Aine Carlin is here to guide you to a plant-based diet.
Going vegan doesn’t need to be a daunting prospect. There are many steps you can take to make the transition that little bit smoother, which doesn’t necessarily involve hours in the kitchen or going without – rest assured, chocolate and wine are still on the menu. So, let’s get started!
- Smart swaps
Begin by adding a few plant-based dishes to your normal weekly menu. My advice is to keep things simple by tweaking already familiar dishes, such as shepherd’s pie or your usual go-to curry. For the most part, it’s simply a matter of swapping the meat element for an equally-substantial bean or legume – puy lentils are particularly good in ragu and tofu makes a super protein-filled addition to stir-fries.
- Thoughtful snacks
Most people falter when they first become vegan because they struggle to find suitable snacks when they’re on-the-go. For that very reason, I recommend stashing a few bliss balls in your bag to avoid any such pitfalls. The last thing you want is to be caught short and be tempted to reach for a non-vegan muffin.
- Look good
Veganism isn’t just about what you eat, so now’s the time to start looking into cruelty-free beauty alternatives. Luckily most brands now clearly label their products, and you’d be surprised how many are already deemed vegan-friendly. Alternatively, you could always try making your own – I have a selection of easy DIY beauty recipes in my how-to guide The New Vegan including a triumphant tomato and tahini face pack that I absolutely swear by.
- Make it last
Vegan fashion is a growing trend but I would advise against throwing out the animal products you already own before you can invest in new, sustainably-sourced replacements. I wore my leather boots for many years after going vegan and phased items out gradually because I believe it’s kinder to the environment and less wasteful. Try buying second-hand and support smaller independent traders where possible.
- Get social
Lastly, make sure you don’t isolate yourself. It’s important to socialise, so invite friends over for an easy, laid back, plant-based brunch or have a girly night in complete with cocktails and vegan nibbles. I also advise keep the vegan-talk to a minimum, especially at the table – not only will it put your guests at ease, but it also takes the attention off your newly-found vegan status. Margaritas all round!
For more recipes from Aine Carlin, visit her blog here