Any advice to a vegan beginner??

Yeah well so far I have began a vegan diet and survived for 2 days. I just fear that once summer comes around and I return home I will not have as many choices of vegan foods to eat because we don't have much money. Its easy for me now because my college provides a vegan bar but four months at home will be dangerous for me Any advice for a new vegan in both eating routines and recipes as well. Also is it hard to maintain a vegan lifestyles??


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13 Replies

  • Hello.......... jack Monroe , never heard of her, you ask, do she is a writer who chose through need largely need  ( she wrote for the gaurdian) to feed herself and son on a tenner a week! Veggie/pulse based.

    Lots of veggie stuff/pulse based as for calorie controlled I wouldn't know, I think lots of veg casseroles and pulses, think veg, cress and sprouting stuff, other stuff may prove more costly tho

  • Why?

  • Hi there. I'm vegetarian but a lot of my meals are vegan as I'm not a massive dairy fan. It doesn't need to be expensive, you can buy tinned pulses and lentils, chopped tomatoes etc and bulk cook. I do think that you need to give more thought to your nutrition. For example you won't be taking in much B12 so anaemia can be a problem. I have pernicious anaemia so you will probably want to think about supplements to counter this. Plan ahead with meals to help you through the week. I wouldn't change. I've been veggie 30 years now and a lot of research is showing that a vegan diet helps us live longer. Glad to hear your college has a vegan bar. Look to them for some inspiration.

  • many people eat vegan .I followed a vegaterian diet for many years and my shopping bill was much lower even having organic food stuff where possible.

    Tins of chick peas and pulse can be brought cheaply from bargain shops sometimes for up to a third less than super markets.

    Or can be purchased in dried form which need to be cooked properly to advoid getting ill.

    If I were you maybe start buying a few bits here and there to spread the cost.

    Obviously home prepared cook food works out much cheaper on the whole.

    Good Luck .🍀

  • Vegan food is cheap, as food goes, depending on whether you exclude anything due to intolerances or sheer fussiness. Beans on toast? Salads with a few nuts and seeds sprinkled over? (You may need to check your portions of those if you are trying to lose weight) Vegan substitutes for dairy and meat are often not.

    Public libraries increasingly have lots of vegan cookbooks - some are full of expensive or hard to source ingredients, some are not (vegetarian cookbooks may be a happier hunting ground ironically) Aine Carlin has produced two books, Keep It Vegan (a mere £5) and The New Vegan which are well worth a look. She also has a blog, peasoupeats, and a YouTube Channel. 

    Read the experts on the subject ie the Vegan Society, rather than weight loss forums, and ensure you take a B12 supplement (they sell a cost price one targeted at vegan needs rather than the ones which are targeted at what omnivores are most likely to be missing from their diet)

    Jack Monroe's stuff is fabulous for the budget and the tastebuds, but not ideal for someone trying to lose weight... she was trying not to starve. (Still worth checking out her blog )

    The biggest challenge may be changing your attitude. You talk of surviving for two days as a vegan... think of it as fun! You have the advantage of not trying to cater for a whole fussy family and just pleasing yourself (and your budget)

  • I only mentioned her as inspiration!    On the iron side, I would have thought Engevita ( the yeasty/cheesy tasting stuff) would help, I find best as a sprinkle food, after all it's packed with vit bs and stuff 

  • I was thinking of engevita too. Mix it into mash for a cheesy taste, a little goes a long way, lots of b vits plus protein content.

  • Starting a vegan diet at the same time as starting a weight loss programe will give you a lot of stress around food, it might be better to concentrate on just one at a time to maximise your chance of success.  A vegan lifestyle is not difficult to maintain food wise, but you do need to do some research on nutrition to ensure you are getting a balanced diet, there are lots of resources on the Internet. However, as a lot of social life is based around food that is where being vegan gets difficult.  If you are prepared to keep vegan for home and accept some vegetarian in social situations it is easier to maintain.  

  • Most of the others have covered my suggestions, but have a good browse of the vegan society website, if you haven't already found it.   They even have a vegan on a budget option.  See

    You can follow just about any of your mince recipes, replacing the meat with orange lentils.   You can buy these dry and use them dry as they soften enough within the dish cooking time.  So that gives you chilli, curries, bolognaise type recipes for pasta, gardener's pie (vegetarian shepherd's pie!), mince & tatties, etc.  I would just start switching the animal products out and replacing them vegan options.  

