A recipe for veganism: 10 things I watched, read or followed before going vegan
Updated: Apr 5
Many people go vegan overnight, but for me it was a process. From making the decision to actually living 100% vegan took me about a year. I started out by cutting down on meat, then stopped using dairy milk in my coffee, phased out eggs, stopped buying leather and wool items and the last thing I continued to do was eating cheese. Throughout, I didn’t put any pressure on myself and I think this is one of the reasons why when it came to it and I had committed, I wasn’t really struggling or craving anything.
There’s 3 main reasons for people to go vegan; either for animal rights, for the environment or for our health and for me it was a combination of all three, but started out with the environmental reason.
I've put together this list, because I often hear from people who just don't know how to go vegan. I don't believe there's a "one size fits all" solution, but maybe these points inspire you like they did for me.
10) Watch Cowspiracy
It might sound really ignorant but watching Cowspiracy was the first time I became aware of the extent of the connection between climate change and eating meat. It was only back in 2016, but I feel like the conversation around meat has become much louder in recent years…or maybe I really was just living under a rock.
If you’ve never heard about Cowspiracy – it’s a documentary about the impact of animal agriculture on our environment. I often hear the argument that eating meat comes natural to us, which arguably has been true throughout history, but never to the extent of what is being consumed today – also, there is nothing natural about animal agriculture today with most of our meat coming from factory farms.
After watching it, I couldn’t justify my eating habits to myself anymore and initially said to cut down on meat, but quickly after became vegetarian.
There have been quite a few documentaries since and there has been a lot of criticism around the facts used in the movie, but I feel like it’s a great way to get into the topic and a must-watch for every (aspiring) vegan!
9) Watch Forks Over Knives
This one is going into the health aspect of eating a wholefood plant based diet and how it has been used to reverse several chronic diseases.
Since Forks Over Knives there have been many similar documentaries, the most recent being What The Health. Again, there is a lot of criticism around these, because they are said to be quite one-sided, but I think to get a hang of the topic and get started, they’re great.
This was the first time I found out more about nutrition and I feel like that’s one of the topics that naturally keep coming up when going vegan (with people regularly being ‘concerned’ about your health, particularly protein intake), so many of the things covered in the documentary are a way in to understand how our body really functions and what it actually needs.
Another documentary that I recommend that came out recently is The Game Changers, which is about plant-based athletes and how they recover more quickly from workouts. It also covers nutrition and health, so if you’re into sports, maybe give that one a watch, too 😊
8) Watch Earthlings
I had to include this one in the list, but the truth is I haven’t watched it myself. After making the initial decision to become vegan, I researched for things to watch to help me make the transition and Earthlings was a movie that kept coming up in the conversation.
I watched the trailer on YouTube and that was enough for me.
Earthlings goes into how we treat animals across the world and across all kinds of industries. It’s heart-breaking and I thought the name is so thought-provoking as well – we’re only one of many species on this planet, how can we justify this kind of treatment of our fellow Earthlings?
(The trailer of) Earthlings was the first time I saw anything related to animal rights (before that I was quick to change the channel/subject whenever I even came close to hearing about relating topics).
Yup, the cognitive dissonance was strong…
We all say that we’re against animal cruelty, but we don’t want to see how many ways we’re being so cruel to them.
More recent, but similar movies are Dominion, which sheds a light on factory farms in Australia and Land of Hope and Glory, the UK counterpart (but don’t be fooled, these practices are used globally).
7) Watch “The Best Speech You’ll Ever Hear” by Gary Yourovski
After (the trailer of) Earthlings, I was on an animal rights roll. Something else that I kept reading about was this speech by American activist Gary Yourovski and I remember exactly how I felt when I watched it. I was initially put off by the length of it (it’s over an hour), thought I’ll just dip in or scroll through it, but then was captivated and watched the entire thing. I didn’t particularly like him or the way he kept calling me out and making me feel uncomfortable, but I guess that was exactly his point. Gary Yourovksi is not the speaker you want, but he’s the speaker you need. He again lists all the cruelty we’re inflicting on animals, highlighting the diseases that come with meat and dairy and the differences between us humans and herbivores and carnivores.
