Tips for being vegan

Tip #1 Google It!

If you have a question about veganism, the Internet is often a great place to start looking for answers. Try Googling “is [product name] vegan” for some fast results. There are many vegan/vegetarian forums based in Australia and around the world. Often if you’ve had a question about something, another vegan has too.

Check out these forums for heaps of useful information from the worldwide vegan community:

Tip #2 Be a Happy, Healthy Vegan

It can be difficult for new vegans to deal with how their omnivorous friends and family respond to their new lifestyle. Whilst some vegans find their friends and family supportive, others might find it hard to deal with questions and teasing. You just need to keep in mind that you’re doing this for reasons that you believe in. Eventually your friends and family will see that this isn’t just a phase and they will hopefully learn to adjust. If you live with your parents and have relied on them to cook all your meals, then you’re probably going to have to cook for yourself.

Don’t see this as a negative thing, you’re taking a stand for something you believe in which is a very positive thing! Try not to take yourself too seriously or be too preachy. Let people ask you the questions first before engaging with them about veganism. The best thing to do is be a happy, healthy vegan and show them that veganism is easy and a great thing to do!

Recommended reading:

Tip #3 Learn to Cook

If you’ve been living on an omnivorous diet all your life, making the switch to vegan cooking might seem a bit daunting. Luckily, there are lots of great vegan recipes available in cookbooks and online. Check out these cookbooks, available online or in stores. Planet Books and Oxford St Books have a great range, or can order them in online.

If you want to save money or want to find a specific recipe check out the following websites. Don’t forget to use Google too. For example, try typing in a dish eg ‘lasagne’ with the words ‘vegan recipe’ after it, eg ‘lasagne vegan recipe’. You might be surprised at what ‘non-vegan’ dishes can be made vegan!”:

Tip #4 Educate Yourself

Whether you want to arm yourself with information about veganism to fend off questions or just for your own sake, it pays to be in the know about animal rights and veganism. Reading magazines or listening to podcasts can also make you feel less alone in the vegan community if you don’t know many vegans.

Books and Magazines

Some of these are available in public and university libraries:

Podcasts

Subscribe for free through iTunes:

Movies:

  • “Making the Connection” – a documentary about a vegan lifestyle and how it benefits people, other animals, and the environment. Watch it for free online here.
  • “I’m Vegan” – a documentary web series that has vegans from all over North America sharing their stories. Watch it for free online here.
  • “Earthlings” (an award-winning documentary film about the suffering of animals for food, fashion, pets, entertainment and research). Watch for free online here.
  •  “Eating” (a documentary about health and the benefits of eating a vegan diet).

Websites

Tip #5 Get Informed, Get Active

Sometimes it can be overwhelming thinking about all the injustices committed against animals in this world. Going vegan is the most important step in helping to end animal exploitation. You can help others to go vegan by doing animal rights activism or getting involved in other ways.

Check out these ideas:

  • Sign up for ARA’s Vegan Mentor Program.
  • Watch a video of animals being exploited to remind yourself why you should be vegan (see YouTube or watch “Earthlings”).
  • Go to a Vegan’s Unite get together.
  • Listen to a podcast such as Vegan Freak Radio or Vegetarian Food For Thought.
  • Talk to some vegans on forums.
  • Check out ARA’s website.
  • Listen to animal rights-themed music (google “About Time To Go Vegan” for a list of 54 great animal rights-themed songs, spanning many different genres from pop, hardcore, punk to hip-hop)
  • Read Vegan Freak.
  • Sign up to ARA’s E-newsletter so you can find out about and attend ARA’s events.

Tip #6 For Teenage Vegans

Teenage vegans face some challenges that don’t necessarily apply to other vegans, such as dealing with parents. Teenage vegan Claire Askew has written the book Generation V, which focuses on going and staying vegan as a teenager. You can hear her interviewed on Vegan Freak Radio here (her interview starts at 42.18), you can view some of the book Generation V online here and buy it here.

Food for Thought is a podcast by a teenage vegan from New Zealand.

Tip #7 For Vegan Parents

Remember that a vegan diet is suitable for all stages of life, including pregnancy, infancy and childhood, so don’t let doctors or anyone else tell you otherwise.

Vegan Parents Australia has a Perth chapter that you can get involved with:

Vegan Parents Australia is an organisation dedicated to bringing together and supporting vegan families by facilitating events and providing guidance, support and information. Has a Perth chapter: www.veganparents.org/

Here are some further links that may be useful for vegan parents: