Are you thinking about going vegan overnight and wonder how to best go about it?
Or did you already make your decision and are looking for some guidance on making the transition?
Either way, you've come to the right place, and I am so excited that you are here.🤗
Going vegan overnight can be a drastic lifestyle change, which is why good preparation is key.
But no need to feel overwhelmed because, in this post, you'll find an easy to follow step by step guide that will get you ready for your transition.
But before we cover precisely which steps you need to take, let's take a quick look at the pros and cons of going vegan overnight to ensure that this is the right approach for you.
- What are some benefits of going vegan overnight?
- What are some of the disadvantages of going vegan overnight?
- Is it safe to go vegan overnight?
- Step 1: Set a date
- Step 2: Write down your why
- Step 3: Get rid of all the non-vegan foods in your home
- Step 4: Make a list of vegan foods that you already like
- Step 5: Learn what you can and can't eat on a vegan diet.
- Step 6: Learn about the nutrients that are critical for vegans
- Step 7: Plan your meals one week in advance
- Step 8: Stock up on snacks
- Step 9: Get to know the vegan options in your area and at your grocery store
- Step 10: Connect with local vegans in person or online
What are some benefits of going vegan overnight?
Most often, transitioning to a vegan diet slowly and gradually is recommended*. Still, there are also some advantages of going vegan overnight. For example:
- You start to experience the benefits sooner
- You stop contributing to animal abuse right away
- You reduce your environmental impact faster
- You reach your goal quickly - taking a slower step by step approach to going vegan can take many months, and you need enough self-motivation to keep taking the next step towards veganism
*Learn about the benefits of going vegan slowly in this article.
What are some of the disadvantages of going vegan overnight?
Depending on your eating habits, going vegan overnight may be a major lifestyle change that can pose some challenges: For example:
- You may not know what to eat as a vegan or which recipes to make
- Figuring out how to deal with social situations can be more challenging because you are thrown into cold water
- You may feel overwhelmed a lot (not knowing where to find ingredients at the store, uncertainty about meeting your nutritional needs, figuring out what to eat at a restaurant that doesn't offer vegan options, etc.)
- You may experience withdrawal symptoms (yes, really) and stronger cravings for animal products. (This is most likely to happen to those who eat very meat and animal product heavy diet.)
- Lower success rate in the long-term: people who go vegan overnight tend to be more likely to give up veganism and return to their old eating patterns - but hey, why not prove these statistics wrong 😉
Is it safe to go vegan overnight?
Yes and no. If you are a healthy individual, it is generally safe to go vegan overnight.
Moreover, if you are already vegetarian or a meat-eater who eats a plant-rich diet, you will most likely be just fine.
However, if you eat a lot of mean and animal products with few fruits and vegetables, you might struggle if you don't prepare well (see disadvantages above).
What often makes going vegan overnight unsafe is that you are more prone to becoming deficient in nutrients.
However, investing some time to learn about critical nutrients for vegans and how to meet the need will reduce that risk a lot.
Further, the information you find in this post will help you transition to a vegan diet overnight safely.
In addition to guidance on the steps you need to take, you'll also learn how to make sure you meet your nutritional needs and what supplements you need to take.
Nevertheless, if you want to transition to a vegan diet quickly but are concerned about its safety for you or you desire individual guidance, I encourage you to seek the advice of a plant-based dietician.
Alright, enough theory, let's get started with the steps you need to take to go vegan overnight
Step 1: Set a date
If you've decided that tomorrow will be the day you go vegan, you may skip this step.
But if you know you want to go vegan quickly but it doesn't have to be tomorrow, then I recommend you set a date approximately one week ahead of time.
Doing so will give you more time to prepare and thus make your transition much easier.
Step 2: Write down your why
Before you start your transition, it's helpful to define your why. Ideally, you jot it down on a post-it note and stick it on a prominent spot.
Write down why you want to go vegan, why it is crucial that you go through with the transition as well as why it is important for you to stay vegan.
Don't skip this step, even if it sounds unnecessary for you, because despite the amazing benefits you'll experience as a vegan you will inevitably face challenging times as well.
There will be days where you'll wonder if you made the right decisions and days you'll doubt that you can do this.
Plus, you'll also experience social pressure to return to your previous eating patterns.
