A great way to get started is to do some investigating. See if you can find vegan-friendly stores and restaurants in your neighborhood that you didn’t even know existed. Ask your vegan or vegetarian friends where they shop. If you don’t have any vegan friends, see if you can make some! Post a new status on Facebook. You might be surprised who comes out of the woodwork. It’s great to be able to share tricks and thoughts with someone.

Start with food you already love. Sometimes you can get lost in the things you can’t have, but there is a world of food out there that you can still eat, and some of it is sure to be among your favorites. Go to your grocery store and load up on granola (read the labels to make sure they’re vegan) granola, bagels, bread, peanut butter, hummus, soy, rice or almond milk, dry pasta, tomato sauce, frozen stir-fry veggies, nuts, dried fruit, salsa, tortilla chips, potato chips (not the cheesy ones), soups, rice and anything without meat, dairy or eggs that you love. Once you have your arsenal, you’ll realize how easy this is going to be.

Be ready for your appetite to increase. You’re going to want to eat more often during the day, and that’s okay! Going vegan increases your metabolism, so even if your calories increase, you won't necessarily be gaining weight. Make sure you plan what you’re going to eat as much as you can, and stock up on snacks like nuts, dried fruit, seeds and vegan bars (like Kind bars, Lara bars and some Luna bars), so when that hunger hits, you’re prepared.

Try new vegan recipes as often as you can. Look for vegan recipes you’re excited about and ask your friends to come over and try them out. Start with simple ingredients and add things one at a time to figure out what you like and don’t like. Before you know it, you’ll have a list of favorites, and you’ll be cooking like a pro!

There’s no wrong way to become a vegan. Some people ease into it, some people dive right in. Just remember that it’s all about where you’re headed.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are some suggestions for easing in:
  1. Go vegan at home, but let yourself eat whatever you want when you’re out socializing.
  2. Remove one ingredient at a time. Week 1 is no beef, Week 2 remove pork, and so on.
  3. Assign a “vegan day” once a week where you eat only vegan food and try a new recipe.

Good luck!