How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

Since we were little, many of us were taught that animal products should be a part of every meal we consume. That being said, the majority of people couldn’t possibly imagine making a transition to a plant-based diet, considering how they’ve been omnivores ever since they can remember. However, transitioning to a vegan diet is something that should definitely be considered, given how animal products affect human health, not to mention how animal agriculture is polluting the environment and contaminating drinking water. Considering how plant-based diet could help preserve our planet and help us all live a much healthier (and longer) life, we thought we’d gather some of the most important information about going vegan to help get you started. Hungry for a change? Here are five tips that will help you seamlessly transition to a vegan lifestyle.

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

Make a decision to introduce dietary changes

First things first, going vegan requires a certain approach, and many vegans like to think in terms of replacing, and not restricting when transitioning to a new diet. Our minds are powerful mechanisms that can be adjusted to work in a certain way, and whatever you choose to believe, your mind will adopt it as the truth. Even though it may be hard to let go of everything that’s familiar, when you consider the reasons why you’re doing it, the process becomes much easier. And instead of thinking about what you’re losing by transitioning to a vegan diet, think about what you’re gaining – it will help you develop the right mindset.

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

Do your homework

As with any dietary change, you’ll need to get informed and read up about vegan nutrition to ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs. If you do some research yourself, you’ll find some quality blogs that regularly post articles on how to go vegan which provide a comprehensive, in-depth look at plant-based nutrition, explaining how to stage your approach and modify the habit loop for a seamless transition to a vegan lifestyle. Not only will getting informed ensure you get the right nutrients, but it’ll also prepare you for any questions and concerns that may be raised by those around you.

Vegan replacements – an easy way to start

For anyone looking to make the switch in a quick and easy way, vegan replacements are the way to go. Habits are very hard to break – they make us who we are, and in some way, we’re slaves to our habits. Because breaking our eating habits is difficult, the easiest way to go about it is to modify them. Nowadays, there are so many veganized versions of your favorite meals that you won’t even feel cravings for meat, dairy, or other animal products. The taste of non-dairy milk such as almond or coconut milk may seem strange at first, but that’s only because you’re used to drinking dairy milk. Eventually, you will come to love the alternative and even start to prefer it.

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

Pick a few recipes and go grocery shopping

One of the things that make the transition to veganism difficult is the fact that you’re getting into uncharted waters, and you’re not exactly sure how to approach the new diet and what to look for when grocery shopping. The best way to start is to browse the internet for some healthy, vegan recipes. You’ll be amazed at how many plant-based meal recipes there are and how delicious and tasty they can be if only you give them a try! The key is to be open to new flavors and ingredients. Pick a couple of recipes that seem interesting, grab your linen tote and go grocery shopping!

Look for vegan versions of everyday products

When it comes to veganism, it’s more than the food choices you make – it’s also about the products you use on a daily basis. Although it usually starts that way, once you adopt the plant-based diet, you’ll naturally want to do more. In fact, you’ll probably start to research further on the topic and all the other aspects vegan lifestyle comprises. You may start to look for alternatives to your pillows filled with down feathers, and you’ll probably be more cautious when purchasing clothing and shoes and opt for faux fur or artificial leather rather than the animal-based version of the product. In short, once you go vegan, chances are you’ll start being more cautious about what you let your dollar vote for.

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

In the words of Robin Sharma: “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and so gorgeous at the end.” Once you experience all the benefits that come with adopting a plant-based diet, you’ll realize that the grass really is greener on the vegan side!

It will give you the practical help you need to implement change in how you eat, shop, and live immediately, without having to go vegan in stages. It is a simple guide that will help you to understand the basics of WHAT veganism is, WHY we need to be vegan, and HOW to be vegan. If you would like to share the kit with others please ask them to register here. If you know someone without internet access who would benefit from a hard copy, please contact us.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

Go Vegan World is a Public Vegan Advertising Campaign.

Go Vegan World is dedicated to the complete cessation of human use of other animals through vegan education.

The site links to other websites, individuals, organisations, and media but Go Vegan World does not necessarily endorse or agree with all of their material. Go Vegan World explicitly does not promote content that is not vegan; that promotes reduced animal use; gradual elimination of animal products; vegetarianism; welfare reform, a compromised representation of non-humans; violent direct action; or any behaviour that is designed to undermine and harm other animals and other rights based activists acting on their behalf. Go Vegan World supports critical examination of our theories and methods of advocacy; but it does not condone exclusion, attack, bullying or personal criticism, or commandeering of other activists’ advocacy efforts.

