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How to Transition from Non-vegetarian to Vegan?

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Published on: 03 Oct 2022

Hello. Congratulations on choosing the vegan life. You have unlocked:

-A healthier lifestyle 

-A healthy planet

-Lower risks of chronic diseases

-Lesser carbon footprint 

The next level is to act on what you thought to reap the benefits above for a lifetime. Being a vegan means 
-a healthier lifestyle
-a more enormous contribution to the environment
-a lower impact on animal suffering. 

Moreover, with people wondering how to become a vegan to lose weight, veganism is in demand right now. And the timing couldn't be better for you to make the transition!

But, first, the basics.

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What's veganism?

Veganism is a plant-based lifestyle. It's a hardcore movement that rejects the idea of surviving through animal products. Unlike vegetarian diets, veganism involves denying most animal products. This is why it is not always the easiest choice for everybody. But, if you have enjoyed vegetarian diets over non-vegetarian, you're already halfway there. Learn more about how to transition from vegetarianism to  veganism

Fun fact: Did you know that the term ‘vegan’ was created using the first and last letters of ‘vegetarian’?

As a vegetarian, you quit meat of any kind, including beef, pork, fish, chicken, turkey, etc. . But you still eat dairy and eggs. Veganism takes the game up a notch by avoiding dairy, eggs, and other animal-based products. 

The shift from non-vegetarian to vegetarianism to vegan can be a challenging one. It's not easy for everyone to say bye-bye to buffalo wings dipped in ranch. Plus, there's a heavy myth that veganism is all about raw green food. So wrong!

The truth is veganism can be delicious and satisfying if you know how to make it happen. Sure, eating only vegetables can drive anyone into supreme boredom. But, veganism never claimed such restrictions. All you need to avoid are animal-based products. With so many vegan choices in the market, the restrictions don't feel that heavy. 

Nevertheless, we want to share tips for turning from a non-vegetarian to a vegan. Embracing veganism can get easier once you discover these tips. Let's begin!

4 Tips to Take Vegan Route

The biggest tip I can give to anyone who wants to turn vegan is that:

You don't have to eat raw to stay vegan. 

Unwind the age-old myths. We are vegans, not the ape-men who don't know the cooking concepts. 

Let's check out the 4 best tips below. 

1. From Dairy to Non-Dairy

You can’t eat dairy while being a vegan. Switching from dairy products to vegan substitutes is a life-changing step. If you're worried about missing out on the butter or the cheese, don't be. There's a vegan substitute for milk, yogurt, cheese, and more. For most non-vegetarians and vegetarians, dairy switching is a big concern. It doesn't have to be so if you know the right vegan substitute. And, don't worry about the taste. Plant-based cheese is too delicious to realise it's plant-based. 

Basically, vegan substitutes are accessible alternatives. You can even create these alternatives at home. You can make vegan parmesan, cashew cheese, almond milk, and cashew cream. The list can go endlessly once you realise the extent. And the best thing about such plant-based diets? The items are available in your local supermarket. Moreover, the texture of vegan substitutes imitates dairy products. You won't even know the difference until you analyse it carefully. For those who don't want to make anything at home, they can choose:

-Daiya

-Kite Hill

-Follow Your Heart

-Violife

You can try their vegan milk, cream, yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream, ice cream, butter, and more. Introduce them to your burgers, lasagnas, and sandwiches. 

2. Introduce your body to plant-based proteins

As a transitioning vegan, your goal is to move away from animal flesh. You want to embrace plant products and plant proteins. But, there is still a grey area that you need to fight: the eggs. 

Some cultures see eggs as a part of non-vegetarianism. But, most cultures believe eggs to be a vegetarian supplement for protein. Veganism strictly prohibits the consumption of eggs and egg-based edibles. The vegan path means a strict reliance on plant proteins. Hence, your diet will include alternatives like:

-Lentils

-Plant-based cheese

-Tofu

-Nuts

-Peanuts

-Wholegrain

-Beans

For recipes, you can try something new every day like:

-Edamame in home-cooked curry.

-Home-cooked chickpea curry with rice.

-Chickpea salad.

-Rice or wheat noodles with tofu.

-Vegan pesto pasta with tofu and veggies.

-Lentils served with a vegan-toasted loaf.

