Whenever I’ve tried to make a switch to something, it’s never been overnight and you might be the same. Instead, it’s usually been a series of small steps that I’ve taken that has led me there.
In exploring a vegan lifestyle, some people go vegan overnight – something has triggered it and they choose to go all in and make the necessary changes in one go. And then there are others who choose to do it in stages, usually (but not always) starting with a switch to a vegan diet and then looking more broadly at other aspects of their lifestyle that they might want to adapt. You might not do it all perfectly and/or in one go, and that’s okay – it’s all part of a journey and small changes will turn into a lifetime of habits.
On a practical note, it’s now easier than ever to adapt to a vegan lifestyle. Vegan options for food, fashion, beauty and other areas are now more accessible than ever and there is something for everyone, whatever your budget might be.
Here are three easy switches that you can make right now to try a vegan lifestyle:
When making any positive lifestyle changes, it’s often helpful to focus on what you’re gaining rather than what you’re losing. When choosing vegan food options, you’ll be opening yourself up to a whole range of exciting alternatives that are out there, as well as improving your overall health. And of course, saving animals and planet at the same time.
You could start with doing meat-free Mondays. This is where you have a day of vegan-only options and aim to do that every week for a while until you feel ready to increase it. If you’re worried about missing out on your favourite dishes, there are lots of dairy-free and meat-free alternatives available in the supermarkets that you can use instead. The variety is huge and it’s expected that the market for vegan meat alternatives will hit $7.5 billion globally by 2025. For inspiration on what to cook, there are lots of vegan recipes out there for classic dishes. Take a look at our 5 Instagram Accounts To Follow For The Best Vegan Recipes for some further ideas.
Once you’ve perfected a couple of go-to dishes, things will become so much easier.
In the last few years, shopping for vegan clothing and accessories has become a lot easier. When shopping for accessories such as shoes and bags, avoiding animal skin is a kinder option. Look out for leather, suede, alligator skin, snakeskin, and kangaroo skin, all of which are used in the manufacturing of non-vegan shoes and handbags. PETA have started a petition urging Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton to ban exotic animal skins and it has already exceeded 36,000 signatures. Vegan fashion options have come a long way and you no longer have to choose animal skins.
Having been a vegetarian all my life and being born into a family of vegetarians too, I was never comfortable with using animal leather. I looked for animal- free alternatives that suited my personal style but never quite found the right shape or quality. So when I decided to create STORY 81, the core purpose was to give people like me (whether they are vegetarian, vegan, or just don’t want to use animal leather) a kinder alternative to leather handbags, while staying true to timeless, contemporary style. I knew that if I searched hard enough to find alternative materials, I could still create quality handbags without harm to animals.
There’s lots of debate about using animal skin leather Vs alternative materials and animal leather is sometimes seen as more sustainable because it’s already a by-product of the meat-industry. But for a community of vegans/vegetarians that don’t believe in harming animals in the first place (and in turn not consuming the meat), the leather from animals is usually not an option.
Developing a brand that reflects these kinder values was essential to me, and had to be at the core of STORY 81. You can view our collection here.
Switching over to vegan toiletries is another area where you can easily make a switch, and you’ll find them labelled as ‘suitable for vegans’.
Now more than ever, beauty brands are choosing compassion, making their products vegan and without testing on animals. You can easily find vegan options in the supermarket or drug stores like Boots or Superdrug and they also have lots of vegan makeup brands for a variety of budgets.
I hope this gives you some ideas for easy switches you can make. Whether you’ve recently transitioned to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, are exploring vegan options or are simply curious, we know that that there can be some challenges along the way. To help you in your vegan journey, we’ve curated a list of helpful tips for you, can get it here.