What to Expect when Going Vegan
For the majority of converts, becoming vegan is not the easiest of tasks. Perhaps it's because unlike many other diets, veganism extends far beyond the relatively known compounds of the kitchen and becomes much more of a lifestyle than a diet.
Like any change to routine, it is tough at first and not everyone is going to share your passion for your new lifestyle. Get ready for an extensive interview (we mean casual questions) from family and friends, spending a good extra half hour in the aisles of your local supermarket and colleagues testing your knowledge on the pros and cons of veganism.
Following not just a new diet, but a new lifestyle, is no easy feat and so, we have come up with a (very, very, very long) go-to-guide of what to expect when becoming vegan.
1 - The Questions
First thing first, before you even venture into your kitchen, attempt to ditch the dairy or throw half of your makeup away, your family are going to ask questions...lots and lots of questions!
It is important to remember that the majority of questions come from the simple lack of knowledge on the subject of veganism and are born from the curiosity of why people choose to do it. Not everyone is on social media to see the content that vegan groups post or has the time to do real in-depth research into veganism.
Why Are You Going Vegan?
When changing your diet or lifestyle, it is important to fully understand the ins and outs, simply so that you can make a fair and educated choice on what would work best for you. Although information is readily available online, it's really only when you want to become vegan or work in the industry, that it becomes clear just how many products contain animal-derived ingredients.
However, the one thing that we have noticed is the vast amounts of knowledge that any vegan will pull out of the hat when discussing their diet, and they do so with such passion, confidence and enthusiasm and so, to prepare you for the questions that await, we have consulted the go-to vegan bible: Veganuary, to check out the reasons why so many people are choosing to follow the lifestyle:
From doing your research, it becomes clear how the meat, dairy and other industries that use animal products tend to focus on the needs of the consumer and less on the issue of environmental concern and animal welfare. This is an issue for many, not only because of the effect it has on the animal's physical and mental welfare but also because of the fact that neither animals or land are infinite resources. Numbers of species and areas of land are, in fact, depleting as modern consumerism grows.
Animal welfare is one of the most popular reasons for people turning to a vegan lifestyle. A lot of vegans have started on their journey as a vegetarian and have delved a little deeper into the industry to discover information that makes them want to stop using animal products completely.
Unlike us humans, animals cannot communicate their feelings through speech, this doesn't mean, however, that they can't experience the same physical or emotional feelings that we do. It is because of this inability to convey exactly what they want, or don't want, that vegans refuse to use animals in any way, shape or form. This could be everything from using them for their milk to using them for entertainment purposes at the zoo or circus.
Another core part of animal welfare is that the very existent of creatures is at threat due to consumerism. Overfishing, for example, is a real issue that affects the greater food chain. Veganuary states:
"Three-quarters of fish stocks are overexploited in the European Union; the number of cod, plaice and sole have declined by 32 per cent in EU fisheries since 1993; and 63 per cent of the assessed ‘stocks’ in the Atlantic, 82 per cent in the Mediterranean and 66 per cent in the Baltic are overfished"
These are worrying figures that present the stark realisation that nature simply cannot keep up with the demands of consumers at the current rate and the effects of this could potentially wipe out species altogether.
With more and more people becoming conscious of their diet and aware of the origins of their food, it is little wonder why health is the second biggest reason that people turn vegan.
One of the biggest killer diseases in the Western world is heart disease, which raised cholesterol levels to contribute towards. However, research has shown that cholesterol levels are lower in vegans. When former President Bill Clinton came out of emergency heart surgery, he began leading a vegan lifestyle and stated:
"I feel good, and I also have, believe it or not, more energy.”
With so many items off the menu, it is not difficult to see why vegans tend to eat a lot healthier than regular dieters. Most are forced away from the unhealthy foods, mainly due to the fact that they contain animal byproducts, and instead, tend to choose natural whole foods and plant-based foods.
This change alone would result in people becoming healthier, simply because they would be eating a lot better than before.
Protecting the environment
Lately, we have noticed a huge shift in customer's views towards the environment, many of our customers want products that are zero-waste or come in recyclable or compostable packaging. This signifies how people are becoming aware of how their actions, as consumers, can contribute towards the effect on the environment.
Although we have known that the environment has been suffering for many years, it is only in recent months that we have noticed a huge change from consumers. People don't see recycling as a chore anymore, neither do they see the plastic bag charge as an unnecessary burden. It's forcing people to change their mindset for the better and think before they get yet another plastic bag.
But how does being vegan help the environment?
One of the main reasons is that it cuts down Greenhouse Gas emissions. It is estimated that farm animals and their byproducts contribute to 51% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
The whole process of farming animals takes a huge amount of energy, from raising the animals on a farm, slaughtering them, transporting the meat and byproducts then eventually to being held in refrigerators in supermarkets and homes.