He’s had a huge influence on the vegan movement, especially in Israel.
6) Follow Earthling Ed
To soften the blow of Gary Yourovski’s hard, unforgiving activism, I then came across Earthling Ed, who’s a British vegan advocate.
Ed is really well spoken, logical and has a vast knowledge of veganism. Hit him with any argument and I can pretty much guarantee you he’s got an educated and calm answer at the ready.
I followed him on Instagram and watched a few of his videos on YouTube and was in awe.
He’s given speeches at schools, universities, has TED talks and loads of resources to go vegan. Definitely worth following!
He’s also got a great FREE ebook, called “30 non-vegan excuses and how to respond to them” that covers all the cliché questions you will get and gives you everything you need to know to not get thrown off by them.
5) Follow Earth Mama Medicine
Not exclusively vegan-related per se, but Veladya is so inspiring, I couldn’t not mention her.
She has a website and a YouTube channel and also posts on Instagram about her beautiful lifestyle. Her videos and posts revolve around plant-based recipes and tips and tricks, holistic health and spirituality. She makes it look really easy as well, her recipes are all wholefood plant based, as she is a holistic nutritionist. If you want to watch someone easily incorporate veganism into a healthy happy life, do yourself a favour and follow her!
4) Read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
Jonathan Safran Foer investigates how we got to where we are in terms of industrialised agriculture. This book would make anyone that is convinced that eating meat is natural question what natural actually means and how far removed we are from it nowadays.
He visits smaller, as well as factory farms, talks about the antibiotics problem within factory farming and so much more.
He recently published another book called “We are the Weather”, where he talks about climate change and its correlation with animal agriculture.
If you don’t like reading, Eating Animals has also been made into a film, narrated by Natalie Portman and there’s loads of talks on YouTube that Jonathan has given in regards to his books.
3) Follow Recipes by Rachel Ama
Food is the biggest part of veganism (not the only one though, contrary to popular belief), so changing your habits in that department naturally is the hardest. I used to alternate between 2-3 dishes that I knew how to cook and the rest of the week I ordered or bought (frozen) pizza…(but people have only questioned my health since going vegan lol).
Since going vegan I have discovered so many foods that I had no idea about before and it’s been so fun to learn how to cook them, how to use spices and how to fuel my body properly.
One account that has been a great help in that is Rachel Ama’s. She cooks delicious, flavoursome, wholefood plant-based dishes and shares her recipes on Instagram and YouTube. She also has a cook book, which I love and use regularly.
Other cooking accounts to follow and try out are Ela Vegan, Minimalist Baker, Avantgarde Vegan and Bosh.
2) Join Challenge 22
When I went vegan I had no idea about this resource, but I have joined a few challenges as a mentor now and honestly think it’s amazing.
It’s a 22-days vegan challenge hosted on Facebook, where you are part of a closed group with other aspiring vegans, with resources like meal plans, videos, recipes and mentors and dietitians for any questions you might have. It’s completely free and there’s no pressure or judgement. Whether you’ve decided to become vegan as a family, couple, with friends or on your own, having a group full of likeminded people that are on the same journey is so helpful and makes it so much easier.
1) Find your tribe
Building on the last point – having people that are choosing this lifestyle with you will take a lot of the pressure off you. One thing about veganism is that it can become really isolating if you’re the only one in your surroundings to make this decision.
I was lucky enough to (eventually) have my boyfriend on board and together we watched documentaries, checked out the newest vegan restaurants and went to vegan events. Thanks to having him at home, the snidey comments at work or with other friends bounced off me and I couldn’t care less what people thought, because the person that mattered was in on it with me.
Not having that support system can be really hard, I get that, so it’s important to find likeminded people. If there’s no one in your immediate circle, join Facebook or Meetup groups or visit vegan sanctuaries, events and restaurants – maybe you’ll connect with someone there 😊 Or follow loads of vegan people on social media and connect with them virtually!
I hope this list inspired or encouraged you on your journey towards veganism. No matter what, the fact that you’re reading this means you’re on your way, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re still slipping up. ❤