to dread cooking, but once I converted to a vegan diet, I fell in love with it.
Start Googling vegan versions of your favorite foods: pancakes, buffalo chicken, omelettes, you name it. If it’s made with animal products, chances are good that someone revised the recipe for vegans. Yummly is a great resource since you can narrow your search options to vegan. You can also check out vegan cookbooks from your local library. Here are some of my favorite recipes:
- Breakfast Nachos via Post Punk Kitchen
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries via Lol, Let’s Cook
- Easy French Toast via Veggie on a Penny
- Smoky Roasted Cauliflower via Tori Avery
- Baked Kale Chips via AllRecipes
A note about protein: You’re not limited to tofu! Check out PETA’s Ultimate Guide to Vegan Protein and Supplements.
- Read ingredient lists carefully. Soon, reading food labels will become second nature. Some food items you might think are vegan (like bread and chips) can sometimes be made with dairy, eggs, or other animal products. Yes, this also includes honey.
It helps to know which common grocery items are accidentally vegan, or products not created to be vegan but are. No matter how much you think you can eat clean, you’ll be tempted to eat junk food at some point. On their Accidentally Vegan Food List, PETA mentions Clif bars, Ritz crackers, and Lay’s barbecue-flavored potato chips, among other snacks. PETA also has a guide to Eating Vegan at Fast Food Chain restaurants.
- Inquire about vegan options. The next time you’re dining out or attending an event, ask if vegan options are available. If not, request one! More often than not, hosts want to make their guests happy—and many restaurants offer a separate vegetarian/vegan menu.
I attended a wedding in small-town South Dakota earlier this year, and was the only meatless (let alone vegan) guest. However, the groom’s parents made sure my needs were met—and exceeded my expectations with coconut ice cream for dessert! I’m relieved I spoke up because it turned out to be a great experience.
- Tell your friends! Spread the word of veganism through word of mouth. Explain your motivation behind your decision to go vegan. Start sharing photos of your vegan meals on social media using hashtags like #vegan, #whatveganseat, and (on Instagram) #vegansofig.
You might end up making new vegan friends or even helping your friends try out a vegan diet, too!
Have you tried a vegan diet before? Did you use any of the steps above? Do you have any other tips for converting to a vegan diet?
Danielle Corcione is a freelance writer. They founded the blog,
the Millennial Freelancer. To learn more about their work, visit their website.
Any third-party resources or websites referenced above are not under Society of Grownups control. Society of Grownups cannot guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of the resources, websites, or any products or services available through such resources or websites.