How to Go Vegan in 2020 (10 Easy Steps)

How to Shop as a Vegan (& Store Cupboard Essentials)

Wondering how to go vegan but afraid you’ll fall off the wagon? Follow these 10 simple steps to make it a breeze! (Post originally published August 2019 and updated July 2020)

How to Go Vegan (10 Easy Steps). Image shows various whole food vegan ingredients such as tofu, brown rice, salsa and colourful vegetables on a plaster surface ready to be prepared for a meal.

I remember the day I went vegan well. It was 2012. I was on my way to visit my sister and standing in the train station a well-known food shop. I’d just decided I wanted to be vegan (looking back, not great timing). As I looked around for a snack to buy for my journey, I remember thinking: ‘Crap, I’m never going to be full again.’

There was literally nothing vegan available to buy except hummus and carrot sticks. I remember panicking and thinking if it was this hard, a vegan diet couldn’t possibly be sustainable. If this was all that was on offer for me now, how could I keep this up long-term?

Thankfully, seven years on (and still happily vegan!) I am glad to say that things have changed massively. The world has embraced veganism with impressive speed, and there are more and more options available in restaurants and stores each day. With this wealth of food available, it’s no longer a chore being vegan but a pleasure.

Despite this, I know how difficult it can be to make the initial switch, from reading labels, to explaining your diet to friends, to craving cheese! So if, like I was, you’re wondering how to go vegan and make it stick, read on for my 10 simple steps. Remember, if I can do it you absolutely can too! 🙂

How to Go Vegan (10 Easy Steps). Image shows a plate of pasta with homemade tomato sauce.

1) Go Slow


One of the easiest mistakes people make when going vegan is thinking it has to be done overnight. It doesn’t! It’s totally ok to take it slowly. Whilst it’s fantastic if you want to adopt a vegan diet all at once, it’s also great to start by just cutting down on your consumption of animal products.

Taking simple steps to begin like eating meat-free for one day a week, or one meal per day can be much more achievable than going fully vegan at first. Start with this, then progress to eating more vegan meals as you begin feeling comfortable with it.

And remember: be kind to yourself! You’re bound to fall off the wagon occasionally while you’re still new to this and that’s ok – it will get easier with time!

A vegan burger on a plate, filled with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and sprouts.

2) Don’t Focus on What You Can’t Eat (It’s a trap I fell into)


Many people thinking about how to go vegan often focus on what they’re cutting out of their diet, which is a sure-fire way to make yourself miserable! Instead of thinking about how much you miss cheese (this was definitely me), think about what you can enjoy instead.

For every food you’re worried about giving up, take some time to find an alternative that you love. Meat alternatives like the Beyond Burger have grown incredibly popular in the last couple of years, and there are a wealth of dairy alternatives out there too, like Yoso yoghurts and tons of nut-based cheeses. With a little experimenting, you’ll find some new products you love.

A tofu buddha bowl on a dark background. The bowl contains sauteed tofu, shaved beets and carrots, brown rice, cucumber and leafy greens. Sesame seeds are sprinkled on top of the tofu.

3) Embrace New Foods


Use this time as a new vegan to embrace all the foods you might not have tried before. Things like tempeh, tofu, nut butters, plant milks, coconut yoghurts and fermented foods are all delicious and have many varieties. It’s a pleasure trying out all these new foods, and more are appearing on the market every week!

Tempting as it is to try loads of vegan fast food substitutes (which are of course delicious), remember to primarily focus on whole and minimally processed foods to keep your nutrients boosted.

Overhead shot of four plates of vegan breakfast food photographed outside on Chickpea restaurant's terrace. The plates are full of colour and contain things such as vegan eggs benedict, waffles and hashbrowns.

4) Try New Restaurants


One of the best parts about going vegan! In almost every town and city now, there are a variety of vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants to choose from. If you’re tired of thinking about what to eat for dinner, sometimes going out (if viable for you) provides a welcome break and inspiration for your next meal!

You’ll even find that many chain restaurants now offer a vegan menu or options, too. The easiest way to find plant-based restaurants near you is to download the Happy Cow app. With it, you can find all vegan-friendly restaurants in your local area. Perfect.

How to Go Vegan (10 Easy Steps). Image shows various different coloured kale and collard leaves on a linen background.

