Vegan For Beginners – The 10 Vegan Essentials We Love

by | Nov 20, 2021 | 0 comments

So, you’re interested in becoming vegan? Hopefully, I can help shed some light on everything vegan-related – think of this article as “vegan for beginners tips.”

I’ve been vegetarian for over 6 years now and vegan for about 2 years. 

So I definitely know how it feels when you are first exploring the overwhelming world of veganism. Let’s start off with some of the best vegan essentials out there, and then look at a few more specific questions regarding the vegan diet.

This post is written especially for us by Anna over at Pandaboss.co.uk

10 Best Vegan Essentials 

Here are my absolute staples as a vegan. All these items are available from The Store HK or Amazon if you aren’t in Hong Kong.  

1. Best vegan milk: Oatly Oat Milk 

Why we chose it:

It wouldn’t be a vegan essentials list without Oatly oat milk.

This is one of the most popular vegan milk brands. 

What we like:

  • This is the closest to “real” milk you’ll get. The texture, color, and creaminess are lovely. 
  • It’s enriched with calcium and other vitamins. 
  • There is also a Barista edition, which froths up really nicely in coffee machines.
  • Simple ingredients

What we don’t like:

  • The price! It’s also one of the most expensive vegan milks out there. 

Where to buy:

2. Essential vegan supplement: Omega 3 Supplement

Another vegan essential is omega 3 oil

Why we chose it:

  • Omega 3 is needed in all diets, but once you stop eating things like fish, it’s easy to forget.
  • Yes, you can use foods such as chia seeds, but it can be difficult to use enough to fit in your daily recommended intakes, so a supplement is definitely a vegan essential! 

What we like:

  • Sustainably grown 
  • More bioavailable since it comes from the source rather than the secondary agent (i.e., the fish eats this, we eat the fish, so we get secondary omega 3). 

What we don’t like:

  • Capsule form – omega 3 is an oil, so technically, the capsule is unnecessary. 

Where to buy:

3. Best vegan protein powder: Sunwarrior Vegan Protein Powder 

A great vegan staple to have in is vegan protein powder

Why we chose it:

  • There will be times when you want an extra protein boost.
  • Having vegan protein powder in your vegan essentials is a great idea. 

What we like:

  • No soy (this can be an irritant for some people and an allergen for others). 
  • No GMO
  • The full amino acid profile 

What we don’t like:

  • The taste can be slightly more chalky than non-vegan powders you might be used to

Summary: 

4. Best vegan daily product for your kitchen: Organic Peanut Butter

Organic peanut butter is a staple for vegans. Read our review of Marantha's

Why we chose it:

  • Peanut butter is an absolute vegan essential.
  • You will want to put it on everything! A great source of healthy fats as well as protein! 

What we like:

  • No additives – pure peanut butter and salt. 
  • Great taste
  • Available in crunchy and smooth

What we don’t like:

  • Much pricier than supermarket peanut butters

Where to buy:

5. Best healthy meatless alternative: Jackfruit 

Organic Young Jackfruit is great as a pulled pork alternative

Why we chose it:

  • Jackfruit is a great meat alternative for pulled pork.
  • You’ll need to get the savory variety, like this one. 

What we like:

  • Highly nutritious contains almost all vitamins & minerals.
  • Organic and Soy free (good for those with allergies)
  • Perfect pulled pork alternative

What we don’t like:

  • It can be hard to season Jack Fruit correctly to get the full “pulled pork” effect.

Where to buy:

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6. Important vegan supplement: B12 vitamin supplement 

A vegan supplement of b1 is absolutely essential for good nutrition

Why we chose it:

  • A B12 vitamin supplement is a must for any vegan diet.
  • B12 is made from dirt, which means animals get it from eating from the ground, and we then get it from eating the animals.
  • However, everything is so sanitized in this day and age, and most animals are corn-fed anyway – so even meat-eaters should be supplementing! 

What we like:

  • Chewable tablets
  • Mild, pleasant flavor 
  • Dissolves quickly
  • Made without the major allergens: without gluten or eggs, tree nuts, peanuts.
  • This product also contains no dairy, soy, yeast, fish, or shellfish.

What we don’t like:

  • Check with your medical professional before taking this if you are pregnant.

Where to buy:

7. High in protein meatless essential: Organic Chickpeas

Chickpeas are full of protein and a great vegan essential

Why we chose it:

  • An absolute vegan essential.
  • Chickpeas will go in absolutely EVERYTHING. 

What we like:

  • Organic 
  • Goes with everything – salads, curries, stews, etc.  
  • Mild taste
  • Very high in protein

What we don’t like:

  • It takes longer to cook than canned chickpeas

Where to buy:

8. Vegan pantry essential: Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is top of the list of vegan essentials

Why we chose it:

  • I challenge you to have a conversation with a true vegan who doesn’t mention that nutritional yeast is an absolute essential of any vegan pantry. 