In times like these, you can find motivation and determination to keep going by remembering your why.
Step 3: Get rid of all the non-vegan foods in your home
Before you transition, it can be very helpful to get rid of all meat and animal products you have in your home.
This is not just to reduce the chance of slip-ups, but also because you won't need these products anymore and don't want them to go to waste.
So, gather them all and give them away to friends, family, and neighbors who are not vegan. Donating them to a local shelter is also a great idea, if they accept it.
If you live with family members or have roommates who are not joining you on your vegan journey, you will have animal products in your home that you can't throw out.
Still, what you can do is get rid of all the non-vegan foods that belong to you (simply invite your family members/roommates to finish them up for you).
Don't forget about the snacks you've hidden in your room! 😉
Step 4: Make a list of vegan foods that you already like
As a new vegan, you'll probably struggle with not knowing what you should eat quite a bit.
Therefore, it can be helpful to compile a list of dishes that you like that are already vegan before you actually go vegan.
Items on the list can be as simple as oatmeal, a garden salad, Oreos, or soup.
It may take some time, but most likely, you will be able to come up with a few dishes that you love but never realized were vegan.
Moreover, as you try vegan recipes, add the ones you love to the list.
This way, your list keeps growing and will become your ultimate resource for days when you don't know what to eat. (This is going to be helpful even after you've been vegan for years, trust me 😁)
Step 5: Learn what you can and can't eat on a vegan diet.
So, since you are here, you probably know that vegans choose not to eat any animal products (such as meat or meat products, milk or milk products, fish, eggs, etc.).
While these foods by themselves are usually easy to recognize (and avoid), it gets tricky as soon as you purchase items that are more processed.
A lot of pasta, for example, is made with eggs. Moreover, often non-vegan additives (such as milk powder) are added to assumably vegan products.
For those reasons, grocery shopping can be frustrating and overwhelming for new vegans and often cause you to feel like there's nothing to eat for you.
To reduce that stress and overwhelm, I don't think it's necessary to get too caught up in label reading when you are starting out.
You can hone your label readings skills and get more strict with it as you go.
Now that we covered what vegans don't eat, let's take a look at what they do eat.
Simply put, the major food groups for vegans are:
- Whole-grains such as wheat, oats, rice, and quinoa
- Legumes and beans, such as kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, and green beans
- Fruits, such as bananas, apples, peaches, lemons, strawberries, and raspberries
- Vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, spinach, bell peppers, and salad greens
- and Nuts and seeds, such as chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and sunflower seeds
Now, this list is pretty vague and probably doesn't give you an idea of what to actually eat.
For that reason, I encourage you to read this article where we talk about all these food groups in more detail and cover how you can incorporate them into your diet.
In addition to the foods mentioned above, you can enjoy highly-processed vegan foods, such as vegan chicken nuggets, vegan pizza, vegan cheese, vegan meat alternatives, and so on.
While these foods are not the best health-wise, they can be life-saving as you transition to a vegan diet because these products allow you to veganize all your favorite foods.
Therefore, they can take away a lot of the stress centered around what you should eat as a vegan. Plus, they are incredibly delicious and usually don't require a lot of effort.
Step 6: Learn about the nutrients that are critical for vegans
It is essential that you know how to meet your nutritional needs on a vegan diet and what supplements you need to take.
This may seem like an overwhelming task at first, but it's truly not all that bad. I recommend reading this article on the most important nutrients for vegans because it goes into depth on each of the nutrients.
You'll learn how you can meet the need reliably and what good sources of each nutrient are.
You'll also discover whether supplements are necessary and what deficiency symptoms you should look out for.
Additionally, here is a brief overview of the most important nutrients for vegans to get you started:
Vitamin B12: All vegans must take a vitamin B12 supplement regularly. Sublingual supplements (such as drops, sprays, or chewable tablets) are the most reliable. You should take in at least 2500 μg vitamin B12 every week.
Iron: To ensure you get enough iron on a vegan diet, you should regularly incorporate iron-rich foods into your meals and implement strategies that increase iron absorption.
Vitamin D: Under specific circumstances (f.e. plenty of time spent in the sun), the body can produce Vitamin D. However, if you don't spend a lot of time outdoors or it's winter, then you need to take a supplement. The most common supplements are drops and depots.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Vegans usually get enough of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. However, the fatty acids DHA and EPA are more challenging to get. Therefore, it is recommended that vegans take a microalgae oil supplement.