    Ethnic shops are great sources of cheap pulses, vege proteins like tofu, exotic veg and spices.   You will learn ways of using the dried pulses some time in the future, but, for now, the canned ones are probably the best, especially as you are cooking for 1.  Once you find dishes you like, double up your ingredients and eat one the next day or freeze for next week.  

    I do think MW is right that you are taking a lot on switching to vegan and changing to a weight loss diet at the same time.  But maybe you like a quick revolution rather than gentle change!  It isn't to avoid exam revision is it?  Just thinking of the lengths I will go to.  And you might be the same.  You can still do both of these, but you might want to use the shopping as a way to get a daily walk and the cooking as your down time.

    Lastly, vegan dishes various people in my family have invented.  Mushy peas make a nice change from baked beans as a side dish on your plate.    Instant mash plus sage and onion stuffing mix make quite nice fast potato cakes, you would need to add a protein.  If you overdo the water, add porridge oats to soak up the extra, makes it taste nutty.  When we were vegetarian, Christmas catering became so easy.  We used to have a nut loaf by adding nuts to our stuffing mixes.  When you go home, you could eat the veg etc everyone else does and just make yourself a variety of nut/stuffing mixtures.  You can make them into "meatballs", burgers and loaves for slicing.  With all the varieties of nuts out there, and the varieties of ready made stuffings, you could probably have a different tasting option every day.     

  • Been thinking over lunch, which turned out to be vegan!  Mr Flytrap is reading my mind again!  I'll see if I can find a way of posting the lovely pic I took for you.  

    Over lunch, we thought an easy vegan day could be porridge and fruit for breakfast.  Make it with water, rather than milk to save kcal.  Add a some mock dairy like a nut milk or a soya yog.  Just as a topping, not as a main ingredient.  Baked beans on wholegrain toast for lunch.  Beans + wheat makes the protein whole.  For dinner, you could have something like our chickpea and veg, or if that is too like the beans, have a look in your supermarket for a couple of vege curries, or chillis within their basics/smart price ranges.  With some brown rice, which takes longer to cook than white, you could have half a can of lentil or chickpea curry with half of one of the potato or other vege ones.  If you can't cope with brown rice, white is fine, it's the same kcal but not quite as filling.  Or you could get a ready made chapati, warmed up that makes a good alternative.  Add some chopped onion, cucumber and tomato to your plate and a good dollop of a plain vegan yogurt (not vanilla!).  That would give you a go to ready meal day and as you find ingredients you fancy trying you can switch one of the go to meals out.  Add fruit in for snacks and puddings.  Next thing to learn is making your own vege soups, as that boosts the filling power of meals and is a good snack too.  

    I'll include the recipe now.  What it shows is that you don't need to use all of an ingredient to make a difference.  This is a very large bowl for one:

    Heaped tsp of vege boulion into boiling water with 1 crushed garlic clove and a tsp of tomato puree.  Chop 1 medium onion, quarter of red pepper, half a courgette, about half a carrot, 2 balls of frozen spinach, (or a scant handful of fresh or a couple of tbsp of canned), half a pak choi, half a stick of celery, 80g of canned chickpeas, a quarter of a can of chopped toms and a tiny sprinkle of dry oregano.  Cook until the carrots have softened.  Serve with the green of a spring onion and some red Jalapenos pepper slices sprinkled across the top.  Eat with a spoon for a long time!  

  • I would suggest looking at Asian and Indian cooking, as well as some mezze /middle eastern dishes. There are plenty of diets that gravitate away from meat, dairy etc, if you get a vegetarian curry book you may suddenly find loads of inspiration. Curries based round tomato sauces tend to be lowest calorie-wise. Google vegan stir fries, you'll find lots of ideas there too. I'm not vegan - dairy-free vegetarian with occasional fish. I found cutting out cheese saved me a lot of calories from the point of view of weight loss - although I originally did it for health reasons. I love good vegan cooking, especially when it involves lots of fresh veg 😊

  • If you're not used to eating lots of veg and pulses, it might be a good idea to introduce them slowly as they can cause digestive problems until you body gets used to the change. 

    If you are ok with chickpeas perhaps try some chickpea flour flatbreads/pancakes. They are quick to make (once you have left the batter to soak) and contain protein. You can find the flour in Asian/Oriental supermarkets.

  • For the aware of us, most pulse stuff is bad news for type O blood types, high protein low carb, sums me up, ............I happen to loathe the texture of pulses too.

    Veg I'm fine with, I actually eat more rice than potatoes, given that rice most can tolerate 

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