5) Don’t Just Eat Junk


Oh, I know! It’s so tempting to live off vegan junk food when there are so many options to choose from! The reality though is that you need to eat a balanced diet in order to support your body, particularly when you’re transitioning to a new way of eating. It’s great to indulge in treats and fast food some of the time, but it’s not sustainable for the long-term.

If you’re looking for healthy, whole food plant-based recipes, you’ll find loads on this blog! My favourite easy ones for new vegans include Warming Bean Chili, Simple Chickpea Fritter Bowls, Winter Warming Dhal and Vegan Buddha Bowls with Tofu.

How to Go Vegan (10 Easy Steps). Image shows plates of Vegan Butter Spice Tofu on a white marble background. There is a bowl of turmeric nearby and a bunch of cilantro in the background.

6) Get Organised


Yes, changing your diet can seem like hard work, but it doesn’t have to be! Learning how to go vegan (and how to stick with it for good) is pretty easy if you just get a little organised. It sounds boring, but things like meal planning all really help here.

Plan the meals you’re going to cook ahead of time, and shop intentionally for them with a list. ALWAYS shop on a full stomach – that way you’ll be less tempted by all the treats! If you’re having trouble knowing what to buy, I have a handy guide here on How to Shop as a Vegan. You can also find my guide to vegan meal prep here.

How to Go Vegan (10 Easy Steps). Image shows ingredients to make homemade tomato pasta sauce on a white marble surface. A woman's hand can be seen holding a bulb of garlic on a chopping board.

7) Learn a Few Basic Recipes


This follows on from the point above. Don’t try to master complicated recipes when you first go vegan – learn a few simple ones and make them your trusted favourites. Recipes like warming bean chili and easy vegetable stew all yield lots of portions and are simple to make, requiring just one pot. They’re great as leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day and are packed full of healthy ingredients.

By all means, take the plunge and go for complicated gourmet recipes once you’ve found your feet, but at first be kind to yourself, take it slow and cook meals you’re comfortable with.

Overhead image of pink smoothie in a mason jar with a pink striped straw. A vase of pink flowers is visible below it.

8) Supplement


I’m not a nutritionist and don’t have any health qualifications so I can’t advise specifically on this, but it is worth reading up on any supplements you should take when adopting a vegan diet.

As with any dietary change, you want to make sure you’re not missing out on nutrients so it’s a good idea to check in with a professional who can advise on this. Plant-based doctor Gemma Newman offers some great guidance on the supplements she recommends for vegans, including B12 and vitamin D.

Overhead image showing several pairs of hands with chopsticks picking at a Japanese-style vegan meal on a wooden table. There are several dishes such as rice, tofu, carrots, and seaweed salad.

9) Ask for Support


Don’t do it alone! There are loads of great organisations and groups out there for anyone wondering how to go vegan. Veganuary and The Vegan Society are both excellent resources. There are also many vegan magazines available these days containing recipes and inspiring guides on nutrition, shopping, travel etc.

Look for local Meetups and social events with other plant-based peeps, and chat to your friends! Just because they may not be going vegan themselves doesn’t mean they won’t be supportive and interested. You might be surprised.

Man in a bright blue shirt against a red brick wall holds an ice cream cone. The ice cream has two scoops: one is white, one is pink studded with nuts.

10) Don’t Get Disheartened


Changing your diet is a huge leap, and what you’re doing is amazing! It’s natural that there will be moments when it all feels like too much or where you might fall off the wagon.

If this happens, there are loads of things you can do. First – breathe, and don’t beat yourself up too much! Second – remember why you decided to go vegan in the first place. Sometimes it helps to think about your reasons for choosing to go vegan in order to help you keep going. Third – if you can, go out for food and take a break. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but sometimes enjoying some delicious vegan food that you didn’t have to cook yourself can take a lot of pressure off.

And remember: the change you’ve made is a big one – it’s ok if you can’t do it all perfectly from the start! Enjoy the process – before you know it you’ll have been vegan for years!

If you’re new to a plant-based diet, you might be interested in some of my how-to guides for new vegans. Why not try How to Make Plant-based Milks, How to Shop as a Vegan and my guide to Vegan Meal Prep.

Man in a light-coloured stripy t-shirt holds a raw sandwich filled with lettuce, tomato and other vegetables.Are you wondering how to go vegan? It can be daunting, so this guide provides tips and advice on going vegan for beginners. Whether you want to follow a completely plant-based diet or just reduce meat consumption, this guide has all the info you need, broken into manageable steps. #howtogovegan #govegan #gamechangers #veganforbeginners #veganlifestyle

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