Happy New Year!
Time for new beginnings and positive changes – a tradition begun by the Ancient Babylonians 4000 years ago. Back then, the year began in March with the crowning of new kings and promising gods to repay debts. More recently, as the beginning of our calendar year, January became a time to set personal goals.
In 2014, the charity Veganuary harnessed this spirit of change with a campaign to overhaul public attitudes towards veganism.
The concept is simple: Encourage people to try a vegan diet for the 31 days of January. Back it up with why and, crucially, how to go vegan.
Over 250,000 people have since taken the Veganuary pledge, with many more participating ‘off the record’. Of those who responded to the Veganuary survey in 2018, 62% said that they intended to stay vegan. Pretty impressive, considering fewer than 10% report sticking to usual New Year resolutions.
Change Ain’t Easy
HOWEVER, as well all know: old habits die hard. There’s no shame in this, change can be hard and often takes a behavioural and mindset shift. Set-backs can knock our self-esteem and we too quickly class them as failures. Making the switch to vegan eating is no exception.
So, here are our ultimate tips for navigating Veganuary and persisting with plant-based eating throughout the year, on your terms.
How to Veganuary: The Hacks
You know how they say you should never food shop on an empty stomach? Research suggests that hunger affects our buying decisions. You’re more likely to revert to your old eating ways in the quest to fill your tum. You’re also likely to experience a lot of frustration if mealtimes keep coming around and you’ve no idea what to cook.
Make a meal plan for each week and shop accordingly (Veganuary’s Starter Kit has meal plans and a shopping guide, plus we’ve got lots of absolutely vegan recipes) so that you never find yourself at a loss at dinner time. If you’ll be out and about, research eating options, pack a lunchbox if needs be and keep plant-based snacks in your bag (we’ve got some organic treats for the sweet-toothed among you).
- Buddy Up
Experiencing the veganu-journey with a friend means you’ll have someone to keep you motivated and to share highs, lows and best recipes with. Feeling isolated always makes things tougher, so even if you don’t have any friends who want in on the action this time, check out social media for vegan and plant-based groups (there are LOADS – Veganuary has a directory of local groups).
- Get Educated
Aside from delicious food, information is the fuel to help you on your journey. Check our blog section for articles on the positives of going vegan for the environment, for your nutrition and for animals, as well as motivational vegan athletes and help on common vegan conundrums.
- Don’t Miss Your Faves
We often hear people say that they’d go vegan, except they couldn’t live without… *insert animal-based item here*. The good news is that nowadays there are plant-based equivalents of most animal products! From mayo to steak, sausages to scramble, we can help you out with organic, nutritious versions of your old favourites so you’ve got a healthy and delicious answer to those cravings.
- The Internet is your Friend
When it comes to making other dishes vegan-friendly, there’s a tonne of advice online on how to switch out animal products. That might be using aquafaba (chickpea water!) in place of eggs in baking, using nutritional yeast for cheesy flavour in sauces or using coconut oil in place of butter. The search engines have the answers!
- Eat Out
Gone are the days when vegans were stuck with soup when eating out. There are now so many incredible vegan restaurants, cafes and street-food vendors to choose from, and lots of omni joints are adding plant-based options to their menus too. Happy Cow can help you find somewhere to be excited about your new food adventure – after all, what’s the key to success? Having fun!
- Keep Your Balance
Learning the ropes of your new nutritional needs doesn’t have to be a chore. This is a great nutrition nutshell guide to help you ensure you’re getting everything you need to keep up your plant power.
- Be Kind to All Kinds, Including Yourself
This journey isn’t easy. You might misread an ingredients section. You might be overcome by a craving for an animal product. Maybe you only ever planned to reduce your meat and dairy intake, not eradicate it, and that’s ok. There’s no such thing as failure: every plant-based swap makes an impact. Don’t beat yourself up if you have what you perceive to be a set-back! Veganism is about kindness, and that includes being kind to yourself.
For more advice, see the brilliant Veganuary website or get in touch. We’re here to help!