Words By Agnes Aui | Photograph By PLANTA Canada

Veganism. We’re pretty sure that this word is no stranger to you. For a little history, the term ‘vegan’ was actually invented in 1944 by a small group of vegetarians who decided to break away from the Leicester Vegetarian Society in England to form the Vegan Society. Aside from not consuming meat, they also decided to stop consuming other animal products which include dairy as well as eggs. And today, veganism is a lifestyle that attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, which includes not only food but clothing as well.

For as long as I can remember, I have always been introduced to meat. In fact, it was a practice in my family to finish up all of the meat on my plate and leave the rice, should we ever feel full when dining. However, when I was a teenager, I remembered being uncomfortable whenever I would visit the zoo on family outing day. Seeing all those animals being caged up for their entire lives filled me with great sadness, and I swore to never visit any kind of zoos or parks that involved animals. But something was still missing, I wanted to be vegan. 

Unfortunately, being a teenager, I found it difficult to do so as most of my food came from my mother’s cooking, which greatly involved meat. However, being an adult today and having full control of my daily meals, I decided to try veganism again.  I’ve recently become vegan (3 months and counting!). So if you’re thinking of adopting this healthy and fulfilling lifestyle, here are some tips that I find useful when it comes to transitioning, and I hope they help you on your journey too.

#1 Don’t be too hard on yourself

It’s not easy to completely drop meat when you’ve been a meat-eater your whole life. This is especially difficult if you live with people whose diets revolve around meat (like the keto diet). So take it slow. I know that fake meat may not be the healthiest option as they’re processed but during your transition period, you don’t want to limit options for yourself as this could stress you out and make you give up before you even try. The same goes with animal byproducts like dairy. You’d want to give your best in avoiding the consumption of dairy, but don’t beat yourself up if you accidentally consume it in the form of baked goods. 

The further you are in your veganism journey, you’ll find it easier to be conscious of what you put in your mouth. So don’t be too hard on yourself when you’re starting out!

#2 Know your why power

Before transitioning to veganism, understand why you’re doing so. Think it through or maybe spend the afternoon journaling about it while sipping on a warm cup of tea. It may seem unnecessary, but knowing your why-power actually helps to keep you going. It’s normal for people to question why you’d want to go vegan. It’s also normal for people to try to entice you with meat and “all the other options you could have” if you weren’t vegan. Now these scenarios may sway you, if you’re not strong enough in knowing why you went vegan in the first place. But having a concrete reason for why you’re doing what you’re doing can help in reassuring you that you made the right choice for yourself.

#3 Have fun with it

The journey to veganism is a never ending path of knowledge. And the best part about it is that it doesn’t have to be rigid and stressful. It’s always fun learning about the various sources of nutrients that different ingredients provide. It’s also fun to try new recipes for every meal, which you can find loads on the internet. There are also vegan instagrammers that you can follow for different cuisines like Asian, Western, Mediterranean and more. Other than that, there are groups for you to join on Facebook where you can meet other fellow vegans in your country or region. There, they offer support, resources and recipes which is extremely useful in countries that don’t have much vegan restaurants. Remember, veganism is a loving lifestyle so keep your spirits up and just have fun with it!

Vegan fine dining restaurants to elevate your dining experience:

1. PLANTA in Canada

According to PLANTA’s official website, the restaurant was opened to create delicious food that promotes environmental sustainability. Helmed by chef David Lee, PLANTA aims to fill a void in the market of upscale and plant-based dining options. The restaurant believes that there’s more to responsible plant-based eating than just taking animals off the plate. Which is why the restaurant commits themselves to using high-quality products from ethical suppliers. 

2. Original Sin Restaurant in Singapore

Although Original Sin labels itself as a ‘vegetarian’ restaurant, the restaurant actually provides a wide array of vegan options in its menu. To make things better, it is actually the first and only Mediterranean vegetarian restaurant in Singapore and has been standing strong since 1997. Born from a rich knowledge of food and its flavours, Original Sin creates works of art that are divine, exciting and healthy.

3. Växthuset in Sweden

Located next to Under Bron, also known as the city’s popular nightclub, this upscale restaurant in Sweden creates all of its vegan dishes from seasonal ingredients. Elevating your night even further, all of its wines are handcrafted, ensuring quality in every bite and sip. You can find tantalising dishes like charred celeriac with herb emulsion and buckwheat, as well as truffle croquettes with fermented onion marmalade. 

4. The Allotment in England

Established in 2016, The Allotment offers a plant-based and gluten-free menu using the best of the season’s harvest to bring an entirely new experience to the table for diners. Specializing in casual fine dining, this restaurant serves up delightful plates of vegan Sunday roast, tofu coconut curry, cauliflower wings and more.