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Going Vegan: Tips to Switch to a Plant-Based Diet

Whatever the reason you decide to go vegan, there’s likely to be some challenges along the way. Whether it’s choosing something to order at a restaurant when you’re out with friends or finding a delicious recipe to cook at home, vegan options are sometimes hard to come by. However, more and more restaurants are offering vegan dishes and chefs are creating meatless recipes as this healthy trend continues to grow.

vegan eggplant meal
Photo by shutterstock.

It’s not surprising why the health conscious are making the switch to a vegan diet. It is lower in fat than a meat diet, and people who follow a vegan diet consume more fiber and vitamin C than their meat-eating peers, according to data from The Dietary Guidelines. If you’re considering making the switch to a vegan diet, read on to learn more and find tips for making the transition easy.

Going Vegan: The Facts

According to shocking data from PETA, each day 2,400 Americans die from cardiovascular diseases. In many cases, cardiovascular diseases are caused by diets full of animal products. The average cholesterol of a meat eater is 210, while the average vegan cholesterol is much lower at 133.

In addition to the serious health risks, production of animal products and foods has a harsh impact on the planet. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. In 2009, meat producers used 235 trillion gallons of water, while soybean producers used only 5 trillion gallons. And, if one U.S. family were to skip just one chicken dinner a week, the carbon dioxide savings would be equivalent to taking more than half a million cars off American roads.

Apps to Locate Restaurants and Find Recipes

These two apps are recommended by The Vegan Woman, a website dedicated to the vegan lifestyle.

HappyCow: Developed by, this vegan-only app helps healthy eaters locate vegan-friendly restaurants nearby. The app also includes helpful reviews, ratings and contact information for the restaurant. HappyCow is available via the App Store and Google Play.

Go Vegan!: This app, which is compatible with Apple devices, gives healthy cooks access to Sarah Kramer’s cookbooks. Sarah has been dubbed “the world’s coolest vegan” by Herbivore Magazine, and her iOS app is pretty cool, too. You can email yourself a shopping list and audio from Sarah as you whip together a vegan dish. The price tag is $4.99, but it’s well worth it if you’re just starting out on your journey to veganism.

Grocery Shopping

Once you go vegan, your ordinary shopping experience changes drastically. Now, you have to be more ingredient-conscious than ever before. The experts from PETA have put together a vegan grocery list that offers suggestions such as Daiya vegan cheeses, Earth Balance Vegan butters, Gardein vegan meats and soy milks from Silk. From the website you can select your vegan items from a long list of products, and when you’re finished you have the option to print or email your new vegan grocery list. Most grocery stores have a natural foods or health foods section; however, if you’re having trouble finding a certain item, be sure to ask the store clerk for help.

Lauren Topor is a lifestyle writer based in the Southwest who spends her days writing about food and health, fashion, fitness and entertainment.