Switching to a vegan diet is surprisingly easy—and just a little reading puts you halfway there. Most new vegans end up being shocked by how little effort the transition takes. By the time you finish this short guide, you'll be well on your way.

How to Go Vegan Easily and Healthfully

This guide explains how to go vegan with minimal effort, in a lasting and healthy way. I’ve eaten vegan for more than thirty years, so I can offer you some fantastic advice. By the time you finish reading, you’ll know exactly how to move forward.

Go Vegan by Crowding, Not Cutting

Let’s start with the single most helpful piece of advice about how to go vegan. If you learn nothing else from this guide, remember this: rid your diet of non-vegan foods by crowding, not cutting.

Many people think going vegan requires willpower and struggle. But that’s exactly the wrong mindset to have.

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 more quickly you’ll progress.

So try new vegan foods at every opportunity. Even a little effort delivers a huge payoff. Sampling just five new vegan foods each week will expose you to a huge variety of delicious new things to eat. Week by week, these items will increasingly crowd out whatever animal products remain in your diet.

Discover the Endless Assortment of Incredible Vegan Foods

You can prepare healthy vegan meals quickly and easily. Our list of easy vegan foods includes dozens of delicious items. Once you’ve reviewed that list, check out some of these links:

The above pages will give you hundreds of fantastic vegan food ideas.

How Fast Should You Go Vegan?

How quickly you move towards a vegan diet depends primarily on the rate you sample new foods. The more new foods you try, the quicker you will progress. You certainly don’t need to go entirely vegan overnight. While some people make an immediate transition, others ease into a vegan diet over months or years. Don’t focus on speed. Focus instead on making the experience easy and comfortable.

Use whatever stepping-stones work for you. Constantly seek out foods you enjoy eating. Let’s now look at strategies to rapidly bring more vegan foods into your life.

So there’s no need to do everything at once. Let’s now review some popular ways to move toward a vegan diet.

Vegan Before Six

Mark Bittman is one of America’s most influential food writers. He 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 lifelong 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 enjoyed 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 narrow my above limitation to:

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

A little thinking got me a long way. I was now ready to quit everything but cheese. But I wanted to go even further. So I next asked myself: “Well, do I love all cheese equally?”

A powerful 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 cheese on everything except pizza.

Upon making that decision, my previous limitation surrounding cheese narrowed further:

I’m not yet ready to give up cheese pizzas.

I’d come so far. 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, order 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. Before long, even Pizza My Heart’s slices lost their grip on me. I felt absolutely ready to take the plunge and go totally vegan. This decision felt anticlimactic because it entailed no feelings of stress or sacrifice.

Success at Last!

Thanks to my clearly defining which foods I felt ready to cut from my diet, dairy products did not conquer me; I conquered dairy products. I hope my pizza story inspires you to write down whichever foods you’re not yet ready to quit, getting as specific as you possibly can.

A happy postscript to my pizza story is that thirty years later, Pizza-My-Heart finally got around to offering excellent vegan cheese on their pies. So I’m now back to eating one of my very favorite foods whenever I visit Santa Cruz.

Vegan Books & Cookbooks

Nothing about going vegan poses overwhelming hardships. But a lasting transition, does 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 detailed advice, see Kristy Turner’s terrific book on the topic. In addition to offering thorough introductory coverage, Turner features 125 easy recipes accompanied by plenty 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 spread myths by repeating these claims to others.

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

If you want to explore vegan cooking, you’ve got endless opportunities. Consider picking up a couple vegan cookbooks. 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 vegan cookbook, a dozen second-rate ones exist. Advances in printing technology have contributed to this problem. Until recently, the substantial costs involved in using  offset presses to print books made publishing mediocre titles too risky.  Publishers had to print at least 3000 books at a time, which required a big up-front expense. The rise of low-cost “print-on-demand” technology took most of the financial risk out of book publishing. If a print-on-demand book flops, the publisher doesn’t lose much money.

