Thinking about going vegetarian or vegan but don’t know where to start? Why not just try and make a few simple lifestyle swaps to make your life more animal and environmentally friendly?
Guest blogger here at Practically Ethics, Coralie (aka El Skief) recently wrote about how even being a bit more vegetarian or vegan is better than not trying at all. To help you do the best you can here are a few easy things you can swap to be that bit more vegan.
Who knew there were so many kinds. Switching to a milk alternative is easy to do these days as most grocery stores sell at least soya milk and there is a wide range of options to suit different tastes. Different milk alternatives even suit different uses.
Following the soya milk trend margarine is also really easy to replace. Most supermarkets now sell Pure Soya, Pure Olive and Pure Sunflower dairy free spreads. They taste and cost the same as dairy margarines but they leave the cows alone.
3. Soya not Quorn mince
This one is a bit of a shame but Quorn isn’t suitable for vegans despite being a vegetarian’s meat substitute staple. It uses egg as a binding agent. The good news is however that soya mince is usually the supermarket’s own brand version and therefore usually cheaper. I’ve really not noticed much of a difference in my spaghetti bolognese! If you’re currently still using beef mince why not try making the swap? It’s more friendly on your health too having a lot less fat. If my meat eating boyfriend loves this then it must be okay.
If you’re making something like a chilli why not go another step and, as I often do, just use black beans, kidney beans and other completely natural ingredients and forgo the need for mince all together?
4. There’s still room for chocolate and biscuits in your life.
So many people think I must be so healthy now that I am vegan and in many ways that is true. But don’t think it is all virtue, I still eat plenty of chocolate, biscuits and cake!
If you like a cheeky biscuit (or 5!) crazily some borbons, plain hobnobs, party rings and gingernuts for example are suitable for vegans.
Chocolate wise many better quality dark chocolates don’t use milk, including dark chocolate lindt bunnies!
This isn’t really a swap, more a personal obsession. I LOVE hummus. You have it on breadsticks, rice cakes, crackers, pitta bread, toast, in sandwiches, in wraps, in salads, with burgers, with pasta…the list goes on. I could just eat it straight out of the pot on it’s own to be honest.
It’s delicious, vegan and can just make so many dishes.
6. Veggie Burgers
Many vegetarian bean burgers are also suitable for vegans too, just check the ingredients. Personally I thoroughly recommend Sainsburys’ Moroccan burgers and spicy bean burgers.
Probably one of the things I hear most often – and used to say myself! – is “I would be vegan but I couldn’t live without cheese”. Fear not, you don’t have to! I was very excited to discover recently that I don’t even need to go to a speciality food shop like Infinity Foods (although I seriously recommend them) to get cheese substitutes – they had some in Tescos! I particularly loved the Philadelphia alternative, the only problem was that I ate a tonne of it which doesn’t really help my diet!
8. Pear cider
One thing you may not realise is that not all alcohol is suitable for vegetarians let alone vegans. For example guinness is made using isinglass which is made from the swim bladders of fish and the fining process with wine can sometimes be done with products derived from animal bones.
For me personally cider is a big one. I used to drink a lot of Strongbow until I found out they use products from animals as a colouring agent as do many other brands. It seems with more mainstream brands like Magners and Bulmers pear or berry cider seems to be the way to go if you want to keep animals out pint. That seems simple enough. If in doubt though check out Barnivor, it can tell you the vegan and vegetarian status of most booze!
Another thing that didn’t occur to me straight way was it’s not just about what I eat but generally what am I choosing to fund? I wrote before about how shopping is our opportunity to vote on how we feel companies should behave.
So even when buying make up you can make small changes to reduce the amount of cruelty you’re voting for.
10. Cruelty free cleaning
One swap we’ve made in our household is to Simple Pure washing tablets which are not only better for our eczema but also approved by the vegan society.
There’s a good list of cruelty free brands here.
There are just some of the small changes I have made since becoming vegan. You can try just one or go all the way. Whatever works for you.
I’d love to get ideas from all of you too. What swaps do you recommend to reduce your environmental footprint and spare some animals from your diet?
Up next: 8 ways to shop more ethically