Viva: A beginners guide to choosing vegan

One of the Going for Gold actions individuals can take is to eat more meat-free meals. Louisa Kendal from the Bristol-based Viva!, the national vegan campaigning charity, has provided this helpful beginners guide to choosing vegan.

Our diets play a huge part in how sustainable we are as individuals and organisations. All too often we sit down to eat without actually thinking how our food got to our plate, but with Veganuary in full-swing, there’s never been a better time to make a change to Eat Better.

I believe that choosing vegan is the single most effective way we can become more sustainable on a personal and societal level. We can lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduce deforestation, lower land and water usage and even save lives, all by making simple swaps when we sit down to eat.

At Viva!, we know it can feel daunting to begin choosing vegan. You might be unsure about what you’ll eat, or be worried you’ll have to wave goodbye to your favourite foods. Luckily, we’ve put together this guide to help you start your vegan journey and become more sustainable in 2020.

Do foodie research

Bristol is one of the best places to begin your vegan journey but it can still be useful to do some research before going to eat out or doing your weekly shop.

Visit Vegan Recipe Club to find vegan alternatives to your favourite recipes, or if you’re not too much a kitchen wiz, ‘Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook’  will show you how to make simple convince meals from supermarket foods. Building your shopping list from these recipes is a great way to get in the habit of choosing vegan, and will make sure you don’t accidentally buy something with animal products in while you’re getting used to the change.

It’s also a good idea to look at which restaurants have vegan options before eating out. There are lots of amazing vegan restaurants in Bristol like Koocha and Oowee, and most other restaurants have decent options. My Vegan Town is a great app for finding vegan restaurants.

Join some vegan Facebook groups

Facebook groups are a great way to find support and advice online. Bristol Vegans is a very active group that are often sharing new vegan restaurants or options in supermarkets, asking advice on how to deal with tricky situations and organising social events so you can meet other vegans. You can also message Viva! on Facebook with any queries about veganism and we’re always happy to answer questions and offer advice.

There are also recipe pages where you can get cooking inspiration, and ask any questions you might have about which products are vegan or where you can get vegan versions of your fave treats. Vegan Recipe Club is a great page to start at for vegan recipes and new product updates.

Get your friends and colleagues involved

Getting your friends and colleagues involved is a great way to make going vegan easier. You can share your experiences, mishaps and successes making it a social activity as well as a sustainable one!

You can have vegan dinner parties and office lunches to show off your new vegan skills, and it means even more people are making sustainable decisions to maximise the impact. And having a support network around you is invaluable when beginning on your vegan journey to motivate each other, share recipes and talk about how the transition is going.

With these resources, the beginning of your vegan journey should be much easier and allow you to settle into making more sustainable decisions much smoother. Bristol is a great place to be vegan and Viva! are always hear to offer support and advice while you make more compassionate and sustainable life choices.

For more information on going and staying vegan, visit viva.org.uk

Louisa is the Digital Communications Officer at Viva! Louisa has been vegan for four years and is passionate about creating a more compassionate world for all. Her background is in journalism and marketing, and she enjoys philosophy and dancing in her free time.

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