If you want to go vegan, you don’t have to figure everything out by yourself. This guide covers every facet of what it takes to enjoyably transition to a vegan diet. By the time you finish reading, you’ll know exactly how to move forward.
Go Vegan by Crowding, Not Cutting
Let’s begin with the single most helpful piece of advice for new vegans. If you learn nothing else from this guide, remember this: try to rid your diet of non-vegan foods by crowding, not cutting.
Many people think going vegan requires willpower and struggle. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Don’t seek to cut animal products out of your diet. Instead, crowd them out. Your main task involves constantly seeking out new vegan foods. As you discover one delicious vegan food after another, this influx will crowd the non-vegan foods out of your diet. The more vegan foods you sample, the quicker you’ll move toward eating a primarily vegan diet.
So cultivate the habit of trying new foods at every opportunity. Even a little effort delivers a huge payoff. Sampling just five new vegan foods each week will enable you to discover a steady stream of foods you love. Week by week, these items will increasingly crowd out whatever animal products remain in your diet.
Discover the Endless Assortment of Incredible Vegan Foods
Does going vegan require spending loads of time in the kitchen? Absolutely not. You can choose from an amazing assortment of instant and near-instant vegan options. Our list of easy vegan foods includes dozens of delicious items you’ll want to try. Once you’ve reviewed that list, check out some of these links:
- Vegan Eating—an Introduction to the Best Cooking, Dining, and Shopping Options
- Vegan Cooking Guide
- Vegan-Friendly Cuisines
- Grocery Items
- Vegan Foods—Our Ultimate Roundup
- Vegan Alternatives to Meat, Dairy, and Egg-Based foods
The above pages will give you hundreds of fantastic vegan food ideas.
How Fast Should You Go?
The speed at which you move towards a vegan diet depends primarily on the rate you sample new foods. The more new foods you try each week, the quicker you will progress. You certainly don’t need to go vegan all at once. While some people do it overnight, others ease into a vegan diet over months or years. How fast you go doesn’t matter nearly as much as whether the approach you take feels easy and comfortable.
Use whatever stepping-stones work for you. And at every turn, seek out healthy and delicious foods that you will enjoy eating every day. Let’s now look at strategies to rapidly bring more vegan foods into your life.
Some people feel intimidated by the idea of going 100 percent vegan right away. If a total commitment seems too much for you right now, no problem. A wide assortment of smaller commitments exist that still accomplish a great deal of good.
Vegan Before Six
One of America’s most influential food writers, Mark Bittman, has long followed a “Vegan Before 6:00,” approach. He eats a totally vegan diet from morning through afternoon. Then, starting at dinner, and for the rest of the evening, he eats anything he wants—sometimes vegan foods, and sometimes non-vegetarian foods.
The Vegan Before 6:00 approach offers perhaps the easiest way to become mostly vegan. To learn more, check out Bittman’s book on the topic.
Consider a Vegan Test-Drive
Perhaps you don’t feel ready to commit to going vegan for life. No worries—why not simply take a vegan diet for a three-week test-drive? In no time, you’ll gain a first-hand look at how a vegan diet really feels. The experience will put you in a fantastic position to evaluate how well a plant-based lifestyle works for you.
It only takes a few weeks to develop the habit of eating vegan food most of the time. By the time your test drive ends, you may well decide to turn your temporary vegan experiment into a lifetime commitment.
And never forget: a vegan lifestyle just keeps getting easier the longer you stick with it. As you continually discover new vegan foods, your assortment of exciting meal possibilities will increase massively.
Go Vegan In Your Kitchen
Halfway through my junior year of college, I moved into a cottage with its own kitchen. I decided to take advantage of the situation by resolving to never bring any non-vegan food into my house. Since I did 90 percent of my eating at home, this resolution instantly made me at least 90 percent vegan. Plus, this commitment gave me the perfect chance to improve my vegan cooking skills. I picked up a couple easy vegan cookbooks and I was off to the races.
In hindsight, going vegan in my kitchen became my biggest and easiest step toward a vegan diet. Now let me tell you about my second most valuable step.
Get Super Specific About Which Foods You’re Not Ready to Cut
When I began moving towards a vegan diet, at first I couldn’t imagine quitting dairy products. I had grown up eating these foods daily, and did not feel remotely prepared to go dairy-free. My thoughts on the topic amounted to:
I’m not yet ready to give up dairy products.