Go Vegan World is not responsible for the manner in which any person volunteering, for or in any way associated with our work, represents that work in public.

Go Vegan World literature, and the Go Vegan World Guide, are available for like-minded animal rights activism. The campaign ad material is NOT available for use by other organisations. Years of research and work have gone into making the Go Vegan World campaign the unique and strong message that it is. It is inspired and informed by individuals at Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary. Plagiarising the work of Go Vegan World or asking to do so, negates the animals’ role in their own campaign and does them a disservice. So, while we are happy to advise and help others choose their own content, please do not ask to replicate ours. Thank you for your understanding.

Although many activists cite our information and research, and advocate by referring to our written, audio and visual material, Go Vegan World is not responsible for the manner in which they advocate or any misinterpretation of our material. Go Vegan World explicitly asks that every advocate referencing our work is familiar with its factual basis and accurately reflects its ethical, abolitionist position. Unless Go Vegan World issues a public statement supporting the shared use of our material by another individual or organisation, that individual or organisation has used our material against our wishes.

Individuals or organisations might credit Go Vegan World individuals or Go Vegan World material in their work, but this does not equate with Go Vegan World having willingly consented to shared use of our materials.

Some campaign literature, such as the Vegan Guide, is available to vegan educators and animal rights activists. The campaign literature cannot be altered. The literature is permitted for use only in the context of vegan education that calls for complete and immediate cessation of animal use. The material is not to be used in conjunction with single issue campaigns, or by activists who promote the human benefits of veganism over veganism as an ethical obligation to other animals, activists who promote vegetarianism, Meatless Mondays, reduced animal use, or gradual elimination of animal use. It is not the intention of Go Vegan World to criticise other activists. However, if our methods of advocacy are radically different, please do not use Go Vegan World material to campaign for something that we regard as being of less significance to the animals whose freedom from oppression we strive for than vegan campaigning.

If you wish to use our literature including brochures, flyers and the Vegan Guide please contact us at [email protected]

The fact that the campaign literature including the brochures, flyers and the Vegan Guide, is used by other individuals and organisations does not conflate with any partnership with them or any endorsement of them or their advocacy theory or methodology.

Go Vegan World is inspired, informed and guided by the residents of Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary. It is their campaign and as a result it is animal focused and directed at non-vegans in an effort to move us closer to a vegan world.

The information provided on human health is not designed to replace medical advice. If you have health concerns that you think may be related to your diet, please consult a doctor or registered dietitian.

Vegetarianism, more specifically a vegan lifestyle has gotten more attention recently and I am writing this article to show how it is possible to adhere to a vegan lifestyle and still make great gains as a bodybuilder.

Power Up with BodyFit

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

BodyFit is your solution to all things fitness. Join today and unleash the power of BodyFit!

  • 2,500+ expert-created workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Exclusive workout tips from the experts
  • Access to Workout Plans
  • Access to BodyFit App
  • Store Discounts

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

I would first like to apologize for the long layoff between articles. I have been busy in the past few months working on getting my modeling career started, dieting down for a couple of photo shoots with the most notable for the January issue of Muscle & Fitness Magazine and signing with an agency.

Vegan Lifestyle

Vegetarianism, more specifically a vegan lifestyle has gotten more mainstream attention in recent years and I am writing this article in an effort to show how it is possible to adhere to a vegan lifestyle and still make great gains as a bodybuilder.

Different Kinds Of Vegetarians

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarianism: Lacto-ovo vegetarians are people who do not eat meat, but do include dairy products (lacto) and eggs (ovo) in their diets. Lacto-ovo vegetarianism is sometimes recommended as a dietary therapy for a variety of conditions, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol, obesity, osteoporosis, hypertension, gout, gallstones, kidney stones, ulcers, colitis, hemorrhoids, premenstrual syndrome, anxiety and depression.

Lacto Vegetarianism: A lacto vegetarian diet is a vegetarian diet that includes dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, cream, and kefir. Unlike a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, eggs are excluded. This diet is popular with many followers of Eastern religious traditions, such as Sikhism, Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism. It has also been popularised internationally since the 1960s by the Hare Krishna movement.

Ovo Vegetarianism: Ovo vegetarians are vegetarians who eat eggs but not meat or dairy products.

Veganism: Vegans (pronounced vee-guns) are vegetarians who do not eat any foods (eggs, dairy products, meat, etc.) derived from animal sources. Most vegans also do not use products that require for their production the death or suffering of animals, such as leather, fur, wool and certain cosmetics.

