If you've been considering going vegan, plant-based or vegetarian (regardless of whether it's for ethical, health or environmental reasons) but the idea seems overwhelming, you might just be overthinking it.
To get more information on how to make the transition successful and easy we spoke to nutritionist, dietitian and plant-based eating advocate Ellie Bullen about how she transitioned to a vegan lifestyle, and why she recommends a gentle approach.
Make It Gradual and Educate Yourself
Ellie's transition into a plant-based way of living was gradual , she went vegetarian before going vegan. "For me it was a combination of learning more through university, as well as watching documentaries and being inspired by others," says Ellie. "It just felt right for me, learning more about the environmental impact and the ethical side of those industries."
Ellie believes that taking the time to educate yourself on the topic, and learning different ways of eating and preparing vegan foods will be your best bet at ensuring success. "When I promote people to eat a vegan diet, I'm not forceful and strict. I promote more of a gentle approach to going plant-based because that's how I did it, and that's how it worked for me. I think a lot of people try to jump in overnight and then they struggle," says Ellie.
Keep It Simple
Her top tip for getting started? Ellie suggest keeping things really simple and if you're just starting out with a vegan diet, try having one day that's meat-free every week. "Get yourself a good cookbook, then start experimenting with recipes and creating different meals, then you can learn how to cook plant-based and be more confident in it," says Ellie. "Then, eventually you can incorporate other days of the week, and then hopefully the whole week, all while experimenting with different foods."
Find Your Resources
Ellie suggests finding resources that can help you build on your practical knowledge, and will also help to inspire and motivate you. "I've watched a few documentaries, Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, and Earthlings. They are the three I watched when I started out. They are really interesting as they go into different explanations about a plant-based diet, and help you to feel motivated to actually do it. I also think having good blogs, and good cookbooks, that have lots of information about plant-based diets and the nutritional side of things will help with building your knowledge."