You won’t make it very far down the vegan path with such a broadly worded limitation. So I asked myself: did I like all dairy products equally? On any given day, I might drink milk, eat ice cream, or put a slice of cheese on a sandwich. How did I feel about these foods?
The truth was I never liked the taste of milk. On the other hand, I was fond of ice cream but hardly ever craved it. So I’d have an easy time ditching milk, while getting rid of ice cream would only pose a minor challenge. But the idea of quitting cheese was another thing entirely. I adored cheese. Realizing this, it made sense to reword my limitation as:
I’m not yet ready to give up cheese.
With that, I’d made some real headway! What a difference between being unready to give up all dairy products, and simply being unready to give up cheese.
How to Keep Whittling Away at the Non-Vegan Foods in Your Life
In the above exercise, just a few minutes thinking about which foods I truly enjoyed convinced me I was ready to give up all dairy products except cheese.
But I wanted to go even further. So I next asked myself: “Well, do I love all cheese equally?”
A great question with an easy answer: absolutely not. I loved mozzarella cheese on pizzas. I considered Swiss cheese OK on sandwiches. Everybody knows Kraft American cheese slices suck. And fancy French cheeses never appealed to me. With all this in mind, I decided that I could cheerfully give up all cheese except when I ate pizza.
Upon making that decision, my previous limitation surrounding cheese became highly specific:
I’m not yet ready to give up cheese pizzas.
You can see what a long way I’d gone from being unready to give up dairy products, to being merely unready to give up cheese pizzas. But I wasn’t done yet.
Have You Gotten as Specific as Possible?
I next thought about the cheese pizzas I could get locally (I was living in Santa Cruz, California.) In my town, I could get Round Table pizza, which I liked very much. I could also, I suppose, get pizza from Domino’s—which never rose above mediocre. Or, I could visit Pizza-My-Heart, which was a locally-owned pizzeria that baked the most delicious pizza I’d ever eaten. I decided that I could happily give up Domino’s and Round Table pizza as long as I could still enjoy the occasional slice of cheese pizza at Pizza-My-Heart. So my limitation was once again narrowed:
I am not yet ready to give up cheese pizza from Pizza-My-Heart.
As the months went by, having that occasional slice of cheese pizza seemed less and less special. I was discovering all sorts of vegan foods that tasted every bit as wonderful as the cheese pizzas at Pizza-My-Heart. In short order, I decided I no longer wanted to eat cheese pizza—and this decision was so effortless as to be anticlimactic.
Thanks to my setting clear and narrowly defined limits during my transition to a vegan diet, dairy products did not conquer me; I conquered dairy products. I hope my pizza story shows how helpful it is to put your limitations in writing, and to spend time getting them as clear and narrow as possible.
A happy postscript to this story is that 30 years later, Pizza-My-Heart finally got around to offering excellent vegan cheese on their pies. So now I’m back to eating one of my very favorite foods whenever I visit Santa Cruz.
Vegan Books & Cookbooks
Nothing about going vegan poses overwhelming hardships. A lasting transition, does, however, require changing the way you shop, cook, and dine out. You should also read up on nutrition. The remainder of this article offers helpful coverage on all these topics. If you want even more advice and encouragement, see Kristy Turner’s But I Could Never Go Vegan! In addition to offering thorough introductory coverage, Turner’s book features 125 beginner-friendly recipes accompanied by loads of gorgeous food photos.
Any good vegan-related book will increase your motivation to rid animal products from your diet. Unfortunately, in the vegan world, unreliable books far outnumber dependably accurate titles. Never assume that a book’s footnotes properly support its assertions. Likewise, don’t blindly trust a book simply because its author has a medical degree. As with every other sort of diet, the vegan world includes a number of doctors who bend the facts to suit their biases.
Thanks to unreliable books, too many new vegans go from uninformed to misinformed—a step backward in the guise of a step forward! Not only do new vegans end up indoctrinated with bogus information, they often repeat these claims to others at every turn.
So if you want to read up on veganism, please take care to select only trustworthy books. I feature only the most credible and reliable titles on our vegan books page.
Shopping for Vegan Cookbooks
Cookbooks likewise offer a valuable resource for new vegans. They let you explore whichever varieties of cooking most attract you. Vegan cookbooks cover every conceivable niche: Mexican food, breads, Instant Pot meals, desserts, and so forth.