Zinc: Zinc is abundant in plant foods, and vegans who eat many whole foods typically meet the need easily. Nevertheless, it would be best if you implemented measures that increase the absorption of zinc and regularly incorporate high-zinc foods into your meals.
Vitamin B2: It is uncertain if vegans generally meet the recommended intake of vitamin B2 or not. Therefore, it's a good idea to incorporate vitamin B2-rich foods into your diet regularly. Further, you should use methods that increase the B2 content in your meals, steam B2-rich foods, and properly store your groceries.
Iodine: In countries where the soil is low in iodine, the only reliable sources are iodized table salt and algae. The best way to supplement iodine is by consuming Nori flakes. Alternatively, you can take Kelp tablets.
Selenium: In many countries, plant foods are not a reliable source of selenium. You can still meet your need by consuming 2-3 Brazil nuts a day. You should only take a supplement if you have a diagnosed deficiency.
Calcium: Vegans who eat a mostly whole-foods diet usually get enough calcium. To support an adequate supply, you should regularly incorporate calcium-rich foods into your dishes and implement measures that promote calcium absorption.
Step 7: Plan your meals one week in advance
Whether you plan on going vegan tomorrow or in a week, planning out what you will eat during your first week as a vegan will be tremendously helpful.
First of all, doing so will make it a lot easier to follow through with your decision to eat vegan.
Moreover, by planning ahead, you will spend less time worrying about what you should eat because you already have a basic idea.
Additionally, planning will help you ensure that you eat a balanced and varied diet.
To keep it easy and exciting your first weeks as a vegan, you can simply google breakfast/lunch/dinner recipes and pick the ones that sound the most delicious to you.
This is one of the best ways to discover amazing vegan recipes, and it also helps you see how versatile a vegan diet can be.
Step 8: Stock up on snacks
In Step 3, you got rid of all your non-vegan snacks, and now it's time to stock up on vegan snacks!
You don't need to worry about the snacks' healthiness right now (unless you want to). Instead, simply explore all the options available to you and try them out.
It will be incredibly helpful for you to choose vegan versions of the snacks you usually eat.
So that when you crave chocolate, for example, instead of feeling like, "oh, I can't have that anymore," you can eat the vegan chocolate you bought.
Moreover, having snacks on hand will help tie you over between meals.
They are also handy to have with you when you are out and about and get hungry and no or only a few vegan options are available to you.
Step 9: Get to know the vegan options in your area and at your grocery store
Go out and explore your area with vegan eyes. Try to find out things like:
Which vegan restaurants are in your town? Which restaurants serve both vegan and non-vegan food? Where can you order vegan foods?
What grocery stores offer the most vegan specialty items? Where do you find the ingredients you need at your local grocery store?
Of course, you will learn a lot of these things as you go, but it will be helpful to have a basic idea before you go vegan.
This way, you know what to expect and can prepare accordingly.
For example, if you like to go out to eat but find that there are few vegan options in your area, you know you either need to start cooking for yourself more often or learn how to eat vegan at non-vegan restaurants (or both).
Moreover, it's a good idea to explore your grocery store with vegan eyes. You'll probably notice so many items you may have never seen before.
Knowing which ingredients are available at your local store will inevitably influence the recipes you choose to make.
Step 10: Connect with local vegans in person or online
Chances are that you will be the only vegan in your circle of friends and family. (If not, you're lucky!)
But whether you are or aren't, it can be super fun to connect with other local vegans online or in person.
You will receive so many incredible tips and make awesome new friends who will keep you accountable and provide support.
One of the best ways to connect with local vegans is to search vegan + name of your town on Facebook. Likely a group or page will come up that you can join/like.
Many of these groups will do meetings in person where you can connect. Plus, you can join conversations or ask questions in the Facebook group.
For me, these groups have been one of the most valuable resources, so make use of them.
Alright, you just completed the 10 steps, and now you are all set to go vegan! I am so excited for you! Here is a quick summary of all the steps.
I wish you all the best for your journey! Feel free to reach out anytime if you need help, have questions or simply want to chat 🙂