It is my goal to show how a vegan lifestyle can still help bodybuilders make great gains but in no way am I attempting to push my beliefs and lifestyle on anyone. This article is for anyone who is interested in a vegan bodybuilding lifestyle and those who would like to know more about being a vegan bodybuilding.

This article is the first of many installments that I will be writing over the course of the year. In this first part I will highlight workouts that will help vegan bodybuilders build muscle.

Vegan Vs. Regular Capsules

Regular capsules use animal gelatin (or animal ‘jelly’ – made from boiled bones, skins and tendons of animals) while Vegetarian caps are all natural non-gelatin based.

Vegetarian caps can also be made from Agar-agar, which is derived from seaweed, (but expensive). It can also be made from Kazu.

Products like Jello, gum and snack pack can potentially have gelatin in it, but there are variations of each of these products made by the same companies without gelatin.

So, if a product has ‘gelatin’, it cant be vegan

Vegan Workouts

It is tempting to try the workouts that are listed in many of the muscle magazines. However, it is important for vegans to realize that their lifestyle and nutrition programs do not support the recovery necessary to train with high volume and frequency. I can vouch to this from experience.

It does not take much to stimulate muscle growth, heavy weight and low reps will get the job done. It is important to keep workouts under 45 minutes. Most of my workouts last only 30-to-35 minutes. Later on in the year toward “beach season” I will highlight workouts and routines to help shed body fat and cut up but the main point of this article is to build muscle.

How much, if any cardio to be done is based on the individual. When I bulk up I do not do any cardio at all, but I would say that those who would like to do cardio, do 2-to-3 sessions of 15-to-20 minutes at a low intensity per week. The bike, elliptical or walking or jogging on the treadmill are great choices.

Keep the intensity, frequency and duration low. Also, make sure to have a vegan-friendly protein shake (soy, rice, hemp) 20 minutes before doing cardio to prevent any muscle loss during the cardio workout.

Weight Lifting Guidelines

  1. Work each body part once per week.
  2. Keep workouts under 45 minutes.
  3. Lift heavy weight and low reps.
  4. Perform 3-to-4 exercises for large muscle groups and 2-to-3 exercises for smaller muscle groups.
  5. I keep my repetitions between 4-and-6 for core lifts (Bench Press, Deadlift and Squats) and 6-to-10 for all other lifts.

The Workout Split

The following is the way that I split my workouts up. If I have time and my schedule allows for it, I do two separate workouts with a workout for the first body part of the day in the morning and the workout for the other muscle group to be worked that I perform later in the evening.

  • Sunday: Off
  • Monday: Chest & Triceps
  • Tuesday: Back & Biceps
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Legs & Abs
  • Friday: Shoulders & Traps
  • Saturday: Off

The Workouts

I used to have workouts set in stone and I never varied from them, but after having seven years of training under my belt, I have become more aware of my body and in-tune to how I feel. Now I go into the gym with a plan and goal of what I want to achieve but I listen to my body and adjust the sets, reps and exercises that I perform based on how I feel on that given day.

For example with chest I may have planned to do the barbell bench press, incline dumbbell presses and dumbbell flyes, but for some reason my body tells me that the flyes are not going to happen today, I switch to the cable cross-over or pec-deck flye instead.

With all of that said, here are my typical workouts with each body part with the substitutions that I use for certain exercises.

So you’re thinking of trying a vegan lifestyle, but don’t know where to begin?

Here is a list of 10 resources to help you get started on the compassionate road to veganism!

1. Happy Herbivore: Lindsay Shay Nixon has a beautiful assortment of plant-based cookbooks that are not only user-friendly but help you produce delicious meals. Along with her cookbooks, like Every Day Happy Herbivore and Happy Herbivore Abroad, she has a website complete with recipes and vegan 101 information for people who are new to this way of life. She posts videos demonstrating her cooking skills and for those that need more she provides meal plans that include a shopping list and step by step instructions on how to prepare dishes ahead for freezing. This is an excellent resource for anyone interested in pursuing a plant-based diet.

2. The 30 Day Vegan Challenge: Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is a well-known vegan writer and activist. Not only does she have a plethora of vegan cookbooks to choose from like The Vegan Table and Color Me Vegan, but she has The 30 Day Vegan Challenege in which she walks you through a month of transition from from omnivore to herbivore. Each day includes videos or a recorded audio of tips, suggestions, cooking demonstrations and recipes that guide you through this journey. This is $20.00 well-spent for the vegan newbie.