Unfortunately, for every outstanding title, you will encounter a dozen second-rate ones. Not so many years ago, the substantial setup and print-run costs involved in printing a book made it too risky to publish mediocre titles. The rise of low-cost “print-on-demand” technology took most of the financial risk out of book publishing—if a book failed to sell, the publisher wouldn’t lose much money.
While print-on-demand changed publishing positively in many respects, it dramatically lowered the quality of the average vegan cookbook. Publishers flooded the vegan cookbook market with hundreds of hastily-produced cookbooks. These titles often include untested recipes and little or no food photography.
Please don’t waste your time and money on these inferior offerings. Our vegan cookbooks page features only the most impressive selections. There you will find a comprehensive, frequently-updated list dominated by recent titles crammed with gorgeous food photography.
A few carefully chosen books and cookbooks can make your transition to a vegan diet vastly more enjoyable. Numerous spectacular titles exist in a sea of mediocrity, so you should go out of your way to choose only the very best vegan cookbooks.
Recommended Vegan Cookbooks
Choose your first cookbook wisely. Avoid titles that primarily feature fussy-time consuming recipes. Instead, you want a diverse selection of easy meals that take 30 minutes or less to prepare. See the “Easy Everyday Cookbooks” section of our vegan cookbooks page, or check out these selections:
- Effortless Vegan, by Sarah Nevins
- Plants Only Kitchen, by Gaz Oakley
- The 30-Day Vegan Meal Plan for Beginners, by Garza & Pitts
- Vegan Buddha Bowls, by Cara Carin Cifelli
You can’t go wrong with any of these selections. But if you can only pick one, which one should you pick? Use Amazon.com’s “Look Inside” section to see each title’s table of contents, and choose whichever cookbook features the recipes that appeal to you most.
Choosing a Second Cookbook
After you’ve purchased an easy cookbook, also consider picking up a comprehensive general-interest vegan cookbook—the bigger the better. That way, anytime you crave a classic dish, whether it’s pancakes or lasagna, you’ll have a solid recipe ready to go. When it comes to a big, beautiful reference cooking volume, you can’t do better than Oh She Glows for Dinner. Or, if you want something truly encyclopedic, featuring every popular recipe imaginable, get ahold of Robin Robertson’s 1,000 Vegan Recipes. I normally don’t recommend cookbooks that lack food photos, but here I’ll make an exception—if you want a cheap, expertly-written, single-volume collection featuring every recipe under the sun, 1,000 Vegan Recipes has no rival.
If you love to cook, by all means go deep into your favorite specialties. You can find vegan cookbooks devoted to every cuisine, including Italian, Indian, Thai, Mexican, and Ethiopian. Other exciting niche titles focus on Instant Pots, one-dish meals, whole-grain baking, and even homemade vegan cheese. Discover them all on our vegan cookbooks page.
A vegan diet can easily meet your body’s nutritional requirements. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics affirms that a properly planned vegan diet can satisfy nutritional needs at every stage of life. That includes childhood, old age, and pregnancy. Not only do millions of people thrive on a vegan diet, many of the world’s top athletes eat vegan.
That said, some vegans exhibit alarming lapses in their knowledge of nutrition. Worse yet, indiscriminate reading might compound the problem. For instance, several bestselling books in the vegan literature make assertions about B-12 that could easily lead to deficiency.
Easy Ways to Improve Your Diet
With so much bad advice finding its way into print, you need to stay vigilant. At all costs, make sure to obtain accurate nutrition guidance. Start by reading our Vegan Nutrition Guide, written by one of the world’s top experts on vegan nutrition. For a deeper dive into vegan nutrition, check out Jack Norris and Virginia Messina’s outstanding book, Vegan for Life.
Reliable nutrition resources like these will enable you to make dramatic improvements to your diet. The transition to a vegan diet can enable you to improve your overall nutrition in myriad ways. And right off the bat, you can replace the worst junk food in your present diet with much healthier options. Had I never decided to go vegan, I might never have stopped eating Hot Pockets, Cheetos, or Jimmy Dean breakfast sausages.
Eating plenty of vegetables and beans won’t guarantee you’ve met your nutrition needs. But these foods do contain more nutrients than almost any other food. Leafy greens in particular stand out as unbelievably nutritious, yet they contain remarkably few calories per serving. A handful of nuts or seeds each day will further boost your protein and mineral intake.
Do Vegans Need Supplements?