What we like:

  • Tastes amazing – substitute for cheese
  • High in B12 (required supplement)
  • High in protein
  • It can be sprinkled on almost anything savory! 

What we don’t like:

  • Absolutely nothing. This product is gold. 

Where to buy:

9. Best vegan chocolate: Loving Earth Chocolate

Vegan chocolate is a vegan essential that allows you a treat in your vegan diet

Why we chose it:

What we like:

  • One of the best vegan chocolates out there
  • Many flavors available
  • Organic 
  • Fair Trade
  • Creamy, delicious texture

What we don’t like:

  • The caramel isn’t very strong.

Where to buy:

10. Vegan protein: Chickpea and Lentil Pasta

Vegan pasta is high on the vegan essentials list

Why we chose it:

  • Chickpea and lentil pasta is a great addition to any beginner’s vegan shopping list.
  • It will add additional protein to your meals without even thinking about it!  

What we like:

  • A whopping 17g protein per serving. 
  • Easy meal 
  • Gluten-free – great for those who are aiming to avoid gluten too! 

What we don’t like:

  • Not a strong taste

Where to buy: 

Vegan Diet FAQs

Is being vegan expensive? 

Not at all! This is a really common misconception, actually. Yes, if you are constantly eating processed vegan junk food like vegan cheese, vegan fake meat, etc., then you are likely to have a huge bill at the end. But if you are sticking to a healthy, whole foods vegan diet and only supplementing the vegan essentials mentioned above, then you’ll usually find your grocery bill is cheaper, not more expensive! 

What is not allowed in a vegan diet? 

Anything that comes from an animal. This means meat, dairy (cheese, milk) from any animal (cow, goat, sheep), and eggs are all a no-no! You’re also not allowed to eat things such as honey, which also comes from an animal. 

Is a Vegan Diet hard for a beginner?

It honestly depends on your own personality, what you’re used to, and what your drive is for becoming vegan in the first place. Some people will say that the ones who find it easiest are the ones who decide to go vegan for ethical reasons. As a huge animal lover myself, I can definitely confirm that once I realized the cruelty behind all of the mass-produced animal products, it wasn’t hard for me. 

However, if you are struggling – why not cut one category at a time? You could start with meat first, then milk, then cheese, then eggs. This can take away the “shock factor.” Overall, you’ll find it strange for about 2-3 weeks, and then you’ll get so used to it you’ll stop craving things like cheese (which are naturally quite addictive!)

Vegan essentials: What are the best pantry staples that vegans can eat?

Ask any vegan this question, and you’re almost guaranteed to get the same answer. Below are the main vegan essentials in terms of pantry staples that you’ll need – use it as a beginner vegan shopping list if you will! 

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– Beans and lentils: this is a huge protein source for most vegans and is super cheap too! Combined with rice, it actually produces a complete protein. 
– Oats: this is a source of many nutrients and a great way to fill up at the start of the day. However, you can also use this to make things like cookies – trust me on this one! 
– Bananas: perhaps a strange one to add to the list, but bananas are a great addition to anything from smoothies to baking – I always add a banana to my protein shakes to make them taste really nice! They are also one of the best sources of potassium. 
Plant Milk: there are so many different plant kinds of milk out there, such as oat, coconut, rice, soya, etc. You’ll find that each has a different flavor and consistency, and each works best for different things. I recommend oat milk or soya milk for coffee/tea and coconut milk or rice milk for oats and cereals.
Protein Powder: as mentioned earlier, this is one of the great vegan essentials to have on hand for days you may be low on protein or if you exercise a lot. 
– Rice: As mentioned above, when you combine rice with beans, it becomes a complete protein in terms of amino acids. This makes it super healthy as a combination! 
– Chickpeas: Similar to beans and lentils, this is a huge source of protein and goes in almost any dish! Think curries, salads, stews, and even baked goods! Yes, the aquafaba (chickpea water) is actually a brilliant egg replacement. 

What is a Vegan Diet & why would you choose it?  

A vegan diet essentially means no animal products whatsoever. A vegan wouldn’t consume anything that has come out of an animal, not even honey! The main confusion tends to be around vegetarian vs. vegan.

A vegetarian would not eat any meat or fish products but would still consume dairy/eggs. A vegan does not consume anything related to animals. 

Why do people choose to become vegan?

There are 3 main reasons: ethics, the environment, and health.

 

Finally

As you can see, there is a lot to take in with regards to a vegan diet. But in summary, it’s a great thing to do, and with the right vegan essentials for your shopping list, you will be a pro in no time! 

Thank you to Anna for today’s post! Want to find out more about Anna? Anna has been a vegetarian for 6 years.  For the last two years, she has been a vegan. In the UK, she runs a superb Youtube channel and a finance blog called Panda boss.

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