Veganuary is the latest wellness buzzword and challenge for the month of January. With the meat industry being the primary cause of environmental degradation and pollution more and more people are turning to a more plant-based lifestyle in an effort to live more consciously and in harmony with the earth. Veganuary is the latest new year challenge, one where you eat vegan for the whole month of January. If you’re not convinced that the plant-based lifestyle is for you, Veguary is the perfect opportunity for you to try out or dabble with the idea. While a transition to a plant-based lifestyle, even for just one month can seem daunting, here are some essential Veganuary tips that will make your Veganuary challenge easy, enjoyable and successful.
THE BENEFITS OF VEGANUARY
Before we move on to our top Veganuary tips, here are some of the biggest benefits for going vegan, even for a month. Clarifying your reasons for trying Veguanuary can do wonders for your motivation levels throughout the month.
↠ A healthy, wholefoods based vegan diet is much healthier than a conventional western diet full of overprocessed foods. Veganuary is definitely something to consider if you want to try a healthier lifestyle.
↠ Factory farming of poultry and livestock in particular are unethical and rife with disease, antibiotics and chemicals. By trying out Veganuary and going plant-based you can decide to not support such industries.
↠ Animal agriculture has a massive effect on the environment and the landscape through the contribution of greenhouse gases to cutting down forests to make way for livestock farming.
↠ Trying out Veganuary gives you the chance to start a new wellness journey and relationship with yourself, your body and the environment.
↠ It gives you more opportunities to include more plants in your diet which is fantastic for your overall health.
TOP TIPS FOR VEGANUARY
One of my best Veganuary tips is preparation. In order to avoid overwhelm and panic it’s a great idea to prepare before Veganuary. I highly recommend looking through some vegan cookbooks or online blogs and choosing about 5 staple recipes that you can always come back to when time in short or you don’t know what to cook/eat. A vegan meal plan is another great way to organise your meals and know what you’ll be cooking for which meal which allows you to shop accordingly.
Another way to prepare, to make sure you’re not overwhelmed on the first day is to think about how you can ‘veganise’ your favourite meals- chances are there are great vegan substitutes ready for you to try out. Chilli, lasagna, sausage and mashed potato, tacos, soup and pasta can all easily be made plant-based.
Some of my favourite websites for great plant-based recipes are Veganuary, Green Kitchen Stories (Vegetarian), Oh She Glows, Deliciously Ella and The First Mess
FOCUS ON WHOLE FOODS
It’s easy to just stock up your fridge or freezer with vegan pizza, pies, cheeses, mock meat, snacks and cakes and while you are still eating plant-based you’re not doing much for your health. These foods might be vegan but they are still highly processed and filled with excess sugars and fat. During Veganuary try to focus on filling your body with wholesome, natural plants and you’ll find yourself reaping the benefits. While there is of course nothing wrong with the odd ready meal or treat, try not to make your whole vegan January being solely about consuming these products.
FIND YOUR MOTIVATION
After all, it is your motivation that will get you through. What is it that made you want to commit to Veganuary? Find that motivation and better still write it down as this might help you if halfway through the month you feel a little less motivated than when you started. It’s also a great idea to keep educating yourself and finding the information you need to keep you motivated. If you’re doing Veganuary for the planet or for the animals then keep reading up on articles about this, if you’re doing it for health then keep following those vegan nutritionists and dieticians on social media. No doubt it will all help you get through to the end of the month successfully.
Read more: Why I Choose a Plant-Based Diet and Why You Should Too
USE ONLINE RESOURCES AND FIND COMMUNITIES
Online communities and resources can go a long way when it comes to giving you a motivation boost or more simply a place to find information and connect with others. The Veganuary website is a great place to start with tonnes of information about going vegan, recipes, restaurant guides and a community you can join. You’ll also want to download the app Happy Cow, especially if you’re someone that loves to eat out. You’ll be able to find every restaurant, cafe and store selling vegan options whether you are in the world.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT PROTEIN
One of the things most people panic about when going vegan is if they’ll get enough protein. The short answer is that if you eat a wholefood, balanced, plant-based diet you will get all the protein you need. There’s actually a surprisingly large amount of protein that can be found in vegetables and eating legumes like beans and lentils as well as tofu and tempeh which is packed full of protein will help you get all the protein your body will need. If you find that you are lacking then stocking up on a good-quality vegan protein powder is a great idea. I personally use this one by Future Kind– it’s organic, comes in eco-friendly packaging and tastes great.
MAKE YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
Making yourself accountable for your diet choices in Veganuary can be the ultimate motivator and its one of the most important Veganuary tips to help you stay focused and on track. Tell your friends and your family you’re doing it and they’ll also be able to show their support. If everyone at the dinner-party knows you’re doing Veganuary it will help you stay well away from those meaty snacks.
It might not be feasible or even a good idea for you to jump right into Veganuary without any preparation. Why not have a week towards the end of December to try out a few vegan recipes and stock the pantry with ingredients you’ll need for a successful Veganuary? Perhaps you can also use the last days of the year to familiarise yourself with some vegan cookbooks and to fill your fridge with everything you’ll need so you’re prepared and feeling confident for when the first of January rolls around.
Need some ideas for some great plant-based dishes and other tips? Get it all here.
LOAD UP ON HEALTHY SNACKS
The first few days might be tough if you haven’t had the time to prepare well, but don’t worry. If you need that extra security blanket then make sure to stock up on healthy vegan snacks that you can munch on throughout the day if, you find yourself in that situation where you can’t quite locate something to eat. Nuts, seeds, toast with nut butter, fruit, veggie sticks and hummus, snacks bars are all great choices to have nearby in case sudden hunger pangs strike.
Going plant-based is a perfectly healthy and nutritious lifestyle choice with many people thriving from it every day, myself included. A plant-based diet really does provide your body with everything it needs to be strong, healthy and fit but sometimes it is a good diet to supplement. Vegans are recommended to supplement with B12 and a vegan omega oil but make sure to speak to a healthcare professional before supplementing as you may not need it.
READ FOOD LABELS
Reading food labels is a great habit to get into both during and outside Veganuary. You’ll be surprised how much actually goes into a relatively simple food product like a cracker. During Veganuary you’ll need to get into the habit of reading food labels and ingredients lists as not all food products that are vegan are obviously labelled so.
Reading food labels can also help you lead a healthier lifestyle outside of Veganuary, plant-based or otherwise. My general rule is that I don’t buy packaged foods that have more than 8 ingredients and never something I can’t read easily or pronounce.
I hope these Veganuary tips will be able to help you achieve your goals successfully. Good luck!
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