5 Tips to Kick-start Your Vegan Journey
I’ve finally managed to convince you to reduce your meat consumption. Great! Now, where do we start?
I know how difficult it can be to want to turn vegan but not know what to do, so I’ve put together 5 tips that I believe were the most crucial throughout my transition. Most of the tips are applicable to anyone in the world, and a guide on how to maintain a vegan lifestyle will be coming soon, but for now, enjoy these tips (in no particular order) to kick-start your journey!
This tip is probably not what you expected, but I found it to be one of the most effective. By informing people of your decision to eliminate animal products from your diet - or eat at least consume less meat - they will hold you accountable for your words. Once you publicize your intentions, you won’t have to constantly explain why you’re avoiding the chicken, and each time people see you reach for the sweet and sour pork, they’ll ask, “didn’t you say you were vegan?”. Because you don’t want to embarrass yourself, or because you don’t want to hurt your pride, you’ll most likely retract that hand and reach for some veggies instead.
Keep in mind, however, that very often, people will judge you and make snarky comments like “seriously? Oh, I can’t be friends with you anymore” or “you’re vegan? F you.” So prepare yourself for ignorant comments like those and remember that you, unlike them, are doing something beyond yourself :) On the other hand, a lot of people will feel inspired by your initiative and take interest in your decision to do so. If you’re lucky, they might even be keen on giving the lifestyle a try too!
2. Plant-based cookbooks, Youtube videos, Blogs, and Pinterest!
It’s normal to suddenly get into cooking when you first turn vegan. With access to so many food blogs, YouTube channels, cookbooks and more, I was so excited to try all these new recipes and experiment with different dishes! The following are some of my favorite resources, and all of them were key throughout my transition to veganism.
Thriving on Plants’ ebook (dm me if you want a discount @vegan.hk ;))
Tess Begg’s ebook (dm me if you want a discount @vegan.hk ;))
3. Stock up on staple foods.
Tofu, fruits, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, quinoa, smoothie bowl toppings (don’t forget to watch my IGTV video on how to create the perfect purple smoothie bowl), other legumes, etc (refer to this post on where to get your protein) - you’ll start to notice a trend in ingredients after you begin to explore those resources listed above. That is not to say that the recipes are all the same; the ingredients are similar, but the final results are always unique!
Furthermore, if you want to stock up on food in an environmentally/zero-waste style, you can purchase most of these items from Live Zero in either Sai Ying Pun or Sai Kung! Refer to my post Embarking on a Zero Waste Journey for more detailed information on that.
4. More resources!
Download the app Happy Cow - it shows you most of the places around Hong Kong (and a few others places in the world) that are vegan-friendly. However, if you are not willing to pay $8 HKD, Green Queen is a great source for gaining access to all stores that are eco-friendly and mostly vegan. You can also refer to the reviews on my blog for more specific information on vegan restaurants in Hong Kong. For more on-the-go research, Instagram is always your friend. It is such valuable source when it comes to finding restaurants in Hong Kong, so use it! Some guide-like vegan accounts you can follow are:
if you want to hear about the latest vegan collaborations and meet new social vegans: @socialveganhk and @greenmonday.david (bonus tip: befriend other vegans or join a vegan community - they will happily support you on your journey!)
if you are not ready to commit and want to begin your journey as a vegetarian first: @herbivore.hk, @vegetarian.hk
5. Do what works for you.
If it’s easier to dive right in, do that. If it’s easier to gradually remove items from your diet, do that. It’s about moving at your own pace, and regardless of which route you take, you’ll get there eventually! Just remember: don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good, and don’t let minor slip-ups hold you back. It’s okay if you accidentally eat something that contains milk here are there, but as long as you learn from your mistakes and avoid those products in the future, all is well! By taking the step to reduce your meat consumption, you are already contributing vastly to the reduction of climate change, and your effort plays a HUGE role in encouraging others to do the same. :)