Preparing for Veganuary
How to do Veganuary
As you know, Veganuary is a month long campaign which encourages people to try a plant based diet throughout January. Once you have made the decision to go vegan, make sure you do your research and prepare yourself for the switch, especially if you’re not accustomed to going meat-free or can’t imagine how you will survive so long without eggs or dairy! With this in mind, we have pulled together some top tips to help you prepare for Veganuary,
Tips for surviving Veganuary
- Understand why you want to try veganism
Below are the main reasons people adopt a plant based diet and vegan lifestyle:
- Personal health choices
- Help prevent animal cruelty
- Help reduce impact on the environment
If you’re clear on what motivates you to take on the Veganuary challenge, you can use it as motivation to keep going on the tough days and it will help prevent you veering off track!
- Do your homework
Before Veganuary begins, start to consider what you normally eat for breakfast, lunch & dinner and how you can make them plant based. We will go into more detail on this in the following section. It’s also worth looking to see if local cafes and restaurants offer good vegan options too.
If you like a bit of variety with your meals, it might be worth buying a vegan cookbook to give you some inspiration.
It will also be useful to educate yourself on reading food labels so you know which ingredients to avoid. Some non vegan ingredients to be aware of include gelatine, albumen (egg white), whey powder, lactose and casein. Look out for vegan society approved logos on packaging or even just ‘suitable for vegans’ as this can save a lot of time reading through every ingredients list on the weekly food shop!
- Learn about vegan alternatives & substitutes
Going vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up your favourite foods. Nowadays there are many high quality and delicious vegan substitutes for almost everything which can be used to replace ingredients in recipes.
If theres a particular meal or snack you can’t go without, simply shop around for alternatives! For spaghetti Bolognese you could swap out the mince for mushrooms or soya-based mince. You could swap meats or fish in curries or stir frys to vegetables or tofu. Even chocolate and ice cream have delicious vegan alternatives, so you certainly don’t have to go without!
- Start with dishes you love and then branch out to more adventurous recipes
Once you’ve got the basics, you can start to get more adventurous with new ingredients. It’s a great excuse to try some of the tasty plant-based food on offer at vegan friendly restaurants or trying out new recipes in vegan cook books. It also expands your palate beyond what you’re used to eating and allows you to experiment with spices to add flavour along with trying new vegetables and legumes in your food.
Remember, to focus on nutrient diversity and density – basically eat the rainbow! All the different coloured fruits and vegetables contain different levels of nutrients so by eating a diet varied in colour, you will be eating a diet that is varied in nutrients. Similarly, fruits and vegetables are the most nutrient dense which will keep you fuller for longer!
It’s worth noting here, although vegan alternatives such as meat substitutes are useful for the transition into a vegan diet, as you get more confident with cooking, it’s best to lessen your reliance on these as they can be highly processed with excessive levels of sodium & sugar. Try to eat as naturally as possible.
- Plan your meals and snacks ahead
Make a plan for the week ahead and stick to it. That way, you wont be caught off guard and it will decrease the chances of you slipping up. It’s up to you on how you decide to plan your meals, some people find cooking in bulk helpful as you don’t have to do too much thinking, others like to use a vegan cook book and pick a new recipe for every day of the week. Do what feels right for you, but planning ahead is key.
You can also follow meal plans, to help we have pulled together our own meal plan here.
- Be open minded about vegan supplements
Sourcing all the nutrients your body needs from plant-based foods can be tricky. The most common potential deficiencies to consider supplementing are:
- DHA (Omega 3)
- Don’t let slip ups stop you
Slip-ups can happen to anyone. Whether you accidentally eat something that contains an animal product, or you just have a moment of weakness, don’t let it get in your way. Remember all the effort you have put into your veganism and an odd slip up every now and again wont undo all that you have done so far. Just keep trying your best and remember nobody is perfect.
Finally, if you really want to give youself a challenge, why not attempt to do both Veganuary and Dry January!