How to Survive as a Lazy Vegan

Hello! I’m Abi, 24 years old, vegan for 8 years, vegetarian a handful more, and from an omnivorous family. I am the self-professed laziest vegan in the world, and this is my guide to surviving as one.

When turning vegan, there is pressure to jump straight into that Instagram-perfect, green smoothie chugging, yoga at 6 am, glowing goddess overnight. Those folks are valid and very impressive! But most of us work 9-5 every day and have a multitude of other responsibilities, so we have to improvise and make it work. There is a middle ground where we thrive by working it into our own lifestyles.

My credentials as the laziest vegan are as such: I have rarely maintained the textbook ‘ideal’ lifestyle of one. As a student and young person who has never experienced joy- only dramatic stress from cooking, think yelps and tendrils of fire following my attempts; it has been quite the journey to do this healthily and with the least amount of effort required.

This guide is for the Super Noodle and peas every night vegans, the vege-nugget and oven chip vegans, the pasta and tomato sauce jar vegans, we can do better! 🙂

It must first be acknowledged, that there is a very real risk of us becoming under-nourished- susceptible to anaemia, Vitamin B12 deficiency, and other such if we don’t take our nutrition seriously, especially if we are menstruating humans. Further still, Orthorexia can be too easy to fall into, so please please take care of yourself! On a similar note, if your medication for pre-existing conditions contains animal-derived ingredients like lactose, or you need to start taking them, do. Never feel guilty about putting your health first. This is the cardinal rule of veganism. You are not a ‘bad vegan’ or invalid in any way. Veganism is about doing your best, within your means, look after you and the planet!

So where do we start?

Food

Top tip! A lot of bread is fortified in the UK with iron, calcium, folic acid, vitamin D and vitamin B12. Plant milk also comes fortified. Look out for brands that add calcium, vitamins A, D, and B12.

For most meals, I would recommend adding a tin of beans or pulses, two or three different vegetables, a whole grain carbohydrate, and a form of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat- from nuts and seeds or healthy oils. Add a fermented food like sauerkraut or kimchi.

There are lots of fantastic youtube channels and food accounts to follow for recipes. These are my top 5 recommendations:

Cheap Lazy Vegan
THE BUDDHIST CHEF
Tabitha Brown
Pengveganmunch
James Wythe

Lazy Vegan 2 Minute Meals 

– ‘Egg mayo’- Mash tinned washed beans with vegan mayo, salt, pepper, spring onions and lemon. Put together with packaged salad on fortified bread.

– ‘Philly cheesesteak’ sandwich – Seitan, sliced, microwaved or fried; on fortified bread with vegan melted cheese. Add watercress for some peppery green iron.

– ‘Ham sandwich’ – Quorn vegan ham or chicken slices, iceberg lettuce, vegan mayo and sweet chilli sauce.

– Peanut butter tofu – cubed tofu. Fried in a sauce made from soy sauce, sriracha, sliced garlic, peanut butter and maple syrup.

– Nicecream – blended very ripe frozen banana. Add in spinach, peas, or any other frozen vegetables for some iron. And flax seed, chia, or hemp for the healthy omega 3. For a sweeter treat use frozen fruit or dates as a yummy breakfast or dessert.

– ‘Ramen’- rice or wheat noodles, in stock with whatever vegetables you have, mushrooms, and fried chilli tofu with spring onions as a garnish.

– Beans on toast. Self-explanatory.

– Vegan Full English- scrambled tofu, mushrooms, baked beans, hash browns, sauteed spinach, toast.

– Roast Veg couscous salad- cut up tomatoes, onions, a head of garlic, and your favourite vegetables. Chuck in a can of chickpeas and then coat it all in whatever spices and herbs you like. I typically use smoked paprika and mixed herbs as a base and whatever else I fancy on the day. Toss in olive oil and some oil from your sundried tomato jar if you have it. Then pop it in a baking tray, and then into the oven at 180 for about 40 mins/ 1 hour. In the meantime cook up couscous and quinoa separately with a stock cube, and add frozen peas and spinach in the last 5 mins. Combine together and enjoy!

Vitamins and Supplements

In your basic arsenal of supplements, you’ll want:

– Vegan multivitamin
– Iron
– B12
– Vitamin D
– A probiotic
– Vegan Omega- 3

For food sources, this infographic by Jon Venus is a good place to start. He has many more on his Instagram page. As does Ferdinand Beck.

Alcohol and Veganism

Join the Vegan Booze UK Facebook group for great advice on that front. Other than that, a quick google when you’re in the supermarket or pub will tell you if the drink you want is vegan. And lots of wine and cider now have that information for you on the label. I would be wary of wine and cider due to traditional processing, so do be attentive to that. Supermarket staff and bar staff might know off the top of their heads, so give them a go too.

Clothes

First of all: Don’t throw away your existing non-vegan clothes! This might seem obvious for some, but when I first turned vegan I thought that was the done thing. The most sustainable fashion is fashion you already own. So no need to throw away all your leather boots and woollen jumpers… but maybe fur coats, because that is pretty chilling.

Buying new, simply avoid wool, silk, fur and leather. Easier than it seems, I assure you! Just stick to  plant fibres like cotton or linen. Plastic fabrics will do too, but they are horribly environmentally unfriendly. Additionally, there are lots of brands using exciting bio-materials at the moment, especially in footwear, so keep your eyes out for that.

Controversially, I buy non-vegan fabrics second hand too. This isn’t to everyone’s taste, but if you feel comfortable with it, go for it. You’re not directly funding the slaughter and cruel treatment of the animals that produced the material, and you’re keeping clothes out of landfill for longer.

Toiletries and Makeup

Wearth London is a great place to start as everything they stock is completely vegan friendly. Click here to check out their range of sustainable makeup options.

Otherwise, for makeup, I tend to stick to Barry M, and Elf for trusted brands; and B. and Me+ from Superdrug in a pinch. The Body Shop is also a favourite. There are more expensive brands doing great vegan cosmetics too, but I’m afraid I’m not the authority on that. Cruelty Free Kitty is though! It is a fantastic resource.

If you’re a curly-haired vegan feel free to check out my previous post for advice on that specifically.

So I hope I have helped you in some way, and if you have any questions at all, feel free to dm me on Instagram at @_abi_lomax_