What does it take to live a minimalist vegan lifestyle?
It doesn’t have to be this audacious aspiration. It all starts by taking small intentional steps.
In this post, we share ten things you can do today to start your journey towards simplicity and compassion. Each action has an estimated timeframe for how long it will take to complete. Some steps might take a few hours while others will take you less than a minute to execute.
There are no rules to how you use this list. You can trial one or two and start slowly, or you can block out a whole day and take action on all of the ideas.
The main thing is to remember that you don’t need to overwhelm yourself when aspiring to live in a particular way. Break it down and put one foot in front of the other and you’ll feel much better about it in the end.
1) Educate yourself (3 hours)
It’s going to be hard for you to make a sustained change and live a minimalist vegan lifestyle if you’re not super committed to why you want to live this way.
People tell me all the time, “oh it must have been hard for you to go vegan.” This couldn’t have been further from the truth.
It was easy for me to become vegan because I established why I wanted to change. I no longer wanted to contribute to the harm of animals—therefore it was easy for me to say no to chicken (even though it was one of my favourite foods).
We have a list of resources to help develop your why but here’s a couple that was critical to our development:
Oh and our book of course 🙂
2) Develop your personal integrity report (60 mins)
Creating personal integrity report is a logical starting point for living a minimalist vegan lifestyle. It’s a way to get clarity on what matters to you and what can be done to make it happen.
By the end of this exercise, you should have a concise one-page snapshot of your values and how to live them out.
3) Throw out (or give away) all of the animal products in your kitchen (30 mins to 60 mins)
If you’re reading this blog you likely already understand the benefits of becoming vegan. For us, it was quite a straightforward decision to make the switch after watching a life-changing film.
Having said that, I understand it’s not as simple for everyone to give up animal products overnight.
If you’re interested in going down this path, one thing you can do in under an hour is auditing your pantry, fridge and cupboards and eliminate all of the animal proteins and condiments.
Doing this will feel restrictive at first, particularly if your current diet consists of food mainly from animals. But you’ll feel much better once you execute the next action…
4) Develop your MVV (minimum viable vegan) plan (30 mins)
If you’re new to plant-based eating, it’s unlikely you’re going to have a well thought out minimalist vegan pantry straight off the bat.
We suggest you become a minimum viable vegan and do things with the least resistance. In the early stages, you need to hustle and scrap until you find your feet.
This might mean having one or two really simple recipes that you can count on every day even if it gets a little repetitive. It might mean buying canned legumes instead of soaking raw legumes from your local health food store.
We survived primarily on veggie wraps when we first became vegan, and it saved us! Now we hardly make wraps because we’ve learned how to make a variety of tasty plant-based recipes.
5) Develop a vegan food shopping guide (60 mins)
Where to shop? What to buy? How much should I spend?
These are the questions that circle through your head and ultimately land in the “too hard” basket because you don’t know where to start.
The main tip in this action is to scout your area for a farmers market, a health food store and a supermarket. These are typically your three main shopping destinations for food.
For example, we use the Farmers Markets for fresh produce like fruit and vegetables. We shop at health food stores for legumes, nuts and seeds. We still shop at the supermarket for anything in between or for when we get desperate.
Just get clear on where you’re going to buy, and you’ll be well on your way.
Masa wrote a great piece on how to do healthy vegan shopping like a pro.
6) Audit your wardrobe (60 mins)
One thing that helped us tremendously when learning about minimalism was cutting back our wardrobe. When you take a really good look at what’s in your closet, it becomes apparent what you no longer need.
Note: I’ve only allocated 60 minutes to this activity because I think it’s essential to focus on the planning part first solely. You need to get your mind right before pulling the trigger and cutting down your garments.
7) Setup your paperless system (60 mins)
Paper is another huge clutter area that you can get quick wins on and build up your momentum.
We use the Scanner Pro App to scan important paperwork as we receive it. The App automatically syncs to our cloud-based file managing system automatically. Once we allocate the scanned file to the appropriate folder, we recycle the original paperwork.
The most powerful feature of Scanner Pro is the fact that the camera recognises the borders of most documents, including receipts!
Spend the next hour setting up your syncing system so you can put your paperwork on autopilot.
8) Join Facebook groups to build your support network (15 mins)
Making significant changes in your life is hard enough by yourself. Throw in unsupportive spouses, family and friends, and it makes your goal almost impossible.
I know I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today regarding living out my values if I didn’t have the support from Maša.
If you don’t have a Maša in your life, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to find a community that you can rely on.
There’s a growing amount of Facebook groups focusing on specific interests and passions. I’m part of a few entrepreneurial, fitness and vegan groups and I’ve found them to be incredible resources. It’s a great place to get feedback on your ideas or to get advice on where to find things.
Even if you want to blow off some steam, there’s likely to be someone who has gone through or is going through a similar experience.
Facebook has a free groups app you can download to your smartphone. From there you can search for a group and ask to join. This will take you 15 minutes but could make a huge difference in your journey.
9) Turn off your internet router at 9 pm (1 minute)
Simple but effective.
Mobile phones are the new television and scrolling through our feeds has become a natural reaction. Do yourself a favour and turn off your wifi early. You’d be surprised how much space you’ll create so you can simply read a book, play a board game or engage in some pillow talk.
Admittedly, we haven’t done this for a while, but we’re keen to start doing it again.
10) Create a minimalist gift (30 mins)
Giving a loved one a gift is a fantastic transfer of positive energy. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like getting gifts.
Having said that, gifting can get an excessive and perhaps unnecessary. It eventually becomes an expectation that drives a consumerist society.
To combat this mindset, set yourself a challenge to create a minimalist gift.
We created a list of 21 examples for you but here’s a few to get started.
- Bake a cake for a friend
- Create a short video on your phone with a thoughtful message
- Offer to babysit for a day
Minimalist gifts are thoughtful, simple and cost-effective. They’re mainly centred around experiences and consumables as opposed the materialistic things. And it’s these moments that people tend to remember.
Embark on the journey of a minimalist vegan lifestyle
So there are my top 10 actions you can do today to live with more compassion and simplicity.
The whole point of this post is to show you that making this transition doesn’t have to be a big deal. Keep it simple and do one action at a time.
I’m curious though, what actions resonated with you? Leave your voice in the comments below.