writer: Emma Ranne
picture: Emma Ranne
so... Can I just like go for it?
Congratulations! You have decided to go plant based and are about to discover a whole new world of delicious foods. Something has sparked your inspiration to give up all animal products and to start living what they call: ’’the vegan life’’.
But how do you do it? Where should you start? At the start everything can feel a little overwhelming. All of a sudden there are whole new aspects to the food you consume: you become more aware of its origins and ingredients, need to gain information about how to nourish yourself with a different palette of foods and face lots of social encounters where people all of a sudden become very interested and opinionated about what you put on your plate.
Well no need to worry, you don’t have to deal with all of this on your own. We’ve put together a little how to guide that will get you started.
What is a plant based diet? Am I like only going to munch on kale?
A plant based diet consists of only plant based foods. Basically when you go plant based you give up meat, fish, dairy, eggs and other animal products such as honey and switch them to legumes, fruits, grains, nuts, beans and such. It might sound a bit challenging at first, if animal products have been a solid part of your eating habits up until now, but soon you’ll discover a whole new world of surprisingly limitless options. Fun fact: it’s estimated that there are about 50 000 to 80 000 different kinds of edible plants in the world, and I bet you haven’t tried them all. What first might seem like narrowing down your diet, can actually turn out to be a broadening of your food horizons.
How do I do the actual switch?
Some people switch their diet in one night. Some need more time. There are many ways to go vegan and if you find it a bit challenging to make such a change in one go, you don’t have to do so. Maybe you are still pondering if this is your thing. Well babe, take your time. In the end it’s all up to you, and you’ll see what works best in your case. You’ve already taken a little step (I mean you would not be still reading this if you weren’t even slightly considering you could maybe do this switch).
Here are some ideas for how you can discover the vegan world, in baby steps. You'll have all control without there being a need for you to commit to anything (in the end, your're not getting married to anyone here, you’re just considering making a diet switch... for the better!)
1. every vegan meal counts
Like really. Every single one of them. You could start with having one vegan day a week or a plant based meal a day. This will allow you to slowly build it up, get familiar with options and discover new recipes at a convenient pace that works for you.
2. Drop it one by one
You could also just start by giving up the animal products one by one. Maybe start off with dropping meat, then when you’re comfortable with that you can leave out the eggs and after that the dairy. This allows you to slowly build up your new eating habits and gives you time to consider replacers for each product one by one.
3. Ehhh... but how do I deal with giving up dairy?
Giving up dairy...how does one do that? This is most often found to be the hardest part. ’’Ehm yeah cool but how on earth can you give up cheese’’, is probably the most commonly asked question right after ’’where do you get your protein from’’ that new vegans face. Milk is easy. There’s tons of tasty alternatives out there ranging from almond to oat milk and so on. Cheese has quite a central role in many western cuisines and we are used to it being a part of almost any meal. Just start discovering alternatives. Put hummus or for example tahini on your sandwich, start using nutritional yeast on top of pastas, check out recipes from other cuisines like Asian and Indian where cheese isn’t a star ingredient and you could even try out vegan cheeses, that are pretty easy to find these days in the larger grocery stores.
4. turn it into an adventure
Keep it super varietal and exciting. Try out different products and recipes and go check out vegan restaurants and cafes. Soon you won’t even have time to miss the food you used to eat, because oh boy there are so many plant based recipes and products around. Just start browsing.
+5. Explore together
Maybe you have a friend that is interested in going on this kitchen adventure with you. You could cook vegan food together, go out and give that one cool vegan restaurant a try and obviously it's nice to have someone to share your new vegan finds with. Also check out the infinite world of vegan Instagram accounts. Gather inspiration, connect with cool people and share your creations.
We will be sharing more tips and thoughts on the basics of the plant based diet at Inlace soon. Meanwhile, stay tuned. Oh and if you haven't already...you're more than welcome to browse our recipe section! It's fully plant based, 100% delicious and will get you started.