Print-on-demand has revolutionized book publishing. But it dramatically lowered the quality of the average vegan cookbook. Publishers today are flooding 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.

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.  Check out these great choices:

For more, take a look at the “Easy Everyday Cookbooks” section of our vegan cookbooks page.

You can’t go wrong with any of these titles. 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. Then select the cookbook that features the recipes that appeal to you most.

Choosing a Second Cookbook

Once you’ve purchased an easy cookbook, also consider buying 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 big reference cookbooks, you can’t do better than Oh She Glows for Dinner. Or, if you want something truly encyclopedic, 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 specialty. 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 mealswhole-grain baking, and even homemade vegan cheese. Discover them all on our vegan cookbooks page.

Vegan Nutrition

A vegan diet can easily meet your body’s nutritional requirements. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics affirms these diets can satisfy nutritional needs at every stage of life. That includes childhood, old age, and pregnancy. Millions of people thrive on a vegan diet. And a growing number of the world’s top athletes eat vegan too.

That said, some vegans exhibit alarming lapses in their knowledge of nutrition. Worse yet,  indiscriminate reading can compound the problem. Several bestselling vegan books are filled with erroneous nutrition guidance.

Easy Ways to Improve Your Diet

With so much bad advice finding its way into print, you need to stay vigilant. Far better to read one book that’s accurate than ten books that aren’t. Start by reading our Vegan Nutrition Guide, written by one of the world’s top experts on vegan nutrition. For a deeper dive, check out Jack Norris and Virginia Messina’s outstanding book, Vegan for Life.

Reading up on nutrition will enable you to dramatically improve your diet. This material can inspire you to make all sorts of healthy changes. You can identify the most unhealthy foods in your diet, and replace them with healthier choices.

One shopping habit has improved my nutrition immeasurably. When I finish grocery shopping and am 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 come up short, I wheel my cart back to the produce section to set things right.

Eating plenty of vegetables and beans won’t meet all your nutrition needs. But these foods do contain more nutrients than most other foods. Leafy greens in particular are remarkably nutritious, plus they contain shockingly few calories. 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 obtain a reliable source of this nutrient. Fortunately, you can cheaply and reliably cover your needs. Just take an inexpensive high-dose sublingual B-12 tablet every couple of days. I keep my B-12 bottle next to my laptop so I don’t forget to take it.

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

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 have delicious vegan food on hand whenever you get hungry.

So let’s now review the basics of vegan grocery shopping.

Supermarkets & Natural Food Stores

Every supermarket carryies a wide variety of vegan foods. Commonly-stocked items include:

Plant-based eating grows more popular every year. In response, most supermarkets carry a growing selection of 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’ll see aisles of overpriced vitamins but a mediocre selection of fruits and vegetables.

Shopping at Natural Food Stores

Natural food stores carry way more vegan foods than do supermarkets. They also commonly feature a better produce section, 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 when purchased in bulk. You will also find great prices on fancier bulk items like coffee, seaweed, chocolate, and a wide assortment of spices.

Natural food store delis offer the easiest way to try an assortment of delicious vegan foods, without having to do any cooking. Try making the items you like best at home. These foods are usually quick and easy to prepare, and cost a fraction of what they do at the deli.

Natural food stores offer good prices on fruits, vegetables, bulk items, and common vegan cooking ingredients. But prices on frozen vegan convenience foods are usually high. Frozen vegan pizzas and TV dinners can cost triple what you’d pay for their non-vegan counterparts at supermarkets. So to reduce your food costs, minimize your purchases of convenience foods. Instead, buy most of your foods from the bulk section and produce department.

Farmers’ Markets and CSAs

Even if your local natural food store sells excellent produce, you may have an even better option. Find out if there’s a farmers’ market near you. While you’re at it, look into whether any local farms or orchards 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. Farmers often harvest the food brought to farmer’s markets the same morning they sell it.