Since unfortified vegan foods do not contain Vitamin B-12, vegans and near-vegans must find a reliable source of this nutrient. Fortunately, you can cheaply cover your needs by taking an inexpensive high-dose sublingual B-12 tablet every two or three days.
B-12 deficiencies can have dire and potentially irreversible consequences, so please don’t take any chances with this crucial nutrient. An inexpensive B-12 supplement can satisfy your needs for an entire year for about $10.
Other nutrients deserving your attention include:
Check out our Vitamin and Supplements Guide for coverage of these nutrients.
Shopping for Vegan Groceries
By far the most important skill for new vegans to cultivate involves grocery shopping. If you keep your refrigerator and pantry loaded with delicious vegan foods, you’ll never find yourself hungry without anything appealing to eat.
So let’s now review the basics of vegan grocery shopping.
Supermarkets & Natural Food Stores
No matter where you live or travel, you’ll find a nearby supermarket carrying a wide variety of vegan foods. Commonly-stocked items include:
- Nuts & Seeds
- Vegan Milks
- Breakfast Cereal
- Pasta & Noodles
- Chips & Crackers
Plant-based eating grows more popular every year. In response, supermarkets increasingly carry an impressive range of natural foods offerings. If you have no other nearby options, your nearest supermarket carries plenty of affordable vegan foods. You will never go hungry.
That said, a good natural foods store provides much better options. Plus, you’ll probably save money, since supermarkets rarely put their natural foods items on sale.
Want a quick way to determine whether a natural foods store deserves your business? Just compare the size of its produce section to its vitamins section. You’ll know at a glance if the store’s primary intention involves selling healthful foods. If the store mainly seeks to profit from high-margin supplements, you can expect a mediocre selection of fruits and vegetables.
Shopping at Natural Food Stores
Natural food stores usually offer a far wider selection of vegan foods than do supermarkets. They also commonly feature a better produce department, filled with higher-quality fruits and vegetables.
The bulk section of your natural food store can save you a fortune. Staples like rice, beans, nuts, and breakfast cereal cost considerably less in bulk than when sold in retail packaging. An excellent bulk section will offer items you’d never expect—like coffee, seaweed, chocolate, and a wide assortment of spices.
Natural food store delis offer the easiest way to sample a wide assortment of ready-to-eat vegan items. You won’t find an easier way to sample a wide assortment of new vegan foods. If you find a deli item you especially like, try making it at home. These foods rarely involve much preparation, and cost very little to make from scratch.
Most natural food stores offer good deals on a variety of vegan foods. But you’ll pay quite a bit if you load up on convenience foods. Frozen vegan pizzas and TV dinners can cost triple the price of their non-vegan counterparts. So if you want to reduce your food costs, minimize your purchases of convenience foods. Instead, buy most of your foods from the bulk section and produce department.
One shopping habit has improved my nutrition immeasurably: when I about to enter the checkout line, I glance over the contents of my grocery cart. I want to see it loaded up with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, plus healthy items from the bulk department. If I’ve succumbed to too many convenient temptations, I wheel my cart back to the produce section to set things right.
Farmers’ Markets and CSAs
Even if your local natural food store features an excellent produce department, you may have an even better option. See if a farmers’ market takes place near you. And also look into whether any farms or orchards in your area participate in a CSA program. To obtain this information, just check the directories of farmers’ markets and CSAs published by LocalHarvest.org.
Farmers’ markets and CSAs offer the best way to source your food from nearby farms. You’ll dramatically reduce the fossil fuels used for transport, plus you’ll get much fresher food. Generally, farmers harvest the food brought to farmer’s markets the same morning they sell it.
You need not pay extra for the finest locally-grown food. Farmers’ markets and CSAs cut out the middleman, and minimize transport costs. The resultant cost savings often enable them to out-compete supermarkets on both price, despite offering immeasurably higher quality food. To learn more about supporting local agriculture, check out Chapter 13 of my Ultimate Vegan Guide.
Nearly all medium-sized and large cities contain a number of ethnic grocery stores. Asian markets typically sell cheaper and fresher tofu than anyplace else. They also carry a terrific assortment of mushrooms and shockingly inexpensive seaweed. Indian grocery stores deserve a visit just for their papadums and jarred pickle relishes. Nearly all sell remarkably inexpensive freshly-prepared samosas and pakora.
