It’s that time of the year — a 31-day challenge for those curious about veganism.
Because I can never post anything on time and most of you have already started vegunary, I thought I’d give you some tips for getting through this month and who knows maybe adopting veganism longe term?
Read your labels and stop worrying
It’s easy to get lost in the challenge and want it to be perfect. I can promise you even ‘seasoned vegans’ make mistakes – or have setbacks. But it’s okay, we get through those and carry on a bit stronger, like, for example, embarking on vegan keto journey.
My point is, stay away from the obvious – dairy (milk), eggs and meat. Don’t worry about your added colourings, palm oil and other minor ingredients. This will make your experience far more complicated, and chances are even if you’ll last the 31 days, you will not be interested in doing more than that. Keep it simple and fuss-free.
Reading labels is super easy (at least in the UK, I know American labels are not as clear):
- first look if the product is suitable for vegetarians (some products are ‘accidentally vegan’;
- scan the ingredient list – eggs and dairy are allergens that need to be marked in bold on products in the UK.
Forget how you think about your plate
A typical meat eater plate is: animal protein (somewhere between 25%-50%) and the rest tends to be either veggies or veggies and carbs and/or starches. When you eat vegan, you might have to re-jig your portions both in size and in the macro distribution.
Of course, you could stick to mock-meats for a month and not change much about how you eat, but where is fun in that? There so many amazing vegan recipes out there that it would be a shame not to take advantage of those.
Your goal is to learn to eat sustainably; if you’re going to be eating more lower calorie foods like veggies, you will need to increase the volume you eat.
Anything you crave – there is a vegan version of it
I know sometimes it’s not as good. Or rather it’s different, not what you’re used to. Either way, if you’re craving sweets or cheese or whatever it may be – veganism has been becoming a lot more popular, so chances are even your local corner shop will have something that’s vegan-friendly.
Not every craving you have will be met. But chances are most of those cravings are more habitual than actual desires or body needs.
Some cravings are harder to control, and you might slip up. It happens, you’re only human. Stick to plant-based diet best to your ability – be frank with yourself, you’ll know when you’re genuinely doing your best and when you’re coming up with excuses.
Cook at home, but also use this an excuse to venture out to vegan restaurants
Cooking at home is the easiest way to stick to a plant-based diet – you know exactly what’s in your food. Vegan restaurants and cafes are popping up left and right; if you’ve never been to vegan restaurants, this is a fantastic opportunity to support some of your local business.
Having professionally cooked yummy vegan food might also open you up to all the fantastic flavours, possibilities and cuisines. Before I went vegan, I had never had Indian food (yeah, I don’t know how I lived without curry either), now it’s one of my favourite cuisines. When I realised I enjoyed Indian food, I went out to explore it further – I learned of new ingredients and cool recipes that I could make at home.
I only recently tried jackfruit for the first time. Before it was tough to get ahold of, but I finally found some in one of my local health-food shops. If I hadn’t had some in a local restaurant, I would have never known to want to try and cook it for myself.
You don’t have to sell your kidney to afford to be vegan
The very basic vegan food staples are some of your cheapest products at grocery stores – starches, beans, grains, veggies and fruits. It only gets expensive, when you add mock meats, vegan cheese, nut milk and so on to your diet.
I do recommend trying these things if not only for the experience but if you’re on a budget, trying out veganism might save you some £££.
Go into this open minded
No, a Quorn vegan chicken doesn’t taste the same as an actual chicken breast. No, while Violife vegan cheese is probably the best that I’ve tried so far, it doesn’t taste the same as regular cheddar cheese. No, Alpro soy milk tastes nothing like whole milk.
Just because it’s different from what you’re used to, does it automatically mean it’s worse? I had dairy cheese a few months back; I genuinely prefer Violife.
Milk? Someone by accident gave me their glass of milk before I realised and took a sip. Ew. No, seriously, ew. I’ll take any nut milk over than any day.
I admit some vegan products are lacking. I have not found a good alternative for seafood yet. But I’m not giving up! While I’m playing with flexitarianism for a bit, I’m also desperately trying to find a good substitute for salmon and prawns because, in reality, I don’t want to be a flexy eater – I want to be a vegan.
Anyways, best of luck to all, what is it now, nearly 300’000 people (and growing every day) pledged, this Vegunary? If you’re not yet part of vegunary, don’t stress it, it’s never too late to join – https://veