Oh boy! I have so much advice, but I’ll try to refrain from writing a friggin’ tome :) First off, congrats!
Best advice I can give is: Realize that it will take some time before your new diet/lifestyle feels second nature. So don’t freak out if you’re struggling to remember all the obscure animal ingredients or just trying to find a great recipe for lasagna. I promise, it will get much, much easier.
Now, if you’re aiming for lacto-ovo vegetarianism (vegetarian who consumes dairy and eggs), most issues will be relatively minor. Other than keeping an eye out for some hidden animal by-products (fish sauce, gelatin, beef “flavor” on Mc D’s French fries, etc.) there are still tons of mainstream foods you can eat. In general, most baked goods, veggie pizzas, and lots of Mexican food, Indian and Italian dishes are a safe bet.
Veganism is most challenging when eating out and luckily there are several websites/apps that offer listings for vegan-friendly eateries, https://www.happycow.net/ being one of the most popular.
A Few Tips on Eating Out:
· Indian: Chana Masala is usually vegan, but always ask. The biggest issues with Indian will be clarified butter (or ghee), yogurt, and cream.
· Thai: Look out for fish sauce and shrimp paste. Many places now offer vegan options or are willing to leave out the fish sauce, etc., upon request (if not, order the tofu salad rolls and sweet chili sauce).
· Chinese: Chicken or beef broth is used in most dishes so always ask.
· Pizza: You’re good almost anywhere if you’re looking for a simple veggie pizza with cheese. If you’re avoiding dairy, then there’s some great info here: http://www.peta2.com/lifestyle/veganize-delivery-pizza/
And finally, figure out what your favorite go-to, no-prep foods are and always keep them on hand — hummus, Tofurky, nuts, whatever you enjoy. When you’re in a hurry, it’s great to have something you can just grab and munch.
And, in honor of the holidays, if you like pumpkin cheesecake I recommend this recipe: http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-pumpkin-cheesecake/
— That’s one of my favorite websites — tons of delicious recipes.
Other than that, have fun and don’t be too hard on yourself as you transition. And know — you are now a member of a group of highly intelligent, funny, and good-looking people…or is it funny-looking people? I forget ;)