The shift from eggs to vegan food can be simple. Instead of eating scrambled eggs for breakfast, have avocado toasties. Instead of adding an egg to your noodles, add tofu. Explore more vegan options like lentils, chia seeds, and quinoa. Try vegan recipes that can satisfy your palette. For instance, try hummus, nourishing bowls, and vegan burritos. Stock your pantry with various options, so you don't incline toward eggs. Keep tempeh and other plant-based alternatives stocked in the pantry. 

3. Say Hello to Dark, Leafy Greens Every Day 

Vegetables are a healthy source of nutrition. It doesn't matter if you are a non-vegetarian, vegetarian, or vegan. Keeping veggies on your plate is a must for a healthy life. Your vegan plate should be at least half covered by vegetables. It can keep you full and satisfied until the next meal. Plus, it is packed with nutrients. 

Fun fact: Here’s a list of our favourite vegan celebrities:

-Benedict Cumberbatch
-Zac Efron, Beyoncé
-Natalie Portman
-Joaquin Phoenix
-Madonna

The roots of veganism can be traced way back in various cultures. Indian, mediterranean, and even Greek cultures have reference of vegan lifestyles. In the USA, veganism was forwarded by H. Jay Dinshah. He founded the American Vegan Society that linked veganism to ‘ahimsa’ (meaning; non-violence). 

When you transition from a non-vegetarian to a vegan, your body will have demands that you need to listen to. Eating dark, leafy greens is a great way to fulfil your body's demands. Try to get a lot of broccoli, kale, arugula, and collard greens. Dark leafy vegetables are also a great source of calcium. Add them to sandwiches, pasta, salads, noodles, and rice bowls. Eat them raw, roasted, steamed, or cooked. They are easy to cook and easier to consume. 

4. Try One New Vegan Recipe a Week

As you switch from a non-vegetarian to a vegan diet, the biggest challenge is deciding:

What should I eat?

Not being able to order a bucket of fried chicken has its disadvantages. But, you won't feel bloated and sick after finishing the bucket. 

To keep your vegan lifestyle interesting, you can try one new meal every day. 

Experiment with various types of vegan recipes to avoid boredom and stress. It will also open your mind to new ways of cooking and eating that you never discovered before. Once you understand how diverse vegan recipes can be, you will no longer feel the urge to fill your diet with meat. You will feel more motivated and excited. 

Sounds great, doesn't it? 

But, let us warn you:

The initial stages of transitioning from non-vegetarian to vegan aren't the easiest. 

Let's find out more about this in the next section. 

Is it difficult to turn from a non-vegetarian to a vegan?

Transitioning from a non-vegetarian to a vegan is not the easiest task, of course. There's a lot at play here. You are changing an entire lifestyle. So, pat yourself on the back for this brave step. 

So, while you plan to transition from a non-vegetarian to a vegan, it's best to know the obstacles. The truth is the biggest villain you need to fight in this adventure is you. Yes, switching from non-vegetarian to vegan is a lot about fighting yourself. 

You need to fight who you were to be who you want to be. Above all, remember to be compassionate towards your old self. There will be times when you will make a mistake or two. Don't let guilt overcome you. Have the courage to forgive yourself. 

Will you succeed at a go? Is it easy to be a vegan? Will there be any transition to vegan diet side effects?

There's no way to answer this. It differs from person to person. The only thing you can do is be ready. 

How can you prepare yourself to be a vegan? Well, for starters, you can be aware of the challenges you will face. Below we have listed the 5 biggest challenges of switching from non-vegetarian to vegan. Please read and analyse the hurdles that you will face in the ordeal.

1. Forming the habit. 

Can you transition to vegan in 30 days? Now that's a tough challenge.

Switching from one lifestyle to another means changing the core of lifelong habits. You need to change the perspective, the action, and the thought behind the action. Every day will be a trial to eliminate old habits and form new ones. 

And, not every day will your body feel like changing the habit. 

This means your body and mind may rebel against your will. You will need all the willpower you have to stick to your chosen diet. To turn a vegan diet into a habit, you must first be forceful. There's no other way of sugarcoating this truth. 

Studies have shown that it takes around 6 months to form the habit. This means, until then, you will have to fight the urge to get back to your old ways every day. There will be times when the battle might exhaust you. You may slip here and there. Be kind to yourself. Don't take the guilt harshly. Instead, work on your willpower more. Soon you will realise that you succeeded and will no longer struggle to be a vegan. 

