Many posts on this blog so far are as we would say ‘advanced vegan topics’ – topics, which you’ll come across when already chosen to live a vegan lifestyle when already adopted new habits.
Our focus here at the moment are mainly new vegans or transitioning vegans, but we want to provide you with as much information as possible. Therefore we chose to make this blog post here, as we think it can be of great help to provide you, and especially those who are brave enough to self-reflect and who are ready to make a life-changing decision for the animals. Here’s our vegan starter kit. We want to help you filter what’s primarily important to know when committing to a vegan lifestyle.
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We talk to many people at ‘Cube of Truth’ events by Anonymous for the Voiceless and we are amazed and glad that so many people realize, that what we as a human species are doing to the animals, is wrong. We are glad to see and hear, that people have the will to change to stop this injustice from happening when they are aware of it.
We are glad people have not yet forgotten what it means to feel compassion and to have empathy – most were just raised by society, tradition and habits to push it away and not see it in order to fit in. Our habits are strongly controlled by the media and the industry for profits. We are grateful for so many individuals committing to look into veganism in order to make a change for the animals.
There’s no book to follow, no person to praise, but the easiest way of being your most honest self: Listen to your heart and be open to learn and change.
We also know that it can be very overwhelming at first. This wave of information in different aspects of life, and concerning so many topics we’ve never thought of before. But, we have good news: we can all manage it and we all learn and want to learn about what we can do better day by day, starting by changing our views on life in general, the animals and our habits. We start to judge and criticize everything and ourselves, in order to make a change and to align our actions to our morals. This is what makes us humane. This is what makes us humans. This is what makes us all so powerful. We can change to make this planet a better place for all earthlings.
THE 3 PARTS OF THE VEGAN STARTER KIT
This vegan starter kit consists of 3 main parts:
- It’s All About Information
- Kick-Start at Cooking and Must-haves
- Breaking Habits
We talk about each part individually. If you already feel comfortable with one of the parts, feel free to skip the ones you know of already. If you have any further questions at the end: post a comment, as it may be interesting for others as well.
IT’S ALL ABOUT INFORMATION
Information is key when going vegan – when choosing a vegan lifestyle and especially for staying vegan for good. Lack of detailed information on the animal industry combined with strong social structures and cultural habits, a monotone thinking run by the media and industry, is mostly the reason why the majority of people aren’t vegan yet.
We get manipulated. People are very likely to go vegan (sometimes even overnight), when made aware of the animal industry/business or finding out themselves what’s wrong with our society, seeing and realizing the injustice done to the animals. It is so important, especially at the beginning to get as much information as possible. Watch as many documentaries as possible and/or read as many articles, blog posts and books on ethics, nutrition, and our environment. And even if it is hard to inform yourself regularly, it is so important to know WHY you’re doing it.
We sometimes forget how horrifically cruel the industry is, in order to function on a daily basis. Therefore it is so important to remind ourselves periodically on the topic, but know when it is enough to avoid depression.
KICK-START AT COOKING AND MUST-HAVES
- What can I/do I want to eat?
- How do I choose my meals?
- How many of what nutrients are necessary?
- I hate cooking, what can I eat?
All the questions above are important and will definitely be a part of your change. To take out the pressure a bit: Nowadays you can eat everything you are used to eating only in a vegan version. People in urban areas definitely have an advantage and the benefit of having better access to vegan alternatives to animal-derived products. If you want the taste and texture of meat, buy a vegan steak or Schnitzel from the vegan section at a grocery store. If you want yogurt, buy a soy yogurt, coconut or lupine yogurt. If you want some dip for vegetables or bread, buy one of the many hummus’ or vegetable spreads offered. If you want milk in your coffee or tea, buy plant milk made out of cashews, soy, almonds, oats, rice and even hemp, and many more. If you want cheese, buy vegan cheese at an organic store or supermarket.
It is really easy, as there are so many different products offered at most food stores already. It only needs some change of thinking, adventurous and creative personality and a little bit of extra time, in the beginning, to get oriented and adapt your new, kind and compassionate way of living.
If some products aren’t available at your local supermarket, go online and look for an online shop. No excuses – we all can do it if you’re able to read our words here online.
We’re also here to list you some must-haves to always keep stored at home as a vegan, so you are never tempted to fall back into old habits out of convenience, like ordering a non-vegan pizza – especially at the beginning. Btw if you want vegan pizza and don’t have a vegan pizza place and delivery in your area, order a marinara or a vegetable pizza and simply order it without cheese and put some vegan cheese on top. Tadaaaa!
Things we always have at home stacked in our pantry/store room and kitchen, which we buy on mass at the beginning of every month if necessary:
- nutritional yeast – perfect for a cheesy taste or nutty taste
- all kinds of herbs – herbs make every meal delicious
- smoked tofu – for all kinds of recipes and toppings
- oats – for cereals and/or paddies
- plant milk (oat, almond, vanilla, and chocolate)
- lentils and red beans in cans (the big ones – you’ll need them) and uncooked
- various nuts and seeds
- noodles – without eggs
- vegan noodle sauces (when in a rush or too lazy to cook)
- frozen vegetables and fruits
- frozen pita or bread
- hummus and/or chickpeas in cans to make hummus
- B12 supplements (plant-based)
- fresh vegetables
MOCK MEATS & ANIMAL-FREE SAUSAGES
Especially at the beginning, you’ll probably buy more processed foods, alternatives, which are on the market to make your new, cruelty-free lifestyle easier to switch to. They also give you a great idea of what you can eat or even cook yourself one day. Don’t let anyone criticize you buying these foods – if there’s a cruelty-free version of something, why wouldn’t you want to choose that instead of buying something, that caused immense suffering, pain, and death? If someone says it’s not natural to eat mock meats and vegan processed alternatives – well, we don’t see what’s natural about dead animal parts, shredded and pressed into animal skin and guts, full of added sugars, medication, fear, and pain – and call it a sausage?
