Ever since Beyoncé launched her 22-day vegan meal plan with chef Marc Borges, vegan eating has been gaining popularity (it’s about time!). Which is why our recent discovery of vegan food blog and eating program Buddhalicious was the perfect kick in the pants we needed to get started. Founders Jenné Claiborne and Isabelle Steichen provide everything from weekly buddha bowl meal plans and vegan recipes to detailed shopping lists and lifestyle guidance that’ll help you get on board with your new lifestyle.
Below, the duo shares 5 tips for going vegan, even if you’ve never tried it before:
1. Clean up your pantry
In order to avoid the temptation of non-vegan fare, take some time to clean up your pantry and fridge by getting rid of all animal-based foods. While you are at it, also eliminate highly processed products that contain added oils and refined sugars, as well as sodas (full of empty calories).
2. Go step by step
For most of us, going vegan will be a radical change from our current diets, and change requires time. People need around 21 days to form a new habit, so take it step by step: Start by progressively adding more fruit and veggies, as well as grains, legumes, and nuts, to your menu, while cutting out meat, eggs, and dairy. Next, do one vegan day per week, then two, then three until you are all the way there.
3. Prep ahead
We get distracted from our good habits when we are weak, which is mainly when we’re tired or stressed and just want a quick something to eat. So make sure to prepare your meals in advance by taking a couple hours on the weekend to get your menu ready for the week. Grains, beans, roasted veggies, and dressings can all be prepped in advance. Many snacks like granola, hummus, and nut bars easily can be made ahead, too. Simple snack option: Stock up on fresh fruit and veggies.
4. Do your research when eating out
Eating vegan can be challenging in social settings at first if you’re not prepared—but it’s an easy thing to fix. Most restaurants have online menus, so you can always check them out in advance and make sure there’s a vegan option. If you’re in doubt, call ahead; believe us, most chefs love being a little creative and coming up with a delicious and unique vegan dish for you. Also, a lot of dishes can be veganized easily by asking to leave off the animal products, especially if they are just added on top (like for salads, pasta and pizza).
5. Make a list of your favorite comfort foods and find vegan recipes
Becoming vegan is not about restriction, it’s about expanding your horizon and discovering new, healthier, and more sustainable ways to eat your favorite dishes. Vegan mac and cheese, pizza, and burgers? Yes, that all exists. So make a list of your favorites and find blogs with vegan versions of them, and look for local restaurants that offer them on their menus. It’s easier than you think!