Vegan is the new buzzword, it seems like everyone and their dog is becoming vegan, and for good reason. Animal agriculture is a leading cause of environmental degradation, unethical factory farming is rife and we all need to eat more plants for our health. Enter stage left, Veganuary. A challenge where you eat vegan for the whole month of January.
Seems easy enough hey? It is when you have these tips in your back pocket.
Find Your Motivation
There is a reason you’re embarking on Veganuary and it is essential that you tap into that to keep your motivation high throughout the month. If you’re doing it for the planet, keep reading articles about the impacts of animal agriculture, if you’re doing it for animals, keep following cute pigs on instagram, if you’re doing it for health then follow plant based dieticians and nutritionists. Expose yourself to information which keeps you on track!
Here are some more sources of motivation:
Tell your friends, family and colleagues that you’re taking the challenge. Ask them if they want to join you and if they don’t then just ask them to be supportive of you during the month. It is so much easier to stay on track when those close to you are being understanding. It also helps keep you accountable when you get tempted by a chocolate bar or cheese board.
Increase Your Portions
The best bit about eating vegan is that you get to eat more! It is very easy when you start the challenge to just make your usual recipes without the animal products. This seems logical but it ends up cutting out hundreds of calories, drastically reducing your portions and often leaves you feeling weak or hungry. Instead, make sure that you increase your portions in your plant based meals and include some high fibre and protein packed vegan foods such as beans, legumes or tofu to keep you satisfied.
Download Happy Cow
Eating out socially as a vegan sounds daunting, but I promise it isn’t as hard as it seems as most restaurants nowadays have plant based options. The best thing to do is to download the app Happy Cow when you’re making social plans, this acts a directory of veggie and vegan friendly restaurants and shows you the ones nearest your location. Perfect for if you’re heading out for dinner with friends.
Check out my tips for eating socially as a vegan in this video I made!
Prepare Prepare Prepare
I highly recommend digging through some vegan cookbooks or through the google abyss and finding 5-7 staple, easy and delicious meals you can make. Having these recipes on the backburner, along with the ingredients you need to make them, means you won’t be stuck for what to cook when time is short. If you’re confused about what to make, try “veganising” your favourite meals such as chilli, burgers or pie! Here are some staple quick meals I make which take minimal time and effort:
- Breakfast: overnight oats, porridge, toast with toppings, smoothies.
- Lunch: Mushrooms/avocado/smashed peas on toast, soup with crusty bread, wraps, sandwiches, chunky salads, leftovers from the night before.
- Dinner: Stirfries, curry, stew, daahl, pasta or basically anything where I can shove the ingredients in one pan!
If you’re someone who eats out for lunch at work, it would be worth looking up places with vegan options close to your office so you aren’t left searching on the first day of January.
Don’t Panic About Protein
This seems to be what everyone worries about when eating vegan, but as someone who is a trainer and lives an active lifestyle I find it very easy to get enough protein on a plant based diet. Let go of any expectations of eating hundreds of grams of the stuff a day, quite frankly it is unnecessary and unrealistic. Don’t worry, you aren’t going to wither away! You will get enough by eating plants alone, but if you want a security blanket you can invest in a vegan protein powder such as Awesome Supplements, Free Soul or Form Nutrition.
Shift Your Mindset
Focus on what you can eat rather than what you can’t eat. Veganism is often associated with deprivation and restriction when in reality there are over 20,000 edible plant foods on this planet! Get excited about all the new ingredients you can cook with, the new recipes you can try and the new restaurants or menu options you can dip your toe into. The possibilities are endless and Veganaury is a great opportunity to diversify your diet.
I am thriving on a plant focused diet and I truly believe that it provides you with the fuel your body needs to feel strong, fit and powerful. However, it is always best to cover your back by taking a handful of supplements. Meat eaters and vegans alike need to supplement their diet, and for those of us who are powered by plants it is recommended that we take B12, Vitamin D and a vegan omega oil.
Good luck with Veganuary!
Want more Veganuary Resources? Here you go!
Vegan Articles, Podcasts & Books
Living Consciously Crew
Reasons To Eat Vegan
Veganuary Social Eating Tips