Please know: processed foods, in general, are not the healthiest vegan foods, but definitely the most convenient ones at the beginning in order to help you with your transition or when traveling. When you will have the time and interest in looking further into cooking, you’ll quickly find lots of delicious new and cheap recipes in order to go even more into a whole foods plant-based diet – a healthy, varied diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and grains. Here are some great sources:
- Pinterest (look for ‘healthy vegan foods’)
- 2 Vegans 1 Cup (Austrian, German-speaking Channel)
- Avantgarde Vegan
- Caitlin Shoemaker
I HATE COOKING, WHAT CAN I EAT?
We realized that the majority of people don’t have a great interest in cooking fresh food and/or don’t have the time to prepare it. We didn’t either – at least me (Kerstin). We always recommend though to take at least a little bit of time (just half a day or so) to face up to cooking your own food. Isn’t that ‘what humans always did’? – Sry, we had to.
You don’t have to love cooking to take at least a little bit of time to reflect, what you’re putting in your only machine – your body – which needs to function properly as long as possible, every single day. And who knows, maybe you’ll find a new passion for cruelty-free delicious cooking through your veganism as we did.
You can also be vegan and not cook at all – but don’t complain about the high costs in the end. Buying processed vegan foods (mock meats and such) is just as expensive as processed dead animal bodies. Going vegan doesn’t automatically mean you’re eating healthy, it simply means you’re eating violence free.
PREPARING WHOLEFOOD MEALS
Always cook more than you can eat at one meal, and you’ll thank yourself the next few days for it. When following a plant-based vegan diet, it can easily get just as monotone as eating the same animal ‘products’ – especially when being at work or even at home. Always cook more portions, which you can always combine with different side dishes to switch up your diet and add all kinds of different nutrients to your meal.
We always recommend having two to three vegan granola bars with you or fruit – just in case –, if you’re stuck at work or at an event and there’s nothing there for you to eat or aren’t sure if it is vegan (a very rare situation).
VEGANIZING FOOD – THE ENDLESS OPPORTUNITIES
The easiest thing we always recommend people is to write down their most favorite meals and list them as vegan and non-vegan. For the non-vegan meals, then write down what’s not vegan about them, go to the internet – probably one of the best sources is Pinterest or simply Google – and try to find easy vegan swaps for non-vegan ingredients and use them the next time. Simply veganize your food.
Don’t expect them to taste eeexactly the same, but hey – you’re cooking your food cruelty-free. No animal was exploited and killed for your taste. I believe we all can adapt to a slightly different taste, in order to eat without supporting violence, can’t we? Also, your taste buds will adapt to new flavors and when your vegan journey does hand in hand with an education on the animal industry, you’ll be surprised how easy it is all of a sudden. Try to see it as a benefit, not a sacrifice. It is not something heroic you do, but a matter of course. Not causing unnecessary harm isn’t something you should be proud of, but which should come naturally.
If your most favorite food contains meat and you are sick of the ‘overpriced’ (ask yourself: how much is a life possibly worth?) alternatives at your local supermarket, invest in some cool cooking books by these amazing cooks:
Or simply go on the internet and look for specific traditional cookbooks, and type ‘vegan’ in front of your search or like we learned before: take any recipe and simply veganize it. The possibilities are endless. Try ripped mushrooms, soy granule, tofu or seitan. Season it, preserve it overnight, use smokey flavors and find a new, maybe forgotten passion in preparing food for your only body. Be creative, explore local vegan options at restaurants, get together with friends and cook for them and we promise you, you’ll never ever miss any animal product ever again, but you’ll feel better than ever before.
Our whole life is based on what we’ve always learned – ingrained habits. The amazing thing is: we can relearn and reorder those habits, we can adapt them. It just takes a little bit of involvement and ease.
If we keep ourselves constantly informed to let ourselves know Why we’re vegan, we’re most likely to stay vegan, for the animals. The first few days are probably the most inconvenient ones and most tough ones, as we’re trained to conveniently function throughout the day, the week, and basically our whole life. We highly recommend the Vegan 22 Challenge, offering a personal coach through the first 21+1 days – as it is said that it takes 21 days to adopt a new habit or the Veganuary Challenge, which is also for free!
The following 6 months of being vegan, are probably the toughest ones concerning any vegan’s social life. We, therefore, recommend reading our blog post on the following topics:
The most important thing you need to remember: ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’. If you stand against animal cruelty and the horrific conditions non-human sentient beings are in, if you want to align your actions to your morals and act humanely, if you’re pro-environmental change, care about world hunger, and additionally care about your own health as well – not specifically to live longer but more consciously, without taking the high risk of heart diseases at an early age – then your path is clear: go vegan.
To be vegan takes openness, self-reflection, awareness, honesty, and a very strong will to withstand what society lets us believe is right. But, think for yourself. Feel and act for yourself with empathy. It’s not mainly about us, but the animals, how we want to see this world to be: cruel or kind? It’s about justice and equality. Being vegan is seeing the things as they are and do something about it. When you read this, you’re already at a point, where the first step of making a change is already made: facing the issue. Congratulations!!!
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Please note: All definitions of words and/or stated facts are based on the correct terminology and are carefully research and the sources taken are linked here or directly in the blog post. This blog post is also stating a personal opinion and views on certain topics.
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