3. Post Punk Kitchen: Isa Chandra Moskowitz created this website from a dream of having a vegan cooking show. While only six shows were filmed, Isa continued to be a forerunner in the vegan cooking community by producing several awesome cookbooks such as Vegan With a Vengence and Veganomicon. She has rockin website with recipes, a blog and a forum for those with concerns and questions. Most of all, her pillow pancake recipe is amazing!

4.The Fat Free Vegan: Susan Voison has an incredible website with an enormous recipe database that is full of not only vegan food, but oil-free. This is great for those trying to lose weight or for people with heart concerns and need an oil-free diet. Not sure if consuming a no-fat diet is healthy? Susan answers all your questions pertaining to this issue. The best part of her site is the recipe index which allows you to keep a customized list of your favorite recipes for menu planning or when you just want to find it in the future.

5. Forks Over Knives: Are you looking for more information in the health benefits of a vegan diet? Do you want to share with friends and family why you are pursuing this lifestyle? This documentary gives a whole lot of information in a gentle and comprehensible way and has an array of anecdotal stories sprinkled with appearances from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, T. Colin Cambell, PhD., and Dr. Neal Barnard. This is an indispensable resource for those looking for answers to health concerns and benefits of a plant-based diet.

6.Chocolate Covered Katie: So you think being vegan means no more chocolate or sweets? Hell no! You can definitely have your cake (a vegan one) and eat it too. Kate Higgins has created a whole website dedicated to delicious and healthy desserts that can please any sweet-lover. Do you need to bring a scrumptious dessert to a potluck or are you hosting a party? Katie has you covered!

7.Vegucated: Do you need some inspiration to become vegan? Vegucated is a documentary that follows three meat-eating people that commit to an animal free diet for six weeks. This straight forward and honest film highlights many of the issues that arise when someone first begins this transition. Familial pressure, and tempting dinners out in mixed company are common worries for most people. These three volunteers pull you along on their journey by learning about factory farming, inhumane treatment to animals, and dealing with the emotions associated to discovering these heartbreaking truths.

8. The Kind Life: Alicia Silverstone is not only a great actress, but she is a vegan activist as well. While her blog includes vegan recipes and 101 information, it also covers breastfeeding issues for mothers, and applying veganism to your everyday life such as the cosmetics you choose and the clothes you wear. In a separate section, she enlists the help of her fans to be a part of something to promote change. Petitions can be signed, products may be boycotted, and fair trade is sought out. This is definitely one you will want to bookmark!

9. Skinny Bitch: If you are the type that needs a slap in the face to get motivated, this book is your ticket. Rory Freedman’s writing is an in-your-face style that lays out all of the horrors you really don’t want to hear. Like a drill sergeant, she puts you down only to show you how to improve yourself by choosing a more ethical diet. She has a cookbook too, a book directed at men and has a fiction piece that was released recently. This series is not for the faint of heart.

10. Thug Kitchen: Speaking of not being for the faint of heart, I present Thug Kitchen. While this blogger is not vegan, almost his whole site has plant-based recipes. Sitting down and reading his blog will probably make you laugh pretty hard with his obscene expletive-filled discourse and candid writing. Just go look at it. Nothing I can say will do it justice.

Well, there you have it: a top 10 guide for those of you exploring a compassionate, plant-based, vegan way of living. I’m sure there are many more options that are just as awesome.

Please share any that you find valuable in the comments below.

If Veganuary has inspired you to make a change, these tips will help 🙏

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

Over the last few years, the rise in (and reputation of) veganism has sky-rocketed – as have the plant-based food options on offer in supermarkets (shout out to ASDA’s own-brand vegan bacon) and restaurants – in part, due to Veganuary. People make the change for a myriad of reasons, from a passion for animal welfare to personal health factors.

Whether you’ve already dipped a toe into adopting a vegan diet, or are still considering making the change, you may well be feeling a tad *daunted* by the whole thing. And that’s totally okay/normal! Especially as there’s also a tonne of discussion surrounding vegan beauty products and fashion to consider too. However, at the end of the day it’s up to you (and you alone) as to whether or not you’re solely experimenting with making your diet more plant-based, or opting for an entire vegan lifestyle overhaul.

For those wanting diet-based facts, this is everything Sabine Gransden, a nutritionist and health coach for Human Health by The Clinic, wants you to know about going vegan:

1) Avoid processed foods

“Many people who change their lifestyle to become vegan tend to reach for processed vegan foods that we find so easily available on shelves in supermarkets these days,” says Gransden. “Try to avoid too many ready meals, as they can often be full of additives and sugar and are highly processed. Make sure you thoroughly read the ingredients list too!” She advises planning ahead and opting for whole foods, including lots of different coloured fresh vegetables and fruit.