It also helps to protect wildlife. Farming animals contributes towards a huge percentage of the planet's agricultural spaces. With a growing population, meaning more mouths to feed, forests around the world are at risk of being lost to make space for farms.
2 - The Newbie Vegan Diet
Changing your diet is tough, both your mind and your body is used to your current diet, so it is safe to say that you are going to feel a lot different in the first few weeks of trying something new.
Soulfully, we're all for going gung-ho with life, but take it from us, by eliminating things abruptly, your body will act abruptly. This is not a good feeling. You will start to feel sick, tired and worn down. The success of your new vegan lifestyle will hang in the balance, so it is much better to go gradually. Remember, it's not a race, it's a change in lifestyle.
The most difficult things to let go of are meat and dairy products, the core part of a regular diet. There are vegan alternatives but it will be a difficult adjustment at first. We know, from experience, that it can be difficult to know exactly what food to eat at the beginning and so we are giving you a few tips and recipe tricks...
Breakfast is most often associated with dairy products, whether it is cereal covered in milk or a full English breakfast, it is clear that these are not suitable for the vegan palette. Here are a few suggestions to make breakfasts even better than they were before, goodbye cereal bowl...hello exciting new recipe ideas!
Vegans - meet your new go-to tofu, a versatile bean curd that is created from curdling soy milk then pressing it together in small blocks. When seasoned and scrambled, it is a great alternative to scrambled eggs.
If you are looking for any other egg alternatives, try the No Egg Egg Replacer from Orgran.
This is our Assistant Manager's ingredient list for an amazingly-tasty Scrambled Tofu - simple but super tasty.
Vegan Chocolate Spread on Toast
So, this breakfast may not be one for every day but there is no harm in occasionally spoiling ourselves on weekends! This delicious La Vida Pure Hazelnut Spread is probably one of the best that you'll have ever tasted - even as a non-vegan.
Pancakes are not just for Pancake Tuesday! These buckwheat pancakes are really delicious and a healthier alternative to the regular floured ones. We recommend using our Doves Farm Buckwheat Flour which is vegan and free from milk, peanuts, egg and soya.
For the less adventurous, there is always the option to use a plant-based milk alternative with a vegan cereal. Many kinds of cereal are fortified with Vitamin B12, which may come from an animal, so always check that your cereals are vegan.
Plant-based milks are made from plants, oats and other natural sources. Some of the most popular flavours include almond, coconut and oat milk. We stock a great range of plant-based milks both in our LIV store and online, check out Oatly and Alpro!
Going Out for Breakfast
If you are looking for the most delicious vegan breakfasts in Liverpool, look no further than at our Liverpool store, LIV Organic & Natural Food Market. Our kitchen team creates the most delicious vegan breakfast options, including the much-loved Vegan Full English. Take a look at our top three picks here:
Vegan Full English
Avocado on Toast
In our experience, lunch is probably one of the easiest meals to adapt to as a vegan, after all, lunch is all about salads and healthy, filling options. However, it can still be a drastic change from the tuna mayonnaise sandwich.
Beet Hummus & Salad Sandwich
Beet Hummus is probably one of the most delicious and Instagramable foods out there, with its rich reddy-pink colour
Hummus is a good source of protein, which helps you to feel full, so this sandwich is a great lunchtime option, especially for busy on-the-go workers.
Ratatouille is a traditional French dish that captures the soul of peasants who made a recipe out of very few ingredients. The three key ingredients are usually Aubergine, Courgette, and Tomatoes, however, this can change depending on personal preference.
Made with a tomato-based sauce and topped with fresh herbs and garlic, it may not look filling but it certainly is!
Shop Fresh Organic Vegetables at LIV
Quinoa "Meatball" Buddha Bowl Salad
In the last year, our Instagram feed has been filled with images of Buddha Bowls, a popular lunch option for the super healthy and Instagram-obsessed. It certainly looks a lot of effort for a quick lunchtime treat however, it is relatively quick to make and affordable.
In this lunchtime inspiration, you can easily create vegan options including these Quinoa "Meatballs". Quinoa will provide you with a great energy boost as it boasts double the amount of protein than rice or barley.
Smoked Tofu Padthai
Padthai is one of our favourite types of dishes, deliciously rich in oriental taste and savour, filled with vegetables and topped with crushed nuts - yummy! This is one super healthy AND super tasty lunch.
Going out for Lunch
If you are looking for a vegan lunch in Liverpool, then call into our amazing retail store, LIV Organic & Natural Food Market. Our kitchen team make all of our dishes using ingredients at LIV, beautifully fresh and organic dishes.
Brussel Sprouts with Peanuts and Garlic Chilli Oil
Crunchy Asian Salad
For regular dieters, dinner is a time when vegetables are combined with meat or fish. So, for the new vegan, this can be the most difficult meal of the day to adapt to - especially when the rest of the family are all eating the same meal.
