As you may know, at UpCircle, we try to focus on positive change and keep an “every little helps” mentality. You can apply this to trying to make more sustainable purchases or simply living a more conscious lifestyle, or even when it comes to adopting a plant-based lifestyle.
All of us have, at some point, tried to achieve too much at once and been unable to follow through, so it’s key to take it slooow. For some, the easiest method is to make a total commitment overnight or to go "cold turkey" as they say (oops, not very 'vegan'). Whereas for others, a more gradual approach suits better. However, there's also option 3, which is simply to reduce. To never aim to be fully vegan, just to be vegan-ish and that's great too! 👏
So, where to start?
1. Learn from those who know what they're talking about and get inspired (or should we say hungry?)
Thankfully now there are loads of sources to learn about veganism, from TikTok to Instagram, or blogs and cookbooks. Pick which channel you naturally use the most, and begin following and engaging with creators or brands. Your engagement will result in vegan content appearing in your timeline, so you can start consuming information easily alongside your standard daily scrolling. Here are some of our top suggestions:
Cruelty Free International
More Plants, Less Waste by Max Lamanna
Feed me Vegan by Lucy Watson
Happy Vegan by Fearne Cotton
BOSH by BOSH TV
2. Start with your bathroom cabinet.Before you head to the supermarket to grab your chickpeas and other vegan staples, start at home with your bathroom cabinet. Sadly many brands still aren't cruelty-free or vegan, so pick up your products and check for a "Vegan" claim on the product, like the symbol we have on all UpCircle products or the Leaping Bunny logo. A logo certifies that the product is vegan; we are currently in the process of acquiring the Leaping Bunny logo across our entire range, so watch this space. 🐰
Some easy swaps you can make (after you've finished the products, of course, no waste here!):
Cleansing Balms: these are often formulated with beeswax, so look for alternatives like soya or carnauba wax. Try our Cleansing Face Balm with the finely ground powder of discarded Apricot Stones.
Soap Bars: some soap bars contain milk and honey extracts. Try switching for our Fennel + Cardamom Chai Soap Bar, just as creamy but completely vegan. Another watch out for soaps is palm oil, although not an animal product, the production of the oil leads to the destruction of animal habitat; all our Soap Bars are palm oil-free.
Moisturisers: many creams will include squalene, a chemical extracted from shark liver oil for its anti-ageing properties. Try our Face Moisturiser instead; the rich cream protects the skin from the signs of ageing with sage and linseed oil, as well as soothing aloe vera and brightening blood orange.
3. Shop with big supermarkets or vegan-only retailersThankfully, supermarkets like Sainsbury’s now have dedicated, clearly-marked vegan shelves. If you head to your largest nearby supermarket, they most likely will have something. You can even stock up on your UpCircle faves at Sainsbury’s in-store and online! 😮
Watch out for a combination of vegetarian and vegan on one shelf though - the green "V" packaging across all products can be hard to navigate! Just like beauty products have the Leaping Bunny logo, vegan food products have the Vegan Society logo. This logo on any food ensures it's 100% vegan. 🐰
For those who prefer to do online shopping (and at the moment who doesn't?!), there are now vegan-only retailers! The biggest of these is the Vegan Kind Supermarket, who quite literally have anything and everything vegan you could imagine! We also recommendPeace with the Wild for their vegan options, as well as Plastic Freedom and Social Supermarket. 🛍️
If you're looking for ingredient inspo, you can check out some of our vegan recipes from UpCircle HQ 🍲:
4. Talk and engage with other vegans.
If there is one thing the vegan community is good at, it's giving recommendations! Because years of searching for your favourite vegan alternative, make you want to scream it from the rooftop when you find the one. 📣
Some of our favourite influencers include @VeganBeautyGirl, who shares her vegan and affordable beauty finds, and @VeganBrownTing, who is always the first to know about the latest vegan food launches. Influencers like these have huge communities of individuals on journeys just like yours, so check it out!
Unfortunately, some people don't quite understand the beliefs and values of a "vegan lifestyle" and may choose not to support your decision. If this happens, you should surround yourself with like-minded supporters. Lean on your friends and other family members who will engage with you, or check out the thousands of Vegan Facebook groups. 👪