2) Don’t scrimp on the protein

There are plenty of brilliant vegan protein options out there, however as the proteins we get from plant-based foods aren’t as well digested as those from animal-based foods, you’ll need to make an effort to ensure you’re eating enough. “Aim for at least 3 servings per day of legumes (lentils, beans, peanuts, peas, tofu or tempeh),” says Gransden. A word of warning here though: if your body isn’t used to eating a lot of legumes, start by introducing them slowly. “They can potentially cause digestive issues, such as bloating, to start with but this will reduce once your body adapts.”

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

3) Take a vitamin B12 supplement

Vitamin B12 deficiency is very common in vegans, notes Gransden. In fact, according to recent studies, over 90% of vegans are B12 deficient compared to 11% of omnivores. “It’s a common myth that it’s possible to get enough B12 from plant sources alone, such as fermented soy and seaweed, but they contain a different form of the vitamin.” A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anaemia and nerve damage, so taking a daily supplement could be a good idea, but it’s always best to book in for a chat with your GP first – they’ll be able to guide you on how best to approach diet changes or supplements. Sprinkling nutritional yeast (a good fortified source of B12) can help too.

4) And one for EPA and DHA levels

Get ready for a bit of a science lesson, lads: the fatty acids EPA and DHA are vital for the functioning of our brain and body. “Your body can make them from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), however, fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and halibut contain the highest levels of EPA and DHA,” says Gransden. “Plant foods contain ALA, but the conversion to EPA and DHA is poor in humans according to studies. Vegans tend to have 50% lower EPA and nearly 60% lower DHA levels, so it’s likely you’ll have to supplement those too.”

5) Eat lots of iron-rich foods

“As iron from plant foods isn’t absorbed as well as iron from meat, vegans have higher iron requirements,” explains Gransden. Plant-based foods with a relatively high amount of iron include lentils, tofu, quinoa, chickpeas and beans. “You can increase the absorption from iron in plant foods by adding a small serving of a vitamin C rich food (for example broccoli, parsley, red peppers, kale or watercress) to your meal.”

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

6) Don’t forget about calcium and vitamin A too

Calcium is vital for bone health, muscle and nerve function and it’s involved in blood clotting. “Whilst leafy greens such as spinach and kale have a relatively high calcium content, it is not efficiently absorbed during digestion. So you might not be getting enough calcium from a plant based diet alone,” says Gransden. If your nails begin to feel brittle, your hair feels coarse or you develop dry, scaly skin, book in with a doctor to discuss calcium deficiency.

As for vitamin A – which promotes healthy immune function, eyesight and skin – Gransden notes it’s an important fat-soluble vitamin found almost exclusively in animal foods, like seafood, eggs and dairy products. “Plants contain beta-carotene, which can be converted by the body into vitamin A, but the conversion is inefficient.” she explains, adding that you’d need to eat two cups of carrots, one cup of sweet potatoes, or two cups of kale every day to meet the recommended amount of vitamin A. Mild forms of vitamin A deficiency may cause no symptoms, but tiredness (fatigue) can also be a sign.

7) Talk to family and friends and stay inspired

As a health coach, Gransden says she often helps clients to inform their nearest and dearest of their new diet plans. “It’s important to make sure they’re on board and understand your reasoning, to prevent any surprises in future and so that you get the support you want and need.”

She also adds that stocking up on vegan cookbooks will help you stay inspired too. “Check out The VGang Cookbook by Millee Johnson and Timothy Shieff, or Deliciously Ella Quick & Easy: Plant-based Deliciousness by Ella Mills. I find it is easier to follow recipes, especially at the beginning, and it helps stocking up cupboards with the basics.” The BOSH! team (Henry Firth and Ian Theasby) also have a plethora of recipes, ranging from healthy to indulgent, available in book form or on their social media channels.

It’s the most searched for diet in Australia, but before rushing into this lifestyle plan, these are the practical steps you should take.

June 17, 2016 3:28pm

Photos: iStock Source:BodyAndSoul

It’s the most searched for diet in Australia, but before rushing into this lifestyle plan, these are the practical steps you should take.

Turning vegan means eliminating animal products from your diet: not only meat and fish, but dairy products and even foods such as honey. That’s no easy task – many supermarket foods contain trace elements of animal products – but a willingness to change and positive attitude make it easier at first. In the long term, the benefits you reap will keep you going.

