Beginner’s Guide to Veganism

Happy new year everyone! 2019 is here which means Veganuary is here! This year plans to be the biggest one yet, with one person signing up to take part every 8 seconds. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve already looked into veganism so I’m going to spare you the horror stories of the animal agriculture industry and just be here to guide you on you 31-day vegan journey. 

If you’re a student, not a great cook or need quick and easy vegan meal ideas, check out my Kitchen Essentials blog post for students. 

Don’t know what to have for breakfast as a vegan? Check out my Vegan Breakfast Ideas post.

The first thing you learn being vegan is that there is a vegan version is LITERALLY everything from milk and butter to vegan steaks and prawns.

Milk Replacements

Everyone’s taste is different and we all like different things, so the great thing about vegan milk is that there are so many more options compared to cow’s milk, so you’re bound to find one you like.

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Ad by Oatly

Soy milk is common but not everyone’s favourite, although you can get it super cheap from pretty much anywhere so it is the most accessible milk. When it comes to tea, a lot of people swear by cashew milk or oat milk, my personal favourite is hazelnut milk that my omni partner also has in his tea. When it comes to coffee, my favourite is also hazelnut milk but coconut milk, rice milk and literally any other plant milk is also amazing in coffee. A lot of people dislike almond milk in tea but like it in coffee, personally I don’t like it in my hot drinks.

Almond milk goes really well in cereal as it doesn’t have too strong of a flavour and it’s nice to drink alone, but pretty much any milk you can drink by itself will be nice in cereal.

Cheapest Vegan Milks:

  • Morrisons Long Life Sweetened Soya Milk – 60p
  • Asda Long Life Soya Milk – 80p
  • Asda Long Life Almond Milk – £1
  • Dream Organic Rice Milk – £1 (Asda)
  • Dream Cashew-Rice Milk – £1 (Asda)
  • Koko Dairy Free Original – £1 (Tesco)
  • Morrisons is the cheapest for brands such as Alpro and Oatly

Cheese Replacements

I’m not going to lie to you, vegan cheese is not always the nicest thing and probably the most difficult replacement to get ‘right’. If you’re someone who likes to eat cheese all day, everyday, you probably won’t be too thrilled with your options without investing in some gourmet vegan cheese and breaking the bank a little bit. My best advice is to ‘wean’ off of cheese, as we all know it is highly addictive, and cutting it out will make the transition much easier. Vegan cheese can taste great when it’s part of a meal like topping pasta, vegan pizza, in a burger or anything similar.

Check out One Green Planet’s list of vegan cheeses! Stores like Tesco and Sainsbury’s also offer their own brands of vegan cheese.

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Where to get vegan pizza?

  • Tesco Free From Margherita Pizza – also gluten free (Tescos)
  • Cheezly and Tomato Pizza (Holland and Barrett, Ocado)
  • The White Rabbit Pizza Co (Sainsburys)
  • Wicked Kitchen (Tescos)
  • Goodfella’s Vegan Pizza (most supermarkets) *my favourite
  • No Dough Pizza Co (Sainsbury’s)
  • Kirsty’s (most supermarkets)

Pizza Delivery

  • Papa Johns (all bases are vegan, just ask for pizza without cheese; garlic dip and potato wedges are vegan)
  • Pizza Hut (pan base is vegan, ask without cheese; wedges are vegan)
  • Deliveroo (lots of chain restaurants offer vegan pizza you can get delivered using Deliveroo; see below)
  • Check out PETA’s list of independent restaurants doing pizza delivery here

Chain Restaurants Offering Vegan Pizza

  • Zizzi
  • Pizza Express
  • Ask Italian
  • Pizza Hut
  • Pizza Express
  • Bella Italia

Egg Replacements

This may be the most difficult replacement, but there are options. If you love a fried or poached egg then maybe we can’t get this 100% right, you’ll have to say goodbye to it (who wants to eat chicken periods anyway?) However, we have scrambled egg replacements as well as omelettes which you can find on my Vegan Breakfast Ideas post! These include scrambled tofu (not as gross as it sounds, I promise), actual egg replacements, chickpea flour scramble & omelettes also made with chickpea flour.