Farmers’ markets and CSAs cut out the middleman, and minimize transport costs. The resultant cost savings enable you to buy locally-grown organic food at prices that compare favorably to conventionally-grown supermarket produce. My Ultimate Vegan Guide offers more information about all the wonderful things that farmers’ markets have to offer.

Specialty Groceries

You can find ethnic grocery stores in every medium-sized and large city. Asian food markets 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. And don’t miss the inexpensive freshly-prepared vegetable samosas and pakoras sold under heat lamps.

If you live near a Trader Joe’s, you must pay it a visit. This grocery chain rose to fame by selling all sorts of delicious hard-to-find specialty foods at rock-bottom prices. They even publish their vegan products right on their website.

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 that vegans want. 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

How do you go vegan if you still crave 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 foods will fill you up just like meat, and they contain comparable amounts of protein too. But let’s be honest: they will never trick anybody into thinking they’re meat.

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 stir-fried 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 create alternatives to every major non-vegan food. These products were delicious enough that even non-vegetarians bought them. This began a virtuous cycle, as growing sales funded increased R&D which in turn led to even tastier products.

Thanks to ever-increasing demand for vegan meats, the world’s top meat producers and fast food companies have entered 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.

Groceries and restaurants now sell an unprecedented assortment of vegan foods. These products deliver spectacular flavors, once unobtainable in the vegan world. Many of these offerings can fool even devout meat eaters. Whether it’s mayonnaise or sausages or ice cream, delicious vegan alternatives abound. For extensive coverage of these products, see our Vegan Alternatives page.

Vegan Cooking Basics

Vegan cooking offers unending possibilities. You will eat tastier and more nutritious food when you learn how to make it yourself. Plus, nobody knows your preferences better than you. Doing your own cooking lets you prepare food just the way you like it.

You’ll be able to work your favorite ingredients into the meals you eat most often. 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 vegan recipes require just minutes to prepare. Check out these incredibly versatile yet super quick classics:

You can make each of these foods in countless delicious variations. Just a little time spent learning to prepare these meals will set you up for a lifetime of healthy eating.

Outfit Your Kitchen

You can completely outfit your kitchen for surprisingly little money. Let’s run through the essential kitchenware items for well-stocked a vegan kitchen:

  • Kitchen Knives
  • Pots and Pans
  • Colander
  • Can and Bottle Opener
  • Salad Spinner
  • Cutting Board
  • Baking Sheets
  • Measuring Cups & Spoons
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Citrus Reamer
  • Airtight Plastic Containers

Apart from kitchen knives, which we’ll consider next, these items don’t need to cost much. See our kitchenware guide for detailed buying advice.

Good Cooks Need Good Knives

No matter how tight your budget, never buy a cheap kitchen knife.

A good chef’s knife is a must for any sort of cooking. Consider your main kitchen knife a lifetime investment. 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.

Restaurant chefs sharpen their knives at least once a week. If you do a moderate amount of cooking, you can get away with twice a year. I don’t sharpen my own knives because I want it done by someone trained who has good equipment. You can often find a knife sharpening booth at your local farmer’s market. Or you may have a knife shop or cutlery store in town. A sharp knife makes cooking so much more pleasant. Once you get your knife sharpened knife back you’ll wish you’d taken it in sooner.

If you bake your own bread or buy it unsliced, you should also purchase a bread knife. Here, you can go cheap. Since inexpensive serrated blades cut beautifully, a inexpensive bread knife does its job nicely and lasts for years.

Appliances

A few well-chosen kitchen appliances will open up all sorts of food preparation possibilities.

A little money can go a long way. Many appliances—such as toasters, blenders, slow cookers, and immersion mixers—cost less than an average restaurant meal. Expensive models may look fancier but they rarely perform better or last longer.

