More and more people are choosing to adopt a vegan lifestyle for health, ethical, environmental reasons but the change can seem daunting, especially when undertaken all at once. If you’re looking to make the shift and aren’t sure where to start, then here are 7 simple swaps to help get you on your way. To help the transition to veganism feel a little smoother, why not try incorporating them one at a time and before you know it you will have transitioned completely.
- Change your diet. Cutting all animal products and by-products out of their diet is often the first place that people start when choosing to transition to a vegan lifestyle. This step alone can be broken down into additional smaller steps if you find the prospect of cutting out all animal products from your diet at once a little daunting. Try vegetarianism – removing all meat and fish from your diet, then swap over to non-dairy milk and cheeses, then remove eggs and honey and finally look out for gelatin and other animal by-products such as cochineal, casein, lanolin and beeswax. Be sure to check out plenty of vegan recipes online to help you veganise your favorites.
- Swap out non-vegan vitamins. Vitamin B12 is a staple in every vegans supplement cabinet and one a day is all you need. While we’re on the subject of supplements now’s also a good time to check that yours are vegan – gummy varieties and pill casing often contain gelatin and others contain cod liver oil. Take a look at the back of your vitamins and supplements to make sure they’re vegan-friendly and make a swap to a plant-based alternative.
- Switch to cruelty-free and vegan makeup. As a part of the transition to a vegan lifestyle, you will want to no longer contribute to the suffering of animals used in cosmetic testing. This can be easily achieved by switching to cruelty-free makeup brands. It’s also important to check that the ingredients used within your makeup are also plant-based and not derived from animals. A vegan eyeshadow palette, for example, will not use cochineal coloring as this is derived from the shells or crushed up beetles. Other non-vegan ingredients to look out for in your makeup include lanolin which is derived from sheep’s wool, honey, beeswax and animal fats. And while you’re changing up your makeup, make sure your brushes aren’t made out of animal hair too. This can seem like a big process and makeup is expensive so rather than throwing out all non-vegan items in one go simply replace them with vegan alternatives when they expire.
- Switch to non-leather shoes. Leather is another animal by-product that should be avoided as a part of a vegan lifestyle. Although leather is also found in other items of clothing the big one to look out for is shoes, but thankfully there are tons of alternatives out there which look the same as leather and often come at a fraction of the costs. You can easily tell what shoes are made of by looking at the label usually found on their sole or on the tongue of the shoe, be sure to check that both the upper and inner and leather-free. As with makeup, you will probably find that a lot of your shoes contain leather or suede if you want you can donate them to a charity shop and purchase non-vegan alternatives straight away, or for a more economical approach replace them with vegan alternatives when you next throw them away.
- Switch up your body products. As with makeup, your deodorant, body lotion, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and basically every other type of body product you own could contain animal ingredients or be tested on animals. This is a huge category and it can feel overwhelming, so switch out these as when you can to make the switch feel a little easier.
- Remove wool and silk from your wardrobe. Aside from leather and suede (and the obvious animal fur), wool and silk are the two other main animal products used in clothing. Start checking clothing labels to see what they are made of and try to stick to vegan textiles such as cotton, linen and hemp. You may feel a little overwhelmed with the number of animal products you find in your wardrobe but don’t panic! Transitioning doesn’t need to happen overnight. Donate what you don’t want to charity and make all replacements ones that contain vegan materials and then slowly substitute vegan alternatives in as you throw non-vegan items out.
- Veganise your home. Swap out feather pillows, use vegan cleaning products and choose soya wax over beeswax candles. The key to leading a vegan lifestyle is consistency and patience, there’s a lot in this world that uses animal products, so be patient with yourself and make the switch at your own pace, every purchase and swap you make is making a difference.