With luck, you may also live near a Trader Joe’s. This grocery chain rose to fame by selling all sorts of delicious hard-to-find specialty foods at rock-bottom prices. They even publish a regularly-updated list of their vegan items.
Buying Vegan Foods Online
If your community lacks a good natural foods store, don’t despair—Amazon.com can pick up the slack. The site offers countless vegan foods, from energy bars to silken tofu to nutritional yeast.
Amazon doesn’t carry every single grocery item of interest to vegans. But the site does offer excellent deals on many essentials. Our vegan grocery page lists Amazon’s best vegan food deals. Additionally, Amazon’s vitamin prices almost always beat local retailers.
Vegan Alternatives to Meat, Dairy Products, & Eggs
Suppose you want to go vegan, but you like the taste of meat, dairy products, or eggs.
Luckily, countless people before you have overcome this exact problem. Monks of a thousand years ago, quitting meat for spiritual reasons, turned to tofu, tempeh, and seitan—the low-tech meat replacements of their era. These delicious and versatile foods will fill you up just like meat, and they have comparable amounts of protein too. But they will never fool anybody.
But then, do you really need to fool anybody? Nobody will ever mistake broiled tempeh doused with barbecue sauce for spare ribs, but so what? You won’t find a more delicious or satisfying dish. Same goes for broiled or sautéed tofu, spiced and seasoned a hundred different ways.
When the 1960s counterculture induced the first modern wave of vegetarianism, people abandoning meat rediscovered the virtues of tofu, tempeh, and seitan. Vegetarians of that era also popularized nutritional yeast, a protein-rich food with a delicious cheesy flavor. If you like cheese, try sprinkling nutritional yeast over everything from popcorn to salads to spaghetti.
The New Generation of Vegan Alternatives
By the 1980s, no longer could anyone dismiss vegetarianism as a fad. Exploding demand inspired companies to develop alternatives for every major non-vegan food. Non-vegetarians started buying these products in massive amounts. This began a virtuous cycle, as growing sales funded increased R&D which in turn led to even tastier products.
Recently, thanks to ever-increasing demand for vegan meats, the world’s top meat producers and fast food companies alike have rushed into the market. JBS, Tyson, and Maple Leaf Foods have spent millions in an attempt to perfect vegan burgers and sausage. And both Burger King and White Castle now feature the Impossible Burger on their menus.
At groceries and restaurants alike, you’ll find an unprecedented assortment of vegan foods. Many of these products deliver spectacular flavors, never before found in vegan foods. Several of these offerings can fool even devout meat eaters. Every popular sort of non-vegan food now has a delicious vegan counterpart. For extensive coverage of these products, see our Alternatives page.
Vegan Cooking Basics
Vegan cooking offers innumerable delicious possibilities. Becoming a good vegan cook enables you to eat tastier and more nutritious food. After all, nobody knows your preferences better than you. So when you do your own cooking you can prepare food just the way you like it.
That includes making frequent use of your very favorite ingredients. For instance, if you love cashew butter, ginger, or red potatoes, you can find several recipes that feature these ingredients prominently. Or if you adore strong flavors like ginger, garlic, or onions, you can use these foods to your heart’s content.
The basics of vegan cooking take almost no time to learn. You don’t even need a vegan cookbook to get started—just read our vegan cooking guide. Some of the tastiest and healthiest vegan recipes require only minutes to prepare. Check out these incredibly versatile yet super quick classics:
You can make each of these foods in countless delicious variations. So even if you go no further exploring vegan cooking, these five dishes can provide for a diverse and healthful diet.
Outfit Your Kitchen
You can completely outfit your kitchen for surprisingly little money. Let’s run through the essential kitchenware items:
- Kitchen Knives
- Pots and Pans
- Can and Bottle Opener
- Salad Spinner
- Cutting Board
- Baking Sheets
- Measuring Cups & Spoons
- Mixing Bowls
- Vegetable Peeler
- Citrus Reamer
- Airtight Plastic Containers
With the exception of kitchen knives, which we’ll consider in the following section, you needn’t pay much for any of the above items. See our kitchenware guide for detailed buying advice.
Good Cooks Need Good Knives
Most kitchenware items cost surprisingly little. But no matter how tight your budget, never buy a cheap kitchen knife.