Fun fact: Veganism caught popularity from mid-2010s. This was especially contributed by social media influencers. The motivating factors included climate change, weight loss, and healthier lifestyle choices. 

2. Fighting the temptations

How strong will those non-vegetarian temptations be? Strong enough to break your willpower. 

So, before the temptations break you, you need to break them. And you can do this by growing a strong resistance. It all depends on how sternly you can say no to yourself. 

Additionally, the strength to fight temptations depends a lot on life situations. A person might be going through something complicated like a divorce or a bad work experience. In such cases, there may be trouble in following the heart even if they want to be vegans. 

In some cases, people could easily fight for the first 6 months. But the real struggle arrived after 6 months. That's when they could no longer hold their temptations back. Different vegans have shown different behaviour. But, relapsing to a non-vegetarian diet is not something unheard of. 

Hence, learn more about how to start being a vegan slowly. Don't wait for instant results. 

For most people, the switch from non-vegetarian to vegetarian is difficult. The sole reason is that they underestimate the temptation. They may think cooking a wholesome vegan meal is enough to fight the temptations. But, some cravings remain even when the stomach and heart are full. 

And, in most cases, there will be cravings. A few weeks down the road, one might start craving heavily for a hamburger. You may even want to cry over not being able to eat a hamburger. But, remind yourself that this temptation is temporary. Let your willpower take over the temptations. 

However, not every time your willpower may work. In those cases, you must tell yourself: "Okay, I shouldn't have done that. But, now, I will put this behind me and try to reach my goal." 

3. Affording vegan food

Learn how to go vegan on a budget. Veganism can be expensive if you don't plan it smart. There are vegan restaurants that charge heavy dollar bills as compared to a KFC joint. 

What people don't understand is that vegan food can be affordable. That can happen if they learn to cook food by themselves. So, if you know how to cook your meal, you can save up heavily. There are tutorials on YouTube and various other platforms for interesting vegan recipes. You can find anything from vegan fried chicken to ramen and cakes. 

Any adult can learn how to cook. This isn't the most insurmountable obstacle you will face. If you are new to this, you can begin by learning how to cook one recipe. Master this recipe until you try conquering the next. You can add your own "steps" to the recipe if you want. The end goal is to serve your tastebuds. So, you can google, watch, or listen to a recipe. Maybe, learn the basics of how to add the flavours of garlic and vegan butter to a dish. Incorporate these little things in your recipes. Trust us, it's not that difficult. 

Fun fact: Here are some affordable chain restaurants that offer vegan food:

-BareBurger
-TGI Fridays
-The Cheesecake Factory
-Olive Garden

4. Unaware of the health rules

Vegan dietary needs to be sustainable. A healthy vegan diet must contain the essential nutrients to go through the day. Plus, never give up on eating fruits and vegetables time-to-time. That's why you need to know some health rules. It will probably take a few weeks to understand the nutrition you are taking fully. Until then, you must keep track of your intake and how much nutrition you have collected. 

Veganism requires commitment and concentration in the initial stages. That's because you are switching from a protein-packed diet to a milder diet. Your dietary preferences have taken a 360-degree turn. While vegan diets are full of vitamins and minerals, there are other nutrients that you will need to work on. 

For instance, find more sources for protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and Vitamin 2. There are vegan supplements for these in the form of capsules. Other than that, you must consume a lot of fruits, tofu, beans, lentils, and more. Fill your diet with as many nutrients as you can. 

5. Surround yourself with 'people.' 

The biggest support you can have is family and friends. And, it gets even better if you can find a vegan circle to fit into. Being with someone who appreciates your plate of fruits can be a huge boost.

Being around non-vegetarians always raises questions. They may poke fun at your ethical choices by asking questions like:

Don't you crave meat?

How do you live without a hamburger?

Oh, come on, try one. Don't you like it more than that salad stuff?

Why don't you eat some real food?

Needless to say, a non-vegetarian company might not help you with your struggles. Instead, they may only set you back. 

Stop falling for the marketing gimmicks of non-vegetarian people. Surround yourself with vegan people who can inspire you to stick to the lifestyle you choose. Strong motivators can help you find stronger moxie to continue. 

6. Gathering self-knowledge 

Self-knowledge is your biggest obstacle and tool at the same time. It can hamper you if you don't know your strengths and weaknesses. Not knowing yourself means not preparing yourself enough. You need to fight yourself in this transition. So, it's best to know 'who' you are fighting. Ask yourself questions like:

How well can you avoid junk food?