People become vegans for a variety of reasons. Some object to the inhumane nature and major environmental impact of animal-based agriculture. Other vegans point to the considerable health benefits of a low-fat, zero-cholesterol, high-fibre diet.

“There’s mounting scientific evidence that a wholefood vegan diet can prevent heart disease, type-2 diabetes, many cancers, obesity and arthritis,” says Meghan Street from Vegan Revolution.

However, vegan diets can be unsuitable for children, pregnant women and the elderly, and a poorly considered vegan diet can leave you deficient in iron, calcium, omega-3 and certain vitamins.

“Vegans may need to get their vitamin B12 from fortified products or a supplement,” cautions Dr Maxine Bonham at Monash University’s Department of Nutrition. “Ensuring adequate intakes of vitamin D, calcium and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids is also important.

Being well informed about food is the key for vegans, who can expect to become more familiar with soy or almond milk, legumes (peas, lentils and beans), whole grains and nuts.

“There are also many high-quality, dairy-free cheeses and imitation meats on the market,” says Jeremy Johnson of Vegan Perfection. “Many of them are organic and, as well as tasting good, are far healthier than their animal-based competitors.”

While being vegan in a non-vegan world isn’t always easy, vegans say they have more energy and feel better. “Just by simply changing the food on our plate we can be kinder to ourselves, to our environment and to our fellow animals,” says Meghan Street. “It’s a peaceful, low impact and healthier existence, which can only be a good thing.”

Five steps to becoming a vegan:

Get ready

Veganism is a significant lifestyle change that requires ongoing determination and commitment. Make sure you’re very clear why you want to become vegan before making the transition.

Get set

Good preparation is vital. Do your research. Talk to vegans about the ins and outs, get onto vegan blogs, acquaint yourself with vegan products, and study the health implications.

Go slow

Become vegan in stages, giving the body time to adjust and making lifestyle changes easier. Gradually eliminate meat, dairy products, then all animal products over many weeks, while adopting alternatives.

Start cooking

Veganism is time consuming: most packaged and restaurant foods are out of bounds. Collect recipes from books and online. Vegan food can be delicious and inventive, but it needs preparation.

See your doctor

Have a health check before and after turning vegan, and seek advice on a balanced diet. “Take a food diary with you to the consultation,” suggests Dr Nancy Sturman at the University of Queensland. “A blood test to confirm adequate levels of vitamins and trace elements may also be wise.”

Got 60 seconds? Get relaxed and happy all at once.

Got 60 seconds? Get relaxed and happy all at once

Recipe Ideas › How to Go Vegan: Guide & Recipes

Recipes / Instagram / Subscribe

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

Here’s how to go vegan: a beginners guide and all the healthy recipes you need. Plant based eating can be affordable, filling and delicious!

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

Looking to start a vegan diet? You’ve come to the right place. Here at A Couple Cooks, we’re experts in plant based cooking and cookbook authors. Alex and I have devoted our careers to making eating vegetables delicious! While we don’t eat a strict vegan diet, the majority of the recipes we eat are plant based! We’ve learned all the tricks to making this lifestyle affordable, filling, and most of all: delicious! Here’s a crash course in how to go vegan, and all the recipes you need!

What is a vegan diet?

First things first: what is a vegan diet? A vegan diet is a diet that excludes all animal products. Here are the foods that are off limits:

  • Meat
  • Fish and shellfish
  • All dairy (milk, cheese, sour cream, butter, yogurt)
  • Eggs
  • Honey

Don’t worry, that still leaves lots and lots of things to eat! Here’s what is part of a vegan diet:

  • Vegetables (here are the best 20 veggies to eat!)
  • Legumes like lentils and beans
  • Whole grains like rice, quinoa, farro, bulgur, and more
  • Soy products like tofu and tempeh

Tip 1: Understand vegan protein & how to stay full!

Here’s one of the most important parts of eating vegan: plant based protein is key for staying satiated and full. The most important part of eating recipes without meat and dairy is to make sure they’re packed with plant based protein. If not, we’ll be hungry an hour later! There lots of options for adding plant based protein to your meals to make them filling and nutritious. Here’s are the top plant-based protein filled foods:

  • Legumes:Lentils, Beans, Chickpeas, and Peas
  • Whole Grains:Rice, Quinoa, Barley, Farro, Bulgur Wheat, and Millet (see How to Cook Whole Grains)
  • Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts, Walnuts, Pecans, Hazelnuts, Pistachios, Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds), Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds
  • Soy: Tofu, Tempeh. (Stick to 2 to 4 servings per week)*
  • Veggies: Some vegetables have protein, but in much lower amounts than the foods above. Some higher protein veggies are Corn, Broccoli, Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, and Artichokes.