A high quality chef’s knife will make your cooking time far more pleasant. Consider your main kitchen knife a lifetime investment. Just take it in for professional sharpening on a regular basis—for most home cooks, about every six to twelve months. The Victorinox Fibrox 8-inch chef’s knife offers workmanship comparable to restaurant grade knives costing triple the price.
Also buy a utility knife set. These small knives don’t cost much, and you’ll use them all the time.
If you bake your own bread or buy it unsliced, you should also purchase a bread knife. Since inexpensive serrated blades cut beautifully, a cheap bread knife does its job nicely and will last for years.
A few well-chosen kitchen appliances will open up all sorts of food preparation possibilities.
A little money can go a long way. Many kitchen appliances—such as toasters, blenders, slow cookers, and immersion mixers—cost less than an average restaurant meal. Expensive models of these appliances may look fancier but they rarely perform better or last longer.
Other appliances don’t come cheap, specifically:
- Instant Pots
- Food Processors
- Bread Machines
- Rice Cookers
- Professional-Grade Blenders
- Microwave Ovens
Despite their expense, these appliances can quickly pay for themselves by reducing your food costs.. For instance, I prepare hummus and soup every week using my Instant Pot and my Blendtec blender. In the process, I save about ten dollars a week over buying commercially-made hummus and canned soup—which enabled me to recoup my Instant Pot and Blendtec investments in less than a year.
Our Kitchenware Guide offers buying advice for every important kitchen tool and appliance.
With luck, you have fantastic local vegan dining possibilities. But that all depends, of course, on where you live. Some small towns have nothing but a lone Taco Bell as their only vegan-friendly restaurant. But most cities of any size have quite a few excellent vegan dining options.
To learn which restaurant chains offer solid vegan options, check our restaurants guide.
Searching Google for “vegan food near me” offers the best way to find all your best dining options. Then check HappyCow for any restaurants Google has missed.
Vegan-Friendly Restaurant Food
Many of the world’s favorite cuisines offer sensational vegan dishes:
- Indian: chana masala, basmati rice, dosas, chapatti
- Mexican: burritos made with beans, rice, salsa, and guacamole
- Ethiopian: vegetable stews accompanied by injera bread
- Middle Eastern: falafel, hummus, or baba served in pita or wrapped in lavash
- Italian: spaghetti with marinara, green salads, pizza without cheese
- Chinese: vegetable & tofu stir-fries over jasmine rice
Note that you must be vigilant when ordering at Indian restaurants since undetectable amounts of dairy products can show up in almost anything. The situation is even worse at Mexican restaurants, which commonly cook their rice in chicken stock, and sometimes add lard to their beans. I therefore avoid eating at Mexican restaurants unless they make some visible effort to accommodate vegan customers.
Chinese restaurants likewise rarely offers dependably vegan menu items, despite the fact that no cuisine relies more heavily on rice and vegetables. Chicken stock and eggs hide in many dishes. Luckily, vegans who love Chinese food have a haven at the PF Chang’s chain. Their vegetarian menu actually features nothing but vegan food, if you look past the technicality that they use cane sugar in their dishes.
Vegan Fast Food Options
The United States has thousands of Taco Bell and Subways restaurants. Both chains offer several vegan menu items.
Subway sells “Veggie Delight” sandwiches, but you must ask for not mayo mayo and cheese. You also have to order your sandwich on white bread, since their whole wheat bread contains honey.
At Taco Bell, order a “Bean Burrito, Fresco Style,” and they’ll swap out the cheese for chunky salsa.
For some of the finest vegan fast food available, visit a Cal-Mex burrito restaurant like Chipotle, Qdoba, or Taco Del Mar. These restaurants serve much higher-quality food than either Taco Bell or Subway. All offer impressive vegan options.
Burger King and White Castle both feature the Impossible Burger. To keep it vegan, you must ask them to leave off the cheese or mayo.
Eating vegan while traveling can add an exciting dimension to your trip. Most parts of the world offer delicious vegan specialties unlike anything you can get at home. As with finding the best vegan restaurants near home, you can find all the best places when traveling by searching Google, HappyCow, and Trip Advisor.
No matter your destination, you’ll have easy access to markets that sell fruits, vegetables, and other essentials. Most towns have a bakery that sells delicious vegan bread. When making short trips to places that seem inhospitable to vegans, bring along some nuts and energy bars.
