So you’ve heard about the benefits of going vegan and you’ve done it! You’ve decided that you’re going to eat vegan for you, or the animals, or the environment, or out of pure curiosity.
We’re so glad you did, no matter what the reason, and we’re here to support you. (If you’re wondering what it means to be a vegan, check out our What is a Vegan? guide for more information.)
The first 30 days of going vegan are going to be exciting and challenging. We’re not going to lie to you. You’re going to be surprised, delighted, shocked, disappointed, and maybe even frustrated.
But they say in 30 days a habit forms, and you’re going to be happy you stuck it out.
We’ve been where you are and we have some old wise vegan knowledge to help you through. So without further ado, here are 7 things you can expect to experience in those first 30 days.
They will ask you why or think it’s a trend, or maybe even try to tempt you to give up. They will definitely ask where you’re going to get your protein (you can send them this link).
We recommend having the conversation if you’re up for it. A lot of the time people will put down what they don’t understand. Once you explain how you feel about the lifestyle choice you’ve made, for the most part, people get it. They usually want to know more about it.
Let them know how much their support would mean to you. They’ll come around! And when they see the positive changes a vegan diet will bring, they’ll be calling you up for your grocery list.
It’s about to get real regular up in your bathroom. And that’s a good thing! Going vegan can help regulate your bowel function (thanks to all the fiber you get).
Eating more plants means you’re getting more fiber, and studies show that even piling on more plants to an omnivorous diet won’t get you the positive poop results that a vegan diet will.
But, full disclosure, you might be a little gassy the first month too. It comes with the fiber territory. Your body is adjusting to the bundles of plant goodness you’re eating.
Maybe it’s an office pizza party. Or perhaps a wedding. It could be a road trip, a flight, a hotel. Wherever you are, you’re hungry.
Your stomach is grumbling so loud that your friends notice. One of them will probably say, “Man, you must be suffering, unable to eat any of this amazing steak as a vegan!”
Well, if you’re caught in this situation without some filling snacks tucked in your bag, you probably will suffer. I won’t lie, sitting at a restaurant eating iceberg lettuce and tomatoes while the rest of the party is chowing down on pizza and ice cream (which has never smelled so good in all of eternity)—well, let me tell it to you straight. It sucks.
Lucky for you, it’s 2019 and may pizza places can whip you up a vegan pie no-problem. Possibly even with some plant-based cheese and vegan meats on top. Heck, even Pizza Hut is now offering vegan cheese! But, we’re not yet to the point in the evolution of the world where we can count on that. So we need a backup plan.
The solution is quite simple: Always, always, always carry snacks.
Keeping some ready-to-eat snacks at your desk, in your bag, in your car, in your locker—anywhere you can stuff a snack—is key. You can keep it really simple: pack a reusable bag with some almonds, maybe some nut butter with celery, grapes, or sliced apple. A PB&J sandwich or some vegan jerky (yup, it’s a thing!). And of course, energy bars.
We highly recommend Bobo’s Bars when you’re on the go. Bobo’s bars have oats that keep you full longer and whole grains that help keep your gut happy. Plus, they’re the easiest thing you can toss in your bag before you head out the door! You can get them in bites, or full-sized bars that can replace a meal. I’m personally a massive fan of the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.
If you always have delicious, filling snacks that you love with you, you’ll be much less likely to fall prey to temptation. So set yourself up for success. Grab a Bobo’s bar (or your favorite snack) on your way out and stand tall knowing that you’re ready to face the day.
How is this not vegan?!
We’ve all been there before and probably will be there again. There are some things in this world that just don’t make sense. And some of those things are foods that aren’t vegan. But should be!
For example, you go to the movies and grab your favorite movie watching candy, gummy bears! Classic choice. But you check the label and one ingredient is gelatin. Gelatin comes from the collagen in cows or pigs and is found in many foods (gummies, marshmallows, and beyond). Keep an eye out for this sneaky ingredient, it’s a real bummer.
Gelatin is also used to filter some beer and wine. I told you it was sneaky.
As a coffee lover, I’m going to help you out with another classic example. Half and Half is off the menu for your morning coffee, so you’re looking for a vegan replacement. Beware of the “non-dairy” label on coffee creamers, or any dairy substitute, it can be misleading. Some “non-dairy” creamers have the milk-derived protein casein or sodium caseinate in them.
Moral of this headline, check your food labels. A quick tip is to skip to the bottom of some labels where it says “Contains,” there they will tell you which allergens the food contains. Milk is on that list. But to confuse matters more, if a product says “May Contain Milk” but milk isn’t on the ingredient list, the product may be vegan. <any brands include that as a disclaimer legal reasons (usually relating to potential cross-contamination from shared equipment).
Either way, it will do you well to familiarize yourself with the most common animal ingredients that may be lurking in your food. And don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of this in no time!
Let me preface this section by saying that any diet can be expensive or inexpensive. But a vegan diet can save you a considerable amount of money. Don’t believe me? Just check out these meal plans that show you how to eat delicious, healthful vegan meals for a grocery budget of just $25 per week.
When you stop to think about it, it makes sense. Many of the most affordable foods on the planet (like rice, beans, oats, carrots, and bananas) are vegan.
Plant protein in its whole form are often way less expensive than animal protein. Beans especially! You can get all the nutrients you need, feel full, and keep your bank account full on a vegan diet.
The specialty vegan items, like faux meat or dairy, can be more expensive. You should treat yourself every once and a while, but if you’re intrigued by saving money, sticking to whole foods and shopping from bulk bins is the best way to go.
If you need some help or want to cut down on your grocery budget, definitely check out the Plant-Based on a Budget Meal Plans and grocery lists that will save you loads of money and time.
This is the first thing most people notice after going vegan. The word often used is: lighter. You’ll probably think this in the next 30 days…
“Wow, I feel so much lighter.”
You’re no longer bogging down your digestive system with heavy, greasy, cholesterol-filled meats, dairy products, and eggs. Instead, you’re fueling your system with nutrient and antioxidant-rich produce and fiber-filled grains. All those vitamins and minerals and enzymes and prebiotics (fiber) entering your system go right to work for you.
Many people also find that they settle into their “natural” healthy body weight after embracing a whole food plant-based diet. This illustration (below) can help you understand why…
Calorie-counting, begone! When you’re eating a healthy plant-based diet, you can once again start eating intuitively. Listening to your body. Tuning into your stomach’s stretch receptors that are designed to help us feel when we’re hungry and when we’re full. And guess what? You’ll quickly realize that you probably need to eat more food than you did before since it’s less calorie-dense. Enjoy it!
Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ve eaten a certain way most of your life and your body will crave what it’s used to.
All the benefits will outweigh the cost of not giving in to that craving. Your body will start craving the foods you’re eating now. Eventually, those carnivorous cravings will fade away and those foods won’t seem appetizing anymore.
Bring snacks and trust the process! *Packs pockets with Bobo’s Bars*
Before you know it, eating vegan will be second nature.
And remember: going vegan isn’t about perfection (in fact, there’s no such thing as a perfect vegan). It’s a process to adjust to your surroundings and be confident in your choice.
If you don’t know any vegans, a lot of cities have vegan facebook groups that are super supportive of the transition. And we’re here for you too!
Need some support and extra guidance? We put together the ultimate guide to plant-based living so you don’t have to research and learn everything on your own. You’ve got this!
Please note that this article contains affiliate links that support our work here at World of Vegan. Many thanks to Bobo’s for sponsoring this article!