Here’s some scrambled tofu:

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In cakes and baked goods, you can substitute crushed banana, flax seed ‘eggs’, chia seed ‘eggs’, vegan egg replacements and lots of others as you can see below:

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From NoMeatAthlete.com

Meat Replacements

This is ironically the easiest vegan replacement to find. Pretty much every single supermarket stocks vegan meat substitutes like sausages, burgers, nuggets and more. Now is the perfect time to go vegan because new vegan options are being released everyday like Marks and Spencer having just released a new vegan range with 60 items including Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Pizza, or Greggs releasing their Vegan Sausage Rolls, and Morrisons have released their new vegan range called V Taste which is all from only £1.50!

You won’t have any trouble finding replacements for all of your meat, but here are some of my faves I recommend you try:

  • Tesco Vegan Chicken Nuggets (Tescos)
  • Linda McCartney Sausages (most supermarkets)
  • Beyond Meat Burgers (Tescos, but it’s pricey for £5.50)
  • Quorn Fishless Fingers (most supermarkets stock Quorn products)
  • Fry’s Vegan Chicken Nuggets (Ocado, Holland and Barrett)
  • Tesco Meat Free Mince (Tesco)
  • Sainsbury’s Meat Free Meatballs (Sainsbury’s)
  • Vivera Vegan Steak (Tesco)

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Fry’s Family Meat Free Chicken-Style Nuggets

For healthier meat-free options, try replacing meat with tofu, beans or vegetables! If you’re worried about protein, there is no need because it is literally in everything. The only way you would not be getting enough protein is if you’re not eating – as long as you’re eating a variety of different foods regularly, you’re getting enough! Here are some vegan protein sources if you really want to know:

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From mikimottes.com

For those gym-goers, you might be wondering about protein powders, vegan versions of these exist too so check them out:

  • Bulk Powders Vegan Protein Powder
  • The Protein Works Vegan Protein
  • Raw Sport Vegan Protein Powder
  • Vevolife Perform Protein Powder
  • Protein World The Vegan Blend
  • My Protein Vegan Blend
  • Elite Complete Vegan Protein

Most can be found in stores such as Holland and Barrett, some big supermarkets, or bought online.

Accidentally Vegan Foods

You might think you have to give up on all of your favourite foods when you go vegan, but fear not because your favourite snack might be ‘accidentally vegan’ or have a close-enough vegan replacement.

Check out Accidentally Vegan UK dedicated to putting all accidentally vegan products on their website! Some accidentally vegan foods include Oreos, Doritos Chilli Heatwave, Co-op Jam and Custard Doughnuts, Bourbon Biscuits, Skittles, Choc Chip Hobnobs, Lotus Biscoff, McVities Fig Rolls and Ginger Nuts, a lot of instant pot noodles are accidentally vegan too!

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Alcohol

Most alcohol is vegan, but what you might not know is that the filtering process may use fish bladders, gelatine, egg whites, sea shells and other animal products in them that would make them unsuitable for vegans.

I use Barnivore to make sure my alcohol is vegan, you simply type in the name or brand and it’ll tell you whether it’s vegan or not! Supermarkets like M&S and Tesco label their vegan alcohol, and a lot of restaurants now do too!

Eating Out

Almost everywhere has vegan options now and vegan restaurants are popping up all over the place. Use the app Happy Cow to find all the restaurants near you that have vegan options, or are vegetarian or vegan. They also show nearby vegan supermarkets and catering companies. They are a saviour when you’re picking places to eat with non-vegan friends. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can easily just use their website!

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Anything else?

Being vegan isn’t difficult and can be fun! It forces you to try new foods, go to  new restaurants, look in different aisles in the supermarket and change up what meals you have everyday. Make sure you look in the vegetarian and free from sections of your local supermarkets for inspiration, have a browse online at cool vegan recipes as well as the thousands of vegan bloggers and instagram accounts (like mine!)


For more information on veganism, check out these documentaries:

  • What The Health (Netflix)
  • Cowspiracy (Netflix)
  • Earthlings (YouTube – GRAPHIC)
  • Forks Over Knives (Netflix)
  • Carnage (BBC iPlayer)

You can sign up for Veganuary here to receive helpful emails to help you through the month! 

 

 

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