Making the transition to a vegan lifestyle may seem like a challenge at first, but with a few tips and tricks, it’ll become second nature in no time! You asked us your newbie questions, and we’ve got answers:
What’s the difference between vegan and vegetarian?
A vegetarian doesn’t eat any meat but often still consumes eggs and dairy foods. Vegans, on the other hand, don’t eat any animal-derived foods at all. We also avoid wearing anything that comes from an animal (leather, fur, wool, etc.) and buy only cruelty-free products (ones that aren’t tested on animals).
So WTF can I eat?!
Everything you already eat—just a vegan version of it! Seriously, you can still enjoy all the same foods. If you like the taste of meat, there are lots of delicious alternatives from brands like Gardein, Beyond Meat, and more. There’s even vegan fish—and “eggs”! Check out our “Guide to Going Vegan” for more info.
What can I eat when I go out?
Most places have a vegan option, and it helps to call ahead if you’re going to a sit-down restaurant. If you’re stopping at a fast-food place, use our fast-food guide.
Is something okay to eat if it says “may contain milk” on the package?
Yes. If a product says that it “may contain milk,” it often doesn’t or has just a tiny trace. Plus, following a vegan lifestyle isn’t about purity—it’s about helping animals whenever possible. Don’t stress about micro-ingredients unless you have an allergy.
Is it expensive to eat vegan?
There’s a weird misconception out there that vegan food is expensive. But the truth is that animal flesh such as steak, salmon, and even chicken is often way pricier than vegetables, beans, rice, and other plant-based foods. Even dollar stores and cheap restaurants like Taco Bell sell vegan food.
Where will I get protein?
From your food, obvi. 😉 But really, you can easily fulfill your protein needs with plant foods. Lentils, beans, tofu, and peanut butter are all great sources. Check out our nutrition infographic for the full details.
You can get your iron from plant foods, too! Soybeans, chickpeas, and leafy greens like Swiss chard will do the trick. Vitamins and supplements are another easy way to ensure that you’re getting enough nutrients.
Is eating vegan healthy?
Of course it is! Whole and minimally processed plant-based foods are among the healthiest choices ever. You’re basically fueling your body with disease-fighting nutrients instead of the pus, artery-clogging animal fat, and cancer-causing compounds found in animal-derived foods.
How do I tell my parents? I don’t know how they’ll take it …
This was my main challenge, since my mom wasn’t too psyched about it. Be calm when telling your folks, and share all the benefits of going vegan with them. It also helps to reassure them that your health is a priority and that you’ll make sure not to neglect it. You may also have to take on the responsibility of helping with meals, so check out PETA’s vegan shopping guide. Still having a tough time talking to them? Sign up for our vegan mentor program and we’ll help ya out!
What am I going to eat during family get-togethers?!
It’s best to let your relatives know ahead of time that you’re vegan. You can offer to prepare a dish to share or ask to help in the kitchen so that you’ll have a main course to enjoy. For example, rather than leaving my relatives to think that I don’t want to eat their homemade Korean dumplings, I offer to make vegan ones with them. It’s a nice bonding experience, and I don’t starve. 🙂 BTW, our Thanksgiving Survival Guide is perfect for the holidays.
Do I have to get rid of all the wool, leather, and other animal-derived items that I already have?
That’s a personal choice, really. If you can, it’s nice to donate them to charitable organizations. But if you have nothing else to wear, it’s OK to keep them until they wear out, and you can just make sure you buy animal-free clothing in the future. It’s about progress, not perfection. ♥
Need a little help getting started? We’ve got you! Join our Vegan Mentor Program to receive support every step of the way.
peta2’s Vegan Mentor Program offers one-on-one support from knowledgeable vegans. Mentees are paired with mentors who address questions and concerns about going vegan, in addition to offering guidance on shopping, cooking, talking to your friends and family, or anything else related to vegan living.