Other useful appliances don’t come cheap, specifically:

  • Instant Pots
  • Food Processors
  • Bread Machines
  • Rice Cookers
  • Professional-Grade Blenders
  • Microwave Ovens

Despite their expense, any appliance can quickly pay for itself by reducing your food costs. For instance, I can prepare hummus and soup every week using my Instant Pot and my Blendtec blender. In the process, I will save about ten dollars a week over buying these foods from the grocery. So in just one year I can easily recoup my investments in these pricey appliances.

Our Cookware Guide offers buying advice for every popular kitchen tool and appliance.

Dining Out

With luck, you have fantastic local vegan dining possibilities. But that of course depends 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 several excellent vegan dining options.

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:

  • Middle Eastern: falafel, hummus, or baba served in pita or wrapped in lavash
  • Ethiopian: vegetable stews accompanied by injera bread
  • Italian: spaghetti with marinara, green salads, cheese-free pizza
  • Indian: chana masala, basmati rice, dosas, chapatti
  • Mexican: burritos made with beans, rice, salsa, and guacamole
  • Chinese: vegetable & tofu stir-fries over jasmine rice

When it comes to dining out, I regard Middle Eastern, Ethiopian, and Italian as the most-vegan-friendly cuisines.

Ordering at Indian restaurants requires vigilance since undetectable amounts of dairy products can show up in almost anything. Mexican restaurants pose even greater problems, since they often 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 rarely offers dependably vegan menu items, despite the fact that no cuisine relies so 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 some dishes.

For much information, please see our guides to restaurant dining and vegan-friendly cuisines.

Vegan Fast Food

The United States has thousands of Taco Bell and Subways restaurants. Both chains offer several vegan menu items. At Taco Bell, order a “Bean Burrito, Fresco Style,” and they’ll swap out the cheese for chunky salsa.

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.

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.

Our Guide to Vegan Fast Food covers many more excellent possibilities.

Vegan Travel

One of the best things about travel is all the delicious vegan food you will discover. You’ll encounter vegan specialties unlike anything you can get at home. As with locating 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, nearby markets and grocery stores sell fruits, vegetables, and other essentials. Most towns have excellent bakeries. When making short trips to places inhospitable to vegans, bring along some nuts and energy bars.

You can eat well nearly anyplace you travel. But 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, these ideas will push you forward:

  • Be 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.
  • Explore the hundreds of delicious alternatives to meat, milk, and egg-based foods.
  • 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.
  • Spend thirty minutes wandering around your local natural foods store, and purchase ten vegan foods you’ve never tried.
  • Properly outfit your kitchen and spend a little time learning the basics of vegan cooking.
  • Remember that beans and vegetables contain loads of nutrients, so strive to eat these foods every day.
  • 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 in a few months.

Get the Most Out of Your Location

If you live in a place that’s not vegan-friendly, don’t despair. These tips will help you thrive no matter where you live:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Remember, you can eat a healthy and delicious vegan diet no matter where you live. And with a little effort, you can find or build a local vegan community.

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 good starter book will make your transition easier and more enjoyable.
  • Take nutrition seriously. Our Vegan Nutrition Guide will help you avoid the most common deficiencies that may arise on a vegan diet.
  • Get as specific as possible about which non-vegan foods you do not feel ready to quit. For instance, don’t say you’re not ready to give up cheese. Instead, point to the specific type cheese you’re not yet ready to quit.
  • No matter your cooking skills, make your first vegan cookbook an easy one such as Gaz Oakley’s Plants Only Kitchen.
  • Searching “vegan restaurants” with the Google app on your phone will enable you to discover the best 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 Taco Bell’s Bean Burrito “Fresco Style.” Subway’s Veggie Delight on a white roll without cheese or mayo.

Easy Does it

As you can see, just a little reading has put 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.

Make a game of it. How many new vegan foods can you try over the next month?

You now have all the information required to transition your diet with confidence. Every long-term vegan will tell you that things went more easily than they ever expected. So relax and have fun—all sorts of delicious discoveries await!

For further reading: please see our Why to Go Vegan? essay and our comprehensive vegan foods coverage.

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