vegan starter guide

I never intended to write a guide to becoming vegan on this website–the idea was (and still is) that I would stick to what I know best: reading books and figuring out how to write my own.

But, in the past year, several friends have reached out for advice about transitioning to a plant-based diet and/or vegan lifestyle, so I thought it was worth compiling the information I’ve shared with them and sharing it here too.

With so many resources available online, it seemed silly to create my own “how-to” guides, especially as anything I know I learned from someone else. In each of the following categories, therefore, I point you towards some people and places that I found useful when I was transitioning to being vegan, as well as some things I wish I’d known or thought about at the time.

I’ll likely add some additional topics in the future. But, honestly, when I first realized that I wanted to go vegan, my thoughts were basically limited to: What am I going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? & What am I going to do when I’m out and about or eating with friends and family? I figure that’s what most people probably care about too, so for now I won’t get too much into the weeds on ya!


(This resource guide is a work in progress. More links coming soon!)

“There is no one-size-fits-all model for becoming vegan.”


Some vegans will tell you that you must go vegan overnight, or that you’re not a real vegan until you do ABC or XYZ.

Now that I have opened my eyes to the horrors of animal agriculture, I do wish that I had become vegan overnight (and many many years ago). However, my initial motivation was environmental rather than ethical and, while it was easy for me to quit eating meat right away, I spent three or four months sampling different milks and butters and yogurts as I transitioned from being vegetarian to vegan.

When I look back, seeing what I’ve seen and knowing what I now know, I wish I’d understood sooner that veganism isn’t a diet–it’s an ethical response to violence and exploitation–and this process really isn’t about me. It’s about them; and the animals that live in misery and die in pain and fear each day do not have time for us to wait or prolong the process.

In retrospect, I do wish that I hadn’t spent so much time in “research mode” or making exceptions when I was eating out. But that wasn’t my journey, and while I urge you for the sake of the animals to not wait as long as I did, it would be hypocritical and dishonest for me to criticize people who don’t become vegan overnight when I certainly didn’t.

There is no one-size-fits-all model for becoming vegan, and there isn’t a comprehensive list of criteria to fulfill before you get to identify as one.

Each of the friends who reached out to me had different reasons for wanting to become vegan or eat plant-based, and each was different than the other in terms of their location, financial situation, time (or inclination) available to spend preparing and cooking food, not to mention allergies and plain old personal preferences.

If you’re curious about becoming vegan or adopting a more plant-rich diet, I offer you the same advice that I offer them, inspired by the words of Samuel Beckett.

  • Begin. Just begin.
  • Try. Just try.
  • Begin again. And again and again.
  • Try this thing. No? Okay, then try this other thing.
  • Fail. Fail again.
  • Fail some more.
  • Fail a little less.
  • Fail better.
  • Try. Just try.
  • Begin. Just begin.