Frequently asked questions about becoming a vegan
What will I eat?
There are so many delicious vegan dishes to choose from that you’ll never be short of ideas.
How about Indian curries, spaghetti, pizza, enchiladas, Chinese stir fry, sausage and mash, falafel, vegetable casserole and dumplings, sandwiches, wraps, samosas, quiche, soups, pasta and pesto, spring rolls, lasagne, spicy bean burgers, risotto, hot and sour soup, Thai green curry, Moroccan tagine…and don’t forget dessert! Vegans can enjoy sponge cake, ice cream, cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies and more that taste as good as or even better than their non-vegan equivalents. Rest assured that vegan food is just as tasty and varied as any other type of food.
You don’t have to be a genius in the kitchen or have loads of time to cook – quick and easy vegan meals include stir fries, pasta and sauce, chilli, jacket potatoes and burritos. If you do enjoy cooking, you can have lots of fun trying out new recipes and discovering new favourite ingredients and dishes.
What about eating in restaurants?
Many restaurants offer vegan options and the choice is improving all the time. Chain restaurants which have vegan options include JD Wetherspoon, Wagamama, Pizza Express, Las Iguanas, ASK and Pizza Hut. Indian restaurants usually have a good selection for vegans, and Middle Eastern, Chinese and Thai restaurants often have vegan dishes as many of their vegetarian dishes do not contain milk or eggs. Just check with the staff to make sure there are no hidden animal ingredients, such as fish sauce in Thai food.
There are also several guides to vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants all over the world - have a look at our travel and eating out page for details.
Is vegan food expensive?
No more than any other type of food. In fact, meals based on vegan staples such as pasta, rice, beans and vegetables often work out cheaper than using animal products. Vegan meals in restaurants are often cheaper than the meat dishes. Products such as non-dairy milk, veggie burgers and vegan pesto are usually a similar price to their non-vegan counterparts and are available in most supermarkets. As with any type of food you can splash out on luxuries if you like, but that’s entirely up to you.
How can I make sure I remain healthy?
A balanced vegan diet meets many current healthy eating recommendations, such as eating more fruit and vegetables, wholegrains and fibre and consuming less saturated fat and cholesterol. It can also decrease your chances of suffering from heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers. Well-planned vegan diets meet nutritional requirements for all age groups and stages of life – have a look at our nutrition pages for more details.
Will I need to take supplements?
Vegans need to obtain vitamin B12 either from supplements or from foods fortified with it. Our bodies produce vitamin D by the action of sunlight on skin, so depending on where they live, it may be advisable for vegans to consume vitamin D2 during winter through supplements or fortified foods (particularly in northern countries such as the UK). Other than Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D, all nutrients necessary for good health can be obtained from plant foods in adequate amounts. More on vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
The Vegan Society produces Veg1, a multivitamin designed specifically for vegans, but suitable for everyone, which includes both these vitamins.
I’ll miss chocolate/pizza/ice cream/cheese/cake!
There are vegan versions of or alternatives to many familiar foods, including all of the above – you may not have to 'give up' that favourite food after all!
What if I eat at a friend or relative’s house? – I don’t want to be ‘difficult’
Friends and relatives may not know how to cater for you at first but will soon get used to your new diet. To help them out:
- explain to them in advance what you do and don’t eat;
- offer to give them some recipes they could cook for you or suggest a few ideas;
- offer to take a dish to share with everyone;
- offer to take your own non-dairy milk for tea, if you use it.
You may find that friends and relatives get into the ‘challenge’ of cooking vegan food for you and will look forward to having you round to show off their latest efforts!