Choose from a variety of sources!

When you’re eating lots of protein from plants, it’s important to get a wide variety of protein sources. The point isn’t just to eat a can of black beans every day! According to Harvard School of Public Health, make sure to mix up your sources so no “essential” components of protein are missing. For more on plant based protein and lots of recipes, go to All About Plant Based Protein.

Is soy healthy?

According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week. It’s likely to provide health benefits—especially when eaten as an alternative to red and processed meat!

Tip 2: Eat whole foods!

When thinking about how to go vegan, consider this: focus on whole foods and a variety of veggies! It’s possible to eat a vegan diet and eat only processed foods: chips, crackers, fries, and the like. Here are a few tips for eating whole foods:

  • Try to cut down on packaged foods and make your own instead! Try our crackers, chips, pita chips, nacho cheese, etc.
  • Read the labels of anything pre-packaged and make sure that anything you buy has minimally processed ingredients. Try to avoid lots of preservatives and additives.
  • This will require more time in your schedule for cooking! See Tip 4 below.

Tip 3: Consider B12.

Dairy, eggs, and seafood have the Vitamin B12, which is important for avoiding anemia and does not occur naturally in plants. If you eat a fully vegan diet, you may need to add a supplement (specifically vitamin B12) to make sure you receive all the nutrients required. Consult your doctor for more.

Tip 4: Make time and space! And find a buddy.

What does going vegan mean? Carving out more space in your life to cook! Are you already in the practice of cooking on the regular? Here are a few things to think about as your make this diet change:

  • Baby steps: it doesn’t happen overnight! It takes a while to figure out your tastes and what recipes will be your go-to’s (see below for all ours!). Give yourself the grace and time to figure it out over weeks and months. It’s all about long term sustainability!
  • If a recipe bombs: try another! Cooking is all about finding things that work for your life and your personal tastes. If you make a recipe you don’t like: find another and try that one! Have the courage to keep trying new flavors and techniques.
  • Find a buddy. This is one of our top recommendations: find a buddy: friend, roommate, spouse, partner — who can help navigate the change with you. Share recipes with each other! Talk about things you like, and things that didn’t work. Food is all about relationship, and having a cheerleader is half the fun.

Tip 5: A few foods to watch for!

When you go vegan, here are a few foods to remember are off limits and what to substitute:

  • Honey: Use maple syrup instead!
  • Worcestershire sauce: Look for vegan Worcestershire sauce (standard contains anchovies), or use this Worcestershire Sauce Substitute
  • Caesar dressing: Has anchovies and Parmesan; look for vegan Caesar
  • Pesto: Has Parmesan: use our Vegan Pesto
  • Mayonnaise: Has eggs: look for vegan mayo or use our Cashew Cream or Avocado Mayo as a substitute

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

I’ve been vegan for a few years and I’ve loved every second of my plant-based journey. I’m also a nutrition coach who helps clients change their eating habits so they can feel their very best each and every day. Yes, going vegan can be a tough transition, but only if you don’t do it the right way.

There’s a lot of guidance I give to clients and friends who are looking to go vegan, but there’s one nugget of advice that trumps them all: make the changes gradually. You can’t expect to see anything different if you try to give up everything in one fell swoop. I see too many people make that mistake. They swear they’re giving up dairy or meat forever, and then three days later, they’re craving a creamy yogurt so badly that they go overboard and eat too much ice cream.

Rather than going cold turkey, think about how often you eat meat. If it’s once a day, cut back to four times a week. The following week, only eat meat two or three times a week, and so on and so forth. This allows your body to get used to the changes you’re creating, and it will make it much easier to stick to it in the long run. Plus, you will start to notice the positive benefits as they gradually show up in your body and mind. You’ll actually want to eat more and more plants as time goes on.

Are you confused about all those different health messages? Do you just want to find something that’s sustainable and really works? We’ve been there, too. Years of research and experimenting led us to a diet and lifestyle full of delicious meals that not only provided us with tons of energy but also eradicated all kinds of cravings and worries about our weight or health.

With the help of plant-based foods, we said goodbye to crazy fads, digestive issues, and unwanted weight gain – and so can you!

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

the vegan starter kit in a nutshell

01 Complete Guide

Our extensive 200+ pages guide covers all the background information you need to successfully hop on the plant-based lifestyle. It shows how to meet all of your nutritional needs, what your portion sizes should look like, how you can set up your kitchen for success, what your new food staples are, and so much more.

02 Delicious Recipes

Find 40+ delicious and easy plant-based meal ideas in our accompanying recipe eBook. From quick breakfasts to filling lunches and extraordinary dinners, these recipes are real crowd-pleasers, don’t require any fancy ingredients and will have you come back for more. Plus, they are totally free of oil or refined sugar!

03 Full Meal Plan

Put what you’ve learned into action by following our RD-approved 14-day meal plan including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. It comes with detailed shopping lists and is laid out for one adult person eating a nutritionally sound plant-based diet. You’ll also find general meal planning and prepping tips here.

04 Meal Formulas

We also included simple formulas for building your own bowls so you don’t have to rely on recipes for every single meal you make! No matter your taste preferences, you can compose well-rounded meals using what you have at home. With our easy to understand formulas, a quick and delicious meal is just around the corner.

05 Restaurant Guide

Eating out can seem very daunting if you’re on a plant-based diet. But there’s no need to seek out purely vegan restaurants! In our well-structured restaurant guide, we show you how to eat out and find plant-based foods in unlikely places – even fast food joints. And we’re not just talking plain lettuce here!

06 Cheat Sheets

Finally, to make your transition to a whole foods plant-based diet very actionable, we condensed the most important information on a couple of cheat sheets, worksheets, and printables. You will also get a FAQ eBook concisely answering almost 50 of the most common questions around this lifestyle.

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

plant-based knowledge simplified

Profit from our 10+ years combined experience and research! You don’t need to read a ton of books to gather all of this information – we condensed lots of knowledge from plant-based doctors and experts for you. The information is easy to digest, actionable, and beautifully designed so that you’ll be able to read through it pretty quickly. Educating yourself on the topics of veganism and nutrition is necessary to have a solid foundation of why and what you’re doing. We present the biggest & most important studies in an understandable & motivational way so you’ve got assurance and ammunition.

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

easy transition & lasting success

Sometimes it seems so overwhelming to go from point A to point B. Especially when you don’t really know your destination! With our guide, there’s no more failing to make the switch to a plant-based diet – all the steps you’ll find are well-explained, easily applied, and lead you to success. Learn the keys to making this diet and lifestyle enjoyable and sustainable, no matter where you’re coming from! Use our transition guide and checklist for support and to make a healthy plant-based diet happen, easily and painlessly. This guide works even for those who are already vegan but don’t feel their best or struggle with staying consistent.

no-nonsense nutrition for a healthy body

Find all of the critical nutrients, their recommended daily intake as well as their best plant-based sources in one place. No need to worry about percentages, protein intake, or food combining! Forget about crazy, unsustainable fad diets and go back to the roots. Plant-based eating is about an abundance of choices and doesn’t have to be restrictive! This isn’t a cleanse or a detox, it’s a sustainable way of eating and living. In our guide, you’ll learn how to read labels, navigate the grocery store, make easy food swaps, and much more. We want to see you thrive and become the healthiest version of yourself!

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

How to go vegan (step-by-step guide from a fitness coach)

everyday healthy & delicious vegan recipes

Make your favorite and familiar meals as a whole food plant-based version using our recipe eBook. No matter if you’re into pasta dishes, pizza, Asian or Mexican cuisine – we have simple, nutritious and healthy recipes that cover all kinds of preferences. All of the recipes are without any added oil or refined sugar. Opt either for extravagant weekend meals or convenient concoctions – no craving will go unsatisfied. And with our complementary formulas to build your own bowls, you can just use what you have on hand without following strict recipes! It’s the fastest way to becoming a great freestyle chef.

full RD-approved 2-week meal plan with shopping lists

Despite all of the information we offer on how to eat on a plant-based diet, you might still want to get some additional structure in the beginning. We teamed up with a Vegan Registered Dietitian for this part of the Starter Kit to make sure everything is nutritionally sound. By following our meal plan for 14 days, you don’t have to think about what to make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in order to eat a well-rounded, delicious, and healthy vegan diet.

We arranged it for one person and took time restrains during weekdays into account, offering quick lunches for busy people and more elaborate meals during the weekends. Of course, it all comes with detailed printable shopping lists for your weekly grocery shopping – don’t worry, almost all ingredients will be easy to buy anywhere. You can also find general meal planning and prepping tips here to easily create your own personalized meal plans in the future.