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Meat-free Monday every day: Four steps to becoming a vegan

If becoming a vegan seems overwhelming – or even impossible – here’s a nifty and achievable list of basic steps for a straightforward transition.


Image via Adobe Stock

Maybe you have a vegan family member or friend nagging you to try veganism. Maybe you’ve been convinced by What the Health or The Game Changers documentaries. Perhaps you are seeking healthier dietary choices or have realised the abhorrent cruelty synonymous with the meat and dairy industries.

Whatever your reason for the change, here are four steps to help you transition to veganism more easily.

Four easy steps to becoming a vegan

Step one: Switch milks

From soy milks, rice milks, oat milks to coconut and almond milks, the range of plant-based milks have soared over the years and have slowly gained visibility and variety in South African stores.

More affordable than they initially were and unbelievably indulgent, no one would know any better when used in coffee or tea or as an ingredient in cooking and baking.

And, if you’re trying to cut back on spending during lockdown, dozens of free online recipes make it possible to make oat milk at home too. Since milk isn’t generally a sizeable portion of our daily diets, switching over to any plant-based milk instead is an easy step to commence your vegan journey.

Step two: Ditch the honey

The honey industry, much like dairy and meat industries, employs exploitative and cruel tactics on bees to fuel honey production. Because of this, honey is a product that vegans abstain from.

Sugar-based syrups are plentiful and affordable, while healthier sweetening agents, like maple syrup, molasses or liquid stevia make for a healthier alternative. Although many vegans cut out honey later on in their journey, switching from honey to alternative vegan ingredients is simple enough and should be considered early on in your transition.

Step three: Phase in meatless days

A beginner step to veganism or vegetarianism usually begins with some version of “Meat-free Mondays”, a campaign that promotes omitting meat from diets every Monday for healthier overall eating and environmental reasons.

Choosing a day to cut out meat is a good place to begin rather than opting for a complete shift, and then, slowly, increasing the number of days until you reach your goal. A selection of soy-based meats, tofu and tempeh products often serve as a protein substitute in vegan meals. Many brands of vegan “meats” are hard to distinguish from the real thing when it comes to preparation or taste.

Step four: Find your vegan people

South Africa now boasts their own Vegan Society and countless communal support groups on popular media platforms, which aim to aid anyone in their transition. Subscribing to newsletters, joining vegan online groups and inviting friends and family to join you, will help sustain your new chosen lifestyle and will mean continuous support, not to mention an abundance of exciting recipe ideas.