Do you need to eat all the time?

How often do you crave non-vegetarian food?

At which hours do you crave the most?

Fun fact: World Vegan Day is celebrated on November 1 every year. The day pays respect to Donald Watson and Elise Shrigley, who separated from the vegetarian community to create the first vegan society in 1944. 

Understanding your relationship with food is the first step. It can help you know where you need to work. You may be arguing with others to be a vegan. But that doesn't mean you have turned to one. In fact, it may take you years if you don't analyse yourself well at first. Knowing yourself will answer questions like:

How strictly do you need to watch yourself?

How can you overcome your temptations the best way?

Why do you feel like cheating?

What triggers you to relapse?

Are there particular restaurants that trigger you?

Knowing yourself means finding answers that can boost your transition. You get to work on the triggering points. You also learn to tackle your spoiled mood better caused by unsatisfied cravings.

There are many benefits of being vegan and being an avid learner. You can explore new skills and connect with top-rated experts while you enjoy your transition on our micro learning app. 

FAQs

How fast can I adapt to a vegan diet?

You will take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks to adapt to a vegan diet. BUT, that's only the initial part, excluding the temptations and cravings. Give yourself anywhere from 6 months to a year to get over the cravings too. 

 

What are the health risks of immediately switching to a vegan diet?

You may experience side-effects as first like:
-Bloating
-Constipation
-Diarrhoea
Other than that, there are risks of deficiency in iron, vitamin b12, and Omega-3 fatty acids. This is why you need to plan your vegan diet better. Adding supplements that provide these nutrients can help. 

 

Can I find vegan protein powder for my gym?

Vegan protein powder is available in the market. Try these vegan protein powder products:
-Form Nutrition Superblend Protein
-MyVegan Vegan Protein Blend
-Form Nutrition Performance Protein
-Natural Fitness Foods Vegan Protein

How fast can I lose weight with a vegan diet?

You can lose up to 2 pounds a week if you strictly follow a vegan diet. A Harvard study in 2016 found that vegans lost more weight than non-vegetarians in 18 weeks. So, a vegan diet for weight loss is a go!

 

How to control my non-vegetarian temptations on a vegan diet?

These are the ways you can control your non-vegetarian temptations being a vegan:

-Acknowledge that these temptations exist.

-Remind yourself why you became a vegan in the first place. Is it for a moral cause or for a self-improvement cause? Whatever it is, it will make you feel motivated.

-Find vegan alternatives. The market is flooded with vegan meat, cheese, milk, and whatnot. You can surely find your fix. 

-Connect with other vegans. Lunching with non-vegetarians may cause you to feel more tempted. Stop. Instead, go out to eat with vegans until you are sure of yourself. 

 

What is the difference between veganism and a plant-based diet?

These are the differences between veganism and plant-based diets:

-Veganism includes oils. Plant-based diets exclude oil consumption.

-Veganism includes highly processed food like refined sweeteners and white rice. Plant-based diets exclude highly processed foods. 

-No meat or seafood in vegan diets. Some plant-based diets include meat, seafood, and dairy products. 

-Veganism isn't just about dietary needs. It completely excludes use of any animal product in any way. Plant-based diet is just about food habits. 

 

Can veganism help lose weight more than a non-vegetarian diet?

Yes. These are the ways veganism helps you lose weight more than a non-vegetarian diet:

-Vegan diets are higher in fiber which is why they fill your stomach faster. You feel far less hungry throughout the day. 

-Vegan diets are lower in saturated fat. Saturated fat is associated with obesity. Lessening the intake of saturated fat will eventually lower the risks of obesity. 

-Vegan food is lower in calories than non-vegetarian food. Plus, it causes far less risks of indigestion. Having a platter of vegan food can be way more effective than eating meat. 

 

Will veganism affect my brain?

These are the ways veganism can affect your brain:

-A research in England found that people with higher IQ crave for less animal-based products. 

-Dr. Roy Swank, Professor of Neurology at the Oregon Health and Sciences University, theorised that eating more plant-based products resulted in decreased multiple sclerosis attacks.

-Studies have revealed that people following vegan diets show less signs of stress, anxiety, and depression. 

-Consuming a higher amount of green leafy vegetables is associated with slower cognitive decline.