One Little Happy Thing

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Tag: vegan

5 little steps towards becoming vegan

Veganism seems to be growing in popularity at the moment. However vegans still seem to get a bad press, and honestly I can understand why. I’ve recently had to leave a Facebook group I was in purely because of the obnoxious attitudes of some of the members. But thankfully we’re not all like that.

I have only been vegan for a few months. My partner was vegan, and he slowly converted me. Through education, guidance and being kind. And I honestly think that is the best way to introduce people to veganism.

Now, if you’re reading this, we can assume you already have an interest in becoming vegan, but perhaps don’t really know where to start. Don’t fret! We have all been there. It’s a journey. A journey which is really worth taking. You will only know how worth it once you’ve already started.

However if you’re reading this and may need some convincing, I implore you to watch What the Health. It’s available on Netflix, and I think it is also on YouTube. Treat yourself and watch it. It is the most eye-opening documentary I’ve watched in a long time. I’ve heard some of the science behind it may be a little bit iffy, but it is still worth watching to see the other things they talk about.

For those of you who are ready to start your journey I am more than happy to hold your hand through it. Just leave me a comment, or you can find me over on Instagram @onelittlehappything.

5 steps towards becoming vegan

Step 1 – Swap milks

This is the easiest step. The availability of dairy free milk alternatives has shot through the roof in recent times. All of the major supermarkets in the UK now stock their own brand versions, I’ve even seen soya milk available in small newsagents.

Not only are they available, but they also taste pretty good. You may need to play around with it a bit, but there are tonnes out there. Soya, rice, coconut, cashew, almond: all different kinds of milks.

My personal favourite is the Waitrose own brand unsweetened soya milk, because I think it tastes the most like dairy milk, and also behaves the most like dairy milk. I’ve also heard a lot of people say they swear by the Oatley Barista milk.

Dependent on how much milk you use it can also work out slightly cheaper. My partner and I use 1 box of the Waitrose soya milk, which is about 60p. If we were to buy cows milk we’d be looking at about £1.50. It’s only a small saving but it all adds up!

Step 2 – Find a meat and cheese replacement you enjoy

Before I became vegan I was a massive meat eater. I ate meat with every meal. So cutting it out entirely was difficult. To begin with I still allowed myself to eat meat once a week, but after a few weeks I could see that wasn’t enough: it was time to cut it out for good.

Going cold turkey (excuse the pun) was hard. The only way I managed was by finding decent substitutes which soothed my animal product cravings.

I found my favourite sausages are the Linda McCartney ones. And my favourite cheese is Violife. Luckily these were readily available at most of my local supermarkets. And again, a lot of the larger supermarket chains are making their own vegan friendly meat substitutes.
Cheese substitutes can be a little harder. A lot of people say they taste like vomit, but I quite like them. If you find yourself struggling to find a substitute that works, considering making your own! There are a million recipes out there. Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to vegan recipes.

Step 3 – Learn how to read ingredients

This one sounds a bit patronizing, but honestly I didn’t realise how little I knew about what I was eating before turning vegan. In the UK any potential allergens are highlighted in bold. This includes milk, eggs etc. So it can be easy to quickly skim the ingredients list and if none of these are listed you’ll think you’re okay.

But not necessarily. Sneaky un-vegan ingredients come in the form of honey, E numbers and undescriptive additives. A good resource for learning about these is just here.

I find it handy to keep a list on my phone of any that I know are non-vegan. And you will need to get used to googling pretty much everything for a little while.

Step 4 – Find vegan friendly toiletries

Oh no, veganism isn’t just about food! A lot of every day toiletries and household products either contain animal products or are tested on animals. In the UK some companies actually label their products either vegan or cruelty free. But remember, cruelty free doesn’t necessarily mean vegan.

The Vegan Society has tonnes of resources for when it comes to knowing what it, and what isn’t vegan. Or if you’re not sure generally a quick google search brings it up. And if that still doesn’t work, you’ve got to make a decision as to whether try it anyway, or give it a miss.

Step 5 – Make some vegan friends

Now, I know I started this article by saying how I left one vegan Facebook group due to the members, but in other places I’ve spoken to some awesome people.

Search for your local vegan group on Facebook as generally they do arrange meet ups for local vegans. Consider it a good way of meeting some likeminded people near to you. They can also provide support if you have a weak day.

Instagram is also a fantastic resource for vegans. There are so many vegans on Instagram I can’t believe it. Try searching under #vegan #veganuk #veganfoodshare and #crueltyfree. You will find millions of people, honest.


Hopefully this article has given you some ideas on how you can take some baby steps towards becoming vegan. Honestly, the first month or so is hard because you will probably still crave animal products. But after a while your taste buds genuinely do change.

A few weeks back I ate some cheese. I had a weak moment. And honestly it was gross. It only reassured me that the decision I’ve made is the best decision for me. You will have moments like this, but stay strong.

If you do feel like you’re struggling, come find me on Instagram @onelittlehappything. I’m pretty nice, I’ll try and help how I can.