We predict that 2018 is going to be a huge year for mushrooms, which is evident in retail trends that we are seeing all the time behind the scenes at LIV. They are extremely healthy, especially Reishi Mushrooms!
For a filling vegan dinner, create your own Mushroom Risotto, flavoured with onion and spring onion.
When going vegan, especially when you're a student, one of the greatest sacrifices is pizza. Because everyone loves a bit of pizza at some point in the week.
Traditionally topped with cheese, tomatoes and various kinds of meats, it does take a creative mind to swap key ingredients for equally-as-tasty-vegan-friendly ingredients.
However, a pesto base with olive and tomato topping can make for a delicious combo.
Falafel Balls & Hummus Salad
Falafel is hugely popular among vegans and can find its roots in Middle Eastern street food. Created from ground chickpeas, falafel has a very earthy taste and when seasoned with herbs and onion, it really brings the best flavours out.
Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa & Soy
We love making stuffed peppers - especially when paired with homemade roast potato medallions, which are a healthier alternative to chips.
You can fill the peppers which pretty much whatever you want, however, some of our favourite options are quinoa, couscous, and lentils.
3 - Supplements, Supplements, Supplements
Having eliminated a few of the main sources of vitamins and minerals from your diet, it is essential that you ensure that your levels are kept at a healthy point, ensuring that your body functions in the correct way.
One of the most important vitamins that vegans tend to lack in is Vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that helps to protect the nervous system. Without getting enough of this vitamin, people start to develop symptoms of a deficiency that include a pale yellow tint to the skin, mouth ulcers and even feelings of depression.
With any diet that eliminates certain types of foods, it is essential to know exactly what vitamins and minerals you will begin to lack through diet. We would always suggest consulting a doctor and a nutritionist to get the right advice for you. Although doing research on the internet can provide you with general knowledge on the subject, people can react differently and there may be a history of health issues which the change in diet could affect.
As the organic and health movement has grown, fantastic brands have been created that provide vegan-friendly supplements that are backed by nutritionists.
Garden of Life
Garden of Life is one of our most popular ranges of supplements, mostly due to the fact that it boasts a range of certifications:
- Certified Vegan
- Certified Organic
- Certified Gluten Free
- Certified B-Corp
The range was created by using whole foods, the exact same ingredients that you would find at your green-grocer, supermarket or even LIV. What makes this range so special is the fact that each ingredient in every product can be traced back to its farm.
Viridian is a brand that was created here in England, Northamptonshire to be exact. The owner is a lady called Cheryl Thallon, who, after having an impressive career in the natural products industry, started Viridian in 1999.
One of the reasons that we love Viridian so much is that the company shares our same passion for helping others. They have an ethical commitment to charities, nutrition and the environment.
Vegans can get a great range of supplements, vitamins and oils from Viridian including a High-Potency Vitamin B12 supplement.
4 - The Newbie Vegan Beauty Regime
It may come as a surprise to the new vegan that their much-loved makeup collection has to vacate the cozy compounds of their small-but-powerful makeup bag.
Imagine unzipping your bag to discover fish scales, insect blood, and bat droppings in there...they may sound anything but beautifying, but they are some of the most common ingredients found in beauty products. Check out the following information that we found on One Green Planet.
Cochineal Dye - Most commonly found in red lipsticks and blushers, cochineal dye is made by crushing the bodies of female Cochineal Beetles.
Guanine - Often discovered in iridescent makeup products, guanine is an ingredient that comes from fish scales.
Squalene - Squalene is extracted from the liver of sharks and is mostly used in lipsticks and eye makeup.
Estrogen - The scent of perfumes may never smell as beautiful again. Estrogen is extracted from the urine of pregnant horses and is often found in perfumes.
Collagen - Collagen is found is so many beauty products, particularly in anti-aging products, although it has no proven effect on a person's collagen production. Derived from animal tissue.
At our Liverpool store, LIV Organic & Natural Food Market, we stock a great range of vegan beauty products including makeup, skincare, nail polish and even bath bombs!
One of our favourite brands that we stock as LIV is Pacifica, a 100% vegan cosmetic and skincare range.
Start by using Pacifica Kale Detox, a deep cleansing face wash that is especially good for problematic skin. Made with coconut water, clay and some powerhouse super greens for a true clean cleanse.
Create an illuminating base with a sheer skin multi-mineral BB cream, made from floral plant cells. The mineralised pigments adjust to your skin tone, create a flawless and dewy finish - the perfect base for a natural golden glow.
Highlighting is one of the biggest trends in beauty, with the unicorn and mermaid trend accentuating the need to be glowing from head-to-toe.
When you know it's difficult to create a red colour in vegan cosmetics, it's hard to not be wowed when you see this beautiful Rebel Sol colour to tint lips.
Anything that has a unicorn on is always on our shopping list. This mascara is a lash extending 7-in-1 mascara that not only makes them longer but also thicker, darker and softer lashes.