OK, confession time: When I first went vegan four years ago, I didn’t even know that soymilk existed. I ate dry cereal. For my first vegan Thanksgiving, I had a salad for dinner. Maybe I was living under a rock, but vegan foods like plant-based milks, faux meats, and dairy-free ice cream also weren’t as abundant as they are now. Now, you can walk into Target and find all of those things—and way more.
Here are just some of the things that I wish I’d known when I first went vegan. Saving your life in 3 … 2 … 1 …:
1. Many of the foods that you’re used to eating can easily be made vegan.
2. Dining out is easy.
Sure, finding vegan food options may be easier in some areas than in others, but peta2 has lifesaving, handy tips for eating at some of your favorite places, such as Chipotle, Starbucks, and Taco Bell. Check it out!
3. Tofu needs to be drained! ?
I was blessed to find out early on that tofu needs to be drained before using it, but many people aren’t as lucky. You can easily drain tofu by wrapping it in paper towels and placing a heavy object on top. But if you’re down to treat yo’ self, invest in a tofu press.
P.S. Despite what you may have heard, tofu doesn’t suck—it just needs to be prepared correctly.
4. Knowledge is power.
When you first go vegan, you’re probably going to hear from people who insist that plants have feelings, that you’ll die if you don’t eat meat, and so on. Here’s my best advice: Arm yourself with facts. If you ever get a question that you don’t know the answer to, text peta2, and we’ll get back to you!
5. You might want to bring your own food to social gatherings.
If you go to a party, there will likely be “accidentally vegan” chips as well as salsa, soda, fruit platters, and more vegan-friendly foods for you to eat. But if you don’t want to take the risk of there not being any vegan options, bring your own food. Check out our recipe page to find hundreds of easy and delicious recipes for appetizers, snacks, sweets, and more.
Bonus: Taking plant-based foods to parties and family dinners is a great way to show others that eating vegan is delicious.
6. Animal-derived ingredients may be hidden in your food—but don’t stress out about it.
Sometimes, it’s not obvious that animal-derived ingredients are in food, cosmetics, or personal-care products. For example, “casein”—the main protein in cow’s milk—is often found in food items marked “nondairy.” And “carmine”—a red pigment made from crushed female cochineal insects—is commonly found in cosmetics and shampoos. Yikes! Use peta2’s Beauty Without Bunnies Guide to find cruelty-free vegan products.
Remember: Being vegan is about reducing animal suffering—it’s not about being perfect. So don’t obsess over micro-ingredients. Helping animals can be as simple as choosing a bean burrito over a steak one or tofu scramble instead of eggs. ?❤️
7. There are tons of helpful online resources for vegans.
There are more on-point resources than Google to answer your questions when you first start your journey toward cruelty-free living. Sign up for a vegan mentor, contact peta2, or join vegan groups on your favorite social media sites like Facebook. The HappyCow and Yelp apps can help you find vegan food options in your area, and peta2’s “Lifestyle” page has all the latest news on vegan products and restaurants.
If you’re too busy to get to the store, you can do your grocery shopping on websites like Vitacost. Who doesn’t want vegan ranch dressing delivered to their door? ?
9. Eating vegan is affordable!
If you stick to the staples like beans, rice, and veggies, eating vegan can be very inexpensive. Check out our tips for eating healthy and affordable cruelty-free food.
10. You’ll feel better than ever.
When you make the decision to go vegan, you’ll feel a weight lift off your shoulders. You’ll feel good about no longer contributing to the suffering of animals used for food. You’ll feel better about doing one of the best things that we can do for the environment. And there’s a good chance that you’ll feel healthier, too.
I hope I’ve inspired you to make the switch! ✌ If there’s anything else stopping you from going vegan, let us know. We want to help. ☺