How to go Vegan: Ten Tips from our Community

Vegetarians, flexitarians, vegans… people who like cereal. We’re not fussy about who makes up our hemp community. We always set out to grow a community as passionate about hemp as we are – but there’s no type that defines it or condition for taking part. That being said, we really do love our vegan community – especially on Instagram. They create delicious recipes, share inspiring facts and really push us to think about what we eat and why. And we’re a match made in heaven. Hemp seed protein is one of the only plant-based proteins with all 20 essential amino acids (including the 9 the body can’t produce for itself) meaning it’s the perfect replacement for meat. Omega 3 is tricky to get into any vegan diet without oily fish – good thing we’re literally jam packed with it. The clincher? Our dairy-free hemp drink is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

But more than our health benefits, we also share a common goal – to reduce the damage that we do to our planet. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that farmed livestock is responsible for around 15 percent of man-made greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change. Then there’s the amount of water (estimated as ⅔ of all freshwater consumption in the world today) that is used for animal agriculture. One pound of beef requires 1799 gallons of water to produce, a gallon of cow’s milk is a whopping 880 gallons. Hemp also has its eco credentials in check – with people calling us one of the most sustainable crops in the world. Hemp breathes in 4x more CO2 than the same area of trees and naturally irrigates (aka doesn’t need anymore water than what falls from the sky) unlike some of the nut milks like almond.

So why wouldn’t you join the vegan crew? Well turns out, it’s pretty hard work. There’s the constant food prep, checking labels (no Worcester sauce isn’t vegan…) and giving up cheese. Then there’s what your Grandma says at Christmas dinner. Most vegans agree though, that once you’re through the hard stuff, it’s the best decision they ever made. To help you on your journey, we asked our vegan community for some of their best tips (we even got Good Hemp’s very own Phoebe Murray to contribute). 

1. Experiment and explore new foods and cooking methods (@South_London_Vegan)
2. If you have a busy lifestyle food prep is your best friend. It prevents you from having boring meals (South_London_Vegan)
3. One of my top tips is to make sure you take a good multi-vitamin or at least a B12 everyday. As it’s so important to make sure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need to function on a daily basis. (@FortheLoveofVeganFood)
4. The first major pitfall of the plant-based diet is eating foods you think are plant-based, but are not. Don’t worry, it’s easy to make this mistake, hell, I still read ingredient lists just to be safe. It’s an ongoing process that gets easier over time. There are tons of ingredients that don’t outright say they are derived from fish bladders or stomach enzymes, just to name a few. (Some of the ones to check are soups, salad dressing, Worcester sauce, tortillas, gummy bears, marshmallows, beer and wine, pesto, energy drinks.) (@MainlyPlants)
5. Cheese is a problem for most new vegans, they really struggle to give it up. The facet of the matter is that dairy cheese is quite addictive and there is no vegan cheese that tastes similar to it. So the best thing to do is to go cold turkey (horrible expression), quit the cheese for a few weeks and then start trying vegan cheeses as a separate product. You will probably start to like them then. If you struggle with quitting dairy cheese, just remember that it is quite literally one of the unhealthiest foods on the planet, and a cow suffered a lot to produce the dairy to make it. You really aren’t giving up anything special. Join the Vegan Food UK facebook group and check their website for recipes. (@Vegan_Food_UK)
6. You will need to be open-minded and resilient to what others think. Even in this forward thinking world a majority of people still ridicule eating a vegan or plant-based diet. Be prepared to stand up for what you believe in. (@VeganImp)
7. I think the thing to remember is that you are your own person. Comments and remarks are just words; they can’t force you to eat something you don’t want to. You don’t need safe zones and safety pins and emotional counselors. Just order your veggie burger, eat it, and enjoy your health. If someone says something that is actually offensive, tell them you don’t appreciate it and move on. And if someone cites a “fact” about being plant-based that is, indeed, false, smile and correct them…and get on with your life. The only way another person can screw up your diet is if you let them. Accountability, and all that, ya know? (@MainlyPlants)
8. Before going plant-based make sure you educate yourself and know what your body needs. If you cut out animal products you need to make sure you are getting your protein, fats, calcium etc from other sources. Once you get this right you will have more energy than ever before. (@VeganImp)
9. The way I went vegan was because I was having issues getting my hormones balanced. Once I did a ton of reading on hormone balancing diets and also discovering how many hormones, meat, fish and dairy have in them, I immediately wanted to try and cut them out. If this doesn’t relate to you, I am pretty sure documentaries like ‘Cowspiricy’ or ‘Earthlings’ will pull on your heart strings! (@BeckyTong, @BadVegan)
10. Experiment. Cook with vegetables, grains etc that you haven’t tried before, you’ll find it exciting and won’t look back! Try new recipes (maybe invent a few of your own), don’t just try and replicate your classic meat dishes with tofu! (@PhoebeMurray18)

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