11 tips for starting a vegan lifestyle
Are you ready to dive into a vegan lifestyle and add more plant-based products to your diet? Maybe just a few days a week of eating plant-based foods isn’t enough anymore and you want to go completely vegan? Congratulations! We can’t wait to change the world with you!
According to our 2021 Veganz Nutrition Survey, 2.2% of German respondents are vegan — that’s around 1.18 million people. If you ask flexitarians about their willingness to switch to veganism, as many as 54.8% of Germans say that they can now imagine becoming vegetarian in the near future and 15.3% are willing to become vegan. Even 25.6% of omnivores are interested in vegetarianism. That would soon make eating meat a thing of the past.
But how do you transition to a vegan lifestyle? And, above all, what do you need to look out for?
There are a number of different reasons why people go vegan. Whether you’re doing it for the climate, the animals, the environment, your health, or a combination of all of these: the more background information you gather about your reasons, the easier you’ll find it to consciously choose your vegan diet and to stick to it in the long term.
It’s important to not put yourself under pressure. You don’t need to completely change your diet overnight. Do it gradually. Maybe start off with one vegan day a week and then increase it. It’s still better to be 90% vegan in the long term than to not do anything at all. Nobody’s perfect.
Tip 2: Good planning is half the battle
Especially at the beginning, it’s helpful to plan the meals you want to cook and to buy the food accordingly. And while you’re at it: cook double the amount. You’ll then have the leftovers for either lunch or dinner the following day. This helps you avoid falling back on a kebab or pizza while you’re out and about.
Are you still looking for suitable recipes? Take a look at our Instagram page and get inspired by our recipe ideas.
Why go vegan and not vegetarian? Quite simply because vegetarian products still harm humans, animals, and the environment. Therefore, to actively work towards protecting the climate and environment, it makes sense to use alternatives to dairy products as well. It’s not even that hard since there are more than you can possibly imagine. Whether you prefer soya, almond, or oat, there’s something for every taste. There are also an increasing number of vegan alternatives to butter, yoghurt, and cream.
For many people, one of the hardest parts of adopting a vegan diet is giving up cheese. But there’s no need since there are countless options that cheese lovers will like thanks to coconut, cashew, almond, and soya-based alternatives.
By the way, choosing an alternative to milk isn’t just good for the animals. According to Codecheck, milk chocolate is one of the worst foods for the climate. Take a look at this comparison: per 80 g bar, milk chocolate causes 288 g of CO2 emissions. With our Organic Veganz Coconut Original, it’s only 124 g CO2 – less than half!
You think giving up meat leaves you with only bland tofu? No way! These days, alternatives to meat and fish are being made from all kinds of plant-based products such as wheat, legumes, soybeans, peas, lupin, or other vegetables. The multitude of combinations is making them more and more authentic – both in terms of consistency and flavour. If you fancy properly indulging in ‘meat’, give vegan nuggets, crispy schnitzel, and sausages a try.
In addition, dried soya and seitan are great ingredients that you can use to create extra variety on your plate. Vegan alternatives to fish are easier to come by nowadays than you may think since the available options range from alternatives to fish fingers, salmon, and tuna and they frequently contain plant proteins or algae.
- Kala… what? Kala namak, aka Himalayan black salt, is a sulfurous salt that was originally used in Indian cuisine. Having made its way to Europe, these days it’s popular for giving food a certain egg-like flavour. Fancy some scrambled eggs? It’s easy to make a vegan version: give scrambled tofu a try! Another thing that’s really easy to recreate thanks to this nifty salt is egg salad.
- In baking chia seeds or finely ground linseed are an excellent substitute. When soaked briefly in water, they turn into a gel-like mixture that works well as a binder in baking. Some recipes also use apple purée or a mashed banana as an egg substitute.
You may find vegan shopping hard at first because you’ll end up having to check the ingredients on every product. But rest assured it won’t be for long and you’ll soon find your new regular items. In fact, it can make shopping even easier since a large part of the supermarket will be out of bounds and of no interest whatsoever. Make up for it by really going to town in the fruit and veg section. Shopping is even easier in the Veganz stores in Berlin, where everything is vegan – obviously!
You’ll frequently find our products in their very own ‘vegan/vegerarian’ section, which makes finding them even easier.
Are you more of an online shopper? Well, more than 100 Veganz products have been available exclusively in the Vekoop web shop for some time now.
By the way: It’s easy to be vegan when you’re travelling, too. Whether you’re taking the bus, train, plane, or car, take a look at our blog post to find out how to continue enjoying plant-based foods while on holiday, too.
For vegans, it’s important to ensure you’re on a balanced diet that includes several food groups. Not that it isn’t just as important with any other diet!
Two vitamins that Proveg recommends that all vegans take as a supplement are vitamin B12 and vitamin D. (1)
- Vitamin B12 is usually added to farmed animal feed so that humans ingest it when they eat meat and other animal products. By taking a B12 supplement, you can simply cut out the middleman.
- Vitamin D is a vitamin that the body can produce itself, but only if it’s exposed to enough sunlight. For people who don’t get out in the sun enough and for everybody in the winter months, a vitamin D supplement is highly recommended. That doesn’t only apply to vegans either. According to the Robert Koch Institute, around 40% of Germans are vitamin D deficient. (2)
It’s important, however, to discuss supplements with your doctor first, and to have your blood values checked regularly. That way, you can adapt your diet to your nutritional needs if necessary.
Plant proteins are always a tricky topic that attract a lot of (not always justified) prejudices. It’s said that vegans are always protein deficient or can’t build muscles. There’s absolutely no need to worry, though! After all, just about all plant foods contain protein. Do you want to know more? We’ve put everything you need to know about plant proteins in this blog post.
Vegan food doesn’t always have to be expensive. Seasonal fruit and veg as well as grains are among the cheapest items you’ll find in the shops, and they allow you to create many delicious dishes. But there are also vegan alternatives that won’t hurt your wallet. Here are just a few things that you can get for under 2 euros:
And for all the students, apprentices, and school children among you: every Tuesday is student day in our three Berlin stores. When you show us your valid student ID, you can save 10% on everything (except books, DVDs, magazines, and vouchers).
Nowadays, you can find vegan cook and baking books at any bookshop and they’re a great source of inspiration. Another good place to look is the web, where you’ll find an endless number of recipes – from breakfast ideas to main courses, and cake – you’re sure to find something for any occasion and taste. Why not create your own Pinterest board with your favourite recipes or search for #veganfoodporn or #veganrecipes on Instagram. At Veganz, we also use Instagram every day to show just how tasty being vegan can be. You’re guaranteed to want to head straight to the kitchen and get started.
Even though it might feel like it at first, when you get strange looks at family celebrations or when your friends roll their eyes when you try to take them to a vegan restaurant, rest assured that there are another 1.3 million vegans in Germany besides you. There are sure to be some near you, too. There are Facebook groups for just about every region in Germany, where you can get in touch with others and arrange to meet. These groups in Germany are just a couple of examples, ‘Ich packe auf mein veganes Tellerchen’ or ‘Ich hab was Veganes im Supermarkt gefunden’. To find vegan restaurants near you, the Happy Cow app is a great place to start. Restaurants are also places where you’re sure to find like-minded people.
We hope you enjoy embarking on your new vegan life and wish you all the best!
(1) Pro Veg: https://vebu.de/fitness-gesundheit/ernaehrungspyramide/vegane-ernaehrungspyramide/ [15.09.2021]
(2) RKI: https://www.rki.de/SharedDocs/FAQ/Vitamin_D/Vitamin_D_FAQ-Liste.html