You may also be interested in checking out my Etsy shop where I have some prints dedicated to my love of the vegan lifestyle. Check it out!

Vegan. For the animals. For the planet. For me.

Plant powered

Animals are friends not good okay?

If you still need some convincing, check out one of my earlier blog posts How going vegan will make you happier

How going vegan will make you happier.

First things first, I am not 100% vegan. My sister doesn’t quite understand the concept, and so when I visit her house for dinner or go out for a meal I sometimes won’t stick to it. But for the rest of the time I do actively try to stick to a vegan diet.

This all began about a year ago when my partner did turn 100% certified vegan. In the past he’d eaten a lot of meat and dairy and they made him sick. So he made a change, a really really positive change. And he lost a lot of weight, made himself a lot happier and a lot healthier along the way.

Anybody cohabiting with a partner know’s how difficult it can be to cater to 2 different lifestyles, so I adapted and changed my diet too. And I can honestly say it was the best thing we’ve ever done as a couple.

To begin with it was difficult. Like a lot of people I assumed vegans only ate salads and chickpeas. We do eat a lot of salad and chickpea’s, but there is a lot of readily available food out there which just so happens to be vegan friendly.

I did a lot of research into veganism, and as time has gone on I’ve become more passionate about it. My partner and I are both eco-minded and try to do our best for the world, and this naturally seems like a really good step towards reducing our carbon footprints.

But most of all, we’re happier people for it.

How going vegan will make you happier


 

We are excited about cooking.

Something about researching and finding alternative recipes to commonly eaten meat or dairy based foods is really exciting. It’s almost like science. My favourite revelation is aquafaba (aka the water from tins of chickpeas). It’s like miracle juice. You can use it instead of eggs, making mousses and meringues and everything in between.

There is also the experimentation too. Making your own burgers and sausages, and figuring out how to bring that satisfying meaty texture and taste to every meal. I’ve learnt about umami, and probably shout it at least 5 times per meal.

Umami is the savoury taste which comes along with a lot of meat based meals. It makes you go yum. Marmite and soy sauce are good sources of vegan umami. So everything I cook gets a good dash of both, just for good measure.

Our diet is more varied.

When you’re not relying on meat for protein and dairy for calcium you are forced into thinking outside of the box. Chickpeas, soya and seitan are brilliant sources of protein. And it helps that they are all really versatile and changeable ingredients to use.

We also make sure to eat more colours. Even if you don’t know anything about diet or health, you know that the more colours you eat the better your diet will be. Before all this my diet was ashamedly beige, but now it is colourful. Opening our fridge and seeing every colour of the rainbow makes me happy.

Our stomachs feel better.

Both of us suffer with IBS. For many years I felt so poorly every single day that I could barely function as a human being. For my partner it was the meat, for me it is the dairy. But now without either our tummies are thanking us every day.

I would highly recommend looking into a vegan based diet if you suffer with IBS too. Dairy especially is a trigger for so many people. And you don’t need dairy cheese or eggs or anything like that. Violife dairy free cheese is amazing, and so is tofu instead of scrambled eggs.

The desserts are yummier.

Bit of a controversial statement there. But I’d pick a vegan dessert over any other kind of dessert every day of the week. There is something about knowing your dessert isn’t laden with fat that makes every morsel taste just that bit better.

I’m also really partial to dates and nuts, and a lot of vegan desserts rely heavily on both. Who knew you could make a cheesecake by whizzing together some cashews and soya milk?

A few months ago I made some vegan friendly biscuit truffles for a buffet at work, and I got asked for the recipe from 5 people. 2 vegan, 3 omnivores. If that isn’t an achievement I don’t know what is.

There is a sense of community among vegans and vegan supporters.

Veganism has a bad press. Think in your head what you imagine a typical vegan to look like; shaggy hair, hairy armpits, a t-shirt proudly stating their veganism. There is also the idea that it is some sort of elitist cult and you have to be super hardcore to be able to join.

This is all wrong. The vegans I know are normal people, and wouldn’t dream of trying to force their beliefs down any throats. They just want to enjoy their food minus anything made from animals or animal products. Obviously some play right into that stereotype but I’d say they’re few and far between.

Our shopping bills are minuscule.

Our diet relies heavily on carbs like pasta and rice, which we pair with veggies and beans, using passata and soy sauce as the base for our sauces. We also are quite partial to vegan friendly sausages. All of these items are fairly cheap, especially when you consider how much meat now costs.

I would say the dairy products, like cheese, are fairly expensive. But it is completely balanced out by how cheap everything else we buy is. Plus we only buy the branded cheeses because I’ve been left disappointed in the past by supermarket own brands. I should probably put them to the test again though.

I’d highly recommend to anybody reading this who is interested in self improvement and their own well being to bring a touch of veganism to their life. This could be one meal a week, or you could be like me and stick to it most of the time with the occasional relax for meals out. Give it a try, you literally have nothing to lose.


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