How to prepare when going vegan. Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)
Is this vegan? Chances are anyone who comes into contact with me this month will hear me ask that question.

The plant-based movement is arguably one of the biggest food and lifestyle trends, and forecasters predict that it will only get bigger. Over the last couple of months, I have read and written a number of stories ranging from trends to recipes, on why we should or shouldn't adopt the lifestyle.

Somewhere along the line, my interest in this diet, or regimen - whatever you choose to call it - grew to the point where I thought about adopting it myself. I convinced our health writer, Viwe Ndongeni, to join me on this journey and see if veganism could become our new way of life. And also for moral support.

I am not a huge meat eater, but I do love processed foods - more for its convenience than the taste. I am also a sucker for my mom's home-cooked meals - and those are definitely not vegan.

November is World Vegan Month and I am trading bacon and eggs for muesli and strawberries instead. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

A week ago, I received a few products from Woolworths' new plant-based range, which prepared me in some way for what's to come as I slowly incorporated the vegan meals into my unhealthy diet.

I have also stocked up on Checkers’ recently launched Simple Truth range that includes vegan, gluten-free and organic products. I also turned to an expert, Jessica Kotlowitz, a registered clinical dietitian who is passionate about the use of plant-based diets. 

Kotlowitz, also known as The Green Dietitian, shared her tips on how to prepare for going vegan.

How to prepare for going vegan

It's important to do research on how to get your nutrition in as a vegan - how to get enough of all your nutrients and which foods you should be eating. Second, it's important to familiarise yourself with replacement products that will make the transition easier.

You're going to be dropping dairy, so look at non-dairy milk alternatives and familiarise yourself with the brands that are out there, for example, almond milk, soy milk or rice milk. The same goes for vegan cheeses or yoghurts or whatever it is that you are going to need to incorporate into your diet to help you lower your intake of animal products.

Preparing your Vegan starter pack

The ideal vegan diet is a whole food eating plan that focuses mostly on unprocessed food, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and legumes. You can shop at your local supermarket, you don’t have to go to specialised health stores to stock up on your special grains. 

Things like oats and rice, breakfast cereals, good whole grain bread and other grains like quinoa or barley, and potatoes are good to start with. 

For protein on a vegan diet stock up on legumes and soy products, chickpeas and lentils, beans, and you even get legume-based pasta and fruits and veg, so you can make tasty salads, stir-frys and curries. 

Definitely have some spices, which most people already have, and most people also have grains in their pantries.