A Quick Guide To Going Vegan

Image shows jars containing various pulses
Alice Nott

Whilst I’m not vegan myself, over a year ago my little sister went vegan, so I have some idea of what essentials you need. I am also taking part in the vegan challenge next week so here is everything I am getting to prepare for the switch! Alice Nott shares her advice.

Nutritional yeast

it won’t totally stop your cheesy cravings, but it can help

I know what you’re thinking, isn’t that the stuff you use to make bread? Not exactly. Nutritional yeast is a flavouring you can use to make things have a slightly cheesy flavour; it is also made of vitamin B12, something which many vegan diets lack.

It won’t totally stop your cheesy cravings, but it can help, and when added to a dish it really adds a depth. You can buy it in many stores, with the main brand being Engevita, which is sold in a blue carboard tub with an orange list and costs between £3.25-£3.50 for 125g. That might seem a bit pricey, but this will last you a while.

Dried pulses and lentils

Whilst there are many options when it comes to vegan protein, often these aren’t cheap. Instead, you are going to want to have some pulses and lentils you can bulk cook either in stews, curries or soups.

My personal recommendation is Mung Dhal Lentils and Broth Mix. With Mung Dhal you can finally make that takeaway style curry you’ve been dreaming of. With some dhal mix, a bit of vegan butter, stock, and a healthy portion of garlic and onion, you will have the perfect curry in around 40 minutes. My favourite recipe is Meera Sodha’s from her East cook book.

With the broth mix it’s going to be a little more complicated as you need to remember to soak the mix in the morning before you leave. Around 300g of broth mix can be used as the basis for forth portions of broth. After soaking for six hours place the soaked mix in a pan with around two litres of stock and as many veggies as you can fit (personally I use potato, carrots, leaks, onion and broccoli), add seasoning to your taste. You can make it spicy or heavy and you can even get fancy by adding dumplings or fake chicken.

with all this bulk cooking you are going to want to freeze some 

Both of these can be found at the supermarket, with broth mix sold at Sainsbury’s and Mung Dhal in Asda.

Freezer bags

With all this bulk cooking you are going to want to freeze some of what you make to eat later in the week. I personally use freezer bags as, whilst this isn’t the most environmental choice, the small amount of space I have in the freezer means there is no room for extra bulkiness caused by Tupperware.

Make sure you have a pen to label the bags with, otherwise it gets very confusing, and you might not know what you’re defrosting (trust me I learnt from experience).

A good milk/tea alternative

As someone who has tried all the milks in her tea and hasn’t found the perfect fit, I am close to giving up. For me oat is too sweet, and soya leaves a funny after taste and turns your tea a strange shade of orange. Even so, for coffee I’m easy, I like hazelnut or soya. Hazelnut does not froth as well but adds that classic hazelnut taste and sweetness.

For when I go vegan, I will probably turn to green tea or coffee. I might hazard the odd cup of English Breakfast with soya but I’m not a fan personally.

Two good, easy recipes and a friend

to join in the plate up for planet challenge the Impact Lifestyle Team will be going Vegan on Saturday (23rd October)

These recommendations come from the Vegan Society themselves. In our interview earlier this month, Tim Thorpe recommends that anyone going vegan should have two recipes that they are good at, are easy to make, and bring you joy. This is a good starting point especially for those of us trialling it for a week.

Tim also said an important part of going vegan, and one of the joys of it, is having a community to support you. So, if you are thinking of going vegan ask your friends if they want to join in or help you. For those of us going vegan next week, there will be a potluck social on Wednesday where we can share the best vegan dishes we’ve made!

If you want to join in the plate up for planet challenge the Impact Lifestyle Team will be going Vegan on Saturday (23rd October). You can sign up through the Vegan Society website and they will send you emails everyday with recipes.

If you do take part, please let us know through a direct message or comment. You can follow us on Instagram and we will be posting articles to see how we are getting along!

Alice Nott

Featured image courtesy of Nadia Pimenova via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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