Veganism is a view of life, which aims to exclude the exploitation of animals as far as practically possible. This includes animals in entertainment, animals used in animal experiments, animals whose skin or fur is used in clothing and furniture etc. The vegan diet consists solely of plant based foods and excludes both meat (including fish and chicken) and other animal foods such as dairy products, eggs and honey. In this site I only write about plant-based food and refrain from exploiting animals.
There may be many reasons for going vegan. You might want to help save the climate with greener food choices, maybe you want to eat better food for the body or you may just dislike the idea that animals are being bred in terrible conditions in industries to be food. Whether it's one of those reasons, a combination or any other reason, you are awesome. I want to give you some practical tips:
Go in your own pace
Some go vegan overnight and for some it takes years to transition (like me), in any way, you are awesome for walking this path. My best tip is to take it step by step by removing one animal product at a time. Mabye you just start with changing the milk in your coffee to a vegan option or you start like me by removing red meat and chicken, then fish, eggs and finally diary. Which way you go, you are awesome, keep going.
In the beginning, it may be difficult to stop eating foods that you have grown up with. Cheese, or other animal products that you want to replace with vegan versions, may not taste like you expect them to taste. One tip is to eat the vegan product without expecting it to taste like the animal. Many vegan cheeses are amazingly good but perhaps not in the same way as animal cheeses, although they are similar in taste and texture.
Fika and vegan desserts
Fika and vegan desserts is much easier to replace than pure substitutes. You've probably already tasted lots of vegan buns and chocolate balls without you knowing about it! Eggs, milk and butter are easy to replace in most cases. Check my vegan replacement guide or my dessert recipes.
Being invited to dinner can be a pain. Please tell the host in advance that you eat vegan and offer to bring something that you can prepare yourself. You can also do like I often do, bring a sweet dessert to show that it is possible to eat both good and animal-friendly. Have patience with your loved ones if they think the change is tough, they will get used to and learn in due time. :) Tell them why you are going this path and encourage them to do the same.
Most restaurants have something vegan nowadays, but if not, ask the chef to prepare something vegan for you (just remind them no meat (including fish and chicken), dairy products, eggs or honey).
Raising vegan kids
Kids can also thrive on a vegan diet, but visit a dietician to make sure that they get everything they need in the diet.
Supplements You Need on a Vegan Diet
Me and the kids eat a vegan multivitamin and algae oil every day.
Vegans needs to consume B12-fortified foods or take a vitamin B12 supplement. Foods often said as rich in vitamin B12 include unwashed organic produce, mushrooms grown in B12-rich soils, nori, spirulina, chlorella and nutritional yeast. B12-fortified foods commonly include plant milks, soy products, breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast.
Vitamin D can be made from sun exposure and diet. The best way to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D is to have your blood levels tested. I you don’t get enough from fortified foods and sunshine you can eat a vegan vitamin D3 supplement.
Vegans can reach the recommended Omega 3 intake through an algae oil supplement.
Vegans with a low iron intake should aim to eat more iron-rich foods, such as cruciferous vegetables, beans, peas, dried fruit, nuts and seeds. Iron-fortified foods, such as cereals, enriched breads and some plant milks, can further help. Use cast-iron pots and pans to cook, avoiding tea or coffee with meals and combining iron-rich foods with a source of vitamin C can help boost iron absorption. The best way to determine whether supplements are necessary is to get your hemoglobin and ferritin levels checked.
Plant sources of calcium include bok choy, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, watercress, broccoli, chickpeas, calcium-set tofu and fortified plant milks or juices.
To maximise your intake of zink, eat a variety of zinc-rich foods throughout the day. These include whole grains, wheat germ, tofu, sprouted breads, legumes, nuts and seeds. Soaking nuts, seeds and legumes overnight, eating enough protein and consuming fermented foods such as tempeh and miso can also boost absorption.