Why not plan your next vacation in one of the world’s most vegan-friendly cities? These include:
- Portland, Oregon (USA)
- Prague, Czech Republic
- London, England
- Guadalajara, Mexico
- Toronto, Canada
- Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Berlin, Germany
For lots more advice on this topic, see our vegan travel page.
Socializing and Finding Community
Meetup.com offers an unmatched directory of local vegan and vegetarian gatherings. Just type Vegan into the search box and see what nearby events pop up. You will probably find at least one regularly-held vegan dining or potluck event in your community. If you don’t find anything nearby, consider using the Meetup platform to start your own monthly vegan event.
You can also meet like-minded people at big regional vegan festivals. These events take place in cities all over the world. To find one near you, check out our festivals directory.
For dating, most of the big platforms like OK Cupid, Plenty of Fish, and Match.com allow you to screen profiles by dietary preference. Also check out VeggieDate, a dating site that caters exclusively to vegetarians and vegans.
Easy But Powerful Steps
Anytime you think of a way to move further toward a vegan diet, act on it. If you can’t come up with anything, just try any of the following ideas:
- Go vegan in your kitchen—never bring animal products into your home.
- You can learn a lot just through a temporary commitment. Give a vegan diet a 21-day test drive.
- Follow Mark Bittman’s Vegan Before 6 plan, and eat vegan each day until dinner.
- When you feel ready to drop a specific animal product—meat, cheese, eggs, or fish—then drop it.
- Commit to trying five new vegan foods a week from restaurants, grocery stores, or by doing your own cooking.
- Boost your motivation another notch by buying a new vegan book or cookbook.
- If a kitchen appliance will enable you to easily prepare vegan foods that particularly excite you, buy it.
- Visit your local natural foods store, and purchase ten vegan foods you’ve never tried
- Remember that beans and vegetables contain loads of nutrients, so strive to eat these foods every day.
- Explore the hundreds of delicious alternatives to meat, milk, and egg-based foods.
- Order a bottle of Vitamin B-12 so you start out your diet on the right foot.
Why not print out the above list, and revisit it from time to time? Ideas that seem too ambitious today might become easy to do a few months from now.
A Recap of Key Advice
This short guide covered a lot of ground. So let’s recap its key advice to ensure you don’t miss anything crucial:
- A starter book like But I Could Never Go Vegan! will make your transition easier and more enjoyable.
- Take nutrition seriously. Our Vegan Nutrition Guide will enable you to avoid the most common deficiencies that may arise on a vegan diet.
- No matter your cooking skills, make your first vegan cookbook an easy one such as Gaz Oakley’s Plants Only Kitchen.
- The best entry-point to vegan cooking involves mastering the preparation of these five easy meals: smoothies, sandwiches, salads, stir-fries, and roasted vegetables.
- Don’t forget that any supermarket will stock all the vegan foods you need—even though you will hopefully have better local options for groceries.
- Find out if you have a good natural foods store nearby, and also check out your local farmer’s market. Our Amazon.com grocery page will enable you to further round out your diet.
- Get as specific as possible about which non-vegan foods you do not feel ready to quit. Remember my example of how I went from feeling unready to give up dairy products to being unready to quit cheese. Then later, I refined this limitation even further by deciding I merely felt unready to quit cheese pizzas from my favorite local pizzeria.
- Searching “vegan restaurants” with the Google app on your phone will enable you to discover terrific local dining options. You can also rely on HappyCow.net.
- If you get hungry while traveling and can’t find any vegan restaurants nearby, order Subway’s Veggie Delight on a white roll without cheese or mayo. Or order Taco Bell’s Bean Burrito “Fresco Style.”
- Don’t let yourself become socially isolated! Plenty of vegans live near you—use Meetup.com to find them. Make plans to attend your nearest vegan festival. Also look into whether you live near a farm animal sanctuary.
Easy Does it
As you can see, just a little reading puts you well on your way to becoming vegan. You now know all the key information required to make rapid progress.
A vegan diet emphatically does not demand sacrifice or discipline. Going vegan will improve your life in so many ways. And every step matters. So just choose the ideas that excite you most. Never forget that going vegan mainly requires crowding non-vegan foods out of your diet, by discovering plant-based foods that you prefer. So the more unfamiliar vegan foods you sample, the faster you’ll go. How many new vegan foods can you try over the next month?
I hope this essay has given you the information required to transition your diet with confidence. Every long-term vegan will tell you their transition happened more easily than they ever expected. So relax and have fun—all sorts of delicious discoveries await!