As a student, you’re going through a period of change and personal development, and probably questioning the ethics behind your cheeseburger more than you thought you would. Having gone vegan as a student myself, I know it can be a crucial time to shape your personality, establish your opinions and discover the kind of person you are.
For me, it was the realisation that my actions didn’t match my ethics that made me go vegan. I’ve always cared about animals but never stopped to think how my food choices impact them. After realising that every time I bought or ate meat, dairy and eggs I was harming others, I didn’t want to continue living this way.
Many of you may be feeling the same but not quite ready to go all in on veganism, and maybe want to test the waters. Being a student is a perfect time to experiment and learn about new lifestyles and ways of eating, so here are some tips for starting your vegan journey!
Take it at your own pace
Some people go vegan overnight; for others it’s a longer journey comprising a number of steps. If you slip up, don’t worry, just keep going! Making small changes to your everyday meals is one of the easiest ways to increase the amount of plant-based foods in your diet.
Know your reasons
Do you care about animals and the planet, or want to eat healthier? Did you know that slaughterhouse workers are hugely mentally impacted by their jobs and that eating the grain directly (instead of feeding it to animals and then eating them) helps to beat world hunger? I even knew someone who did simply because he couldn’t find a single logical argument against it!
Do it right
As long as you eat a wide variety of plant foods, planning a healthy diet that incorporates all the vitamins and nutrients you need will be a breeze. You don’t need to make any special calculations, just eat plenty of healthy veggies! Check out The Vegan Society nutrition pages for more information.
Veganise your favourites
There’s a fun shortcut to veganising your good old favourite meals; simply replace any non-vegan ingredients with their vegan counterparts and voila! Google any dish you’re craving with the word ‘vegan’ in front of it and you’ll find some of the most amazing, mouth-watering recipes. There are vegan alternatives to pretty much everything now and experimenting with vegan food has never been easier.
Learn to cook (lazy style)
No one likes to spend hours in the kitchen, especially as a student! There are plenty of quick, easy and cheap recipes out there and YouTube is a great place to start. The Vegan Corner, Cheap Lazy Vegan and the Minimalist Baker are brilliant channels for basic recipes, as are BOSH TV and So Vegan on Facebook.
Discover vegan junk food
If you loathe cooking or want to save time to do more partying (I mean, studying…), there are vegan versions of every type of junk food you can think of. Iceland, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Morrisons and Asda all have huge ranges of ready-made vegan products in the fridge and freezer aisles, so look out for these on your next supermarket trip.
Remember that going vegan is a learning curve. To live as a vegan in a non-vegan world takes both courage and curiosity. There’s support at hand at every corner, not least from The Vegan Society. Download our free app VeGuide for daily informational videos, motivational quotes, quizzes, recipes and discounts, all of which aim to help you ease into vegan living.
Ask for help
Where can I buy vegan chocolate? How do I bake cakes without eggs? The vegan community is always happy to help, so join your local Facebook group or the hundreds of popular pages like Vegan Cheese Lovers Club, Veganuary (great for beginners), Vegan Humor and the good old favourite What F.A.T. Vegans Eat (you don’t have to be fat to join!).
Enjoy eating out
Vegans no longer have to call restaurants in advance or carry their own little pots of soya milk. Everywhere you go will have a handful of decent vegan menu options, including indulging desserts. When travelling, use the app or website HappyCow which is a huge directory of vegan-friendly restaurants, cafes and more. Even McDonald’s and Greggs have vegan options!
Stay on track
Making vegan friends can also help you stay on track – search for local meet ups on Facebook or read posters in a local vegan-friendly café. There are over 600,000 vegans in Britain now so you shouldn’t have a problem meeting potential friends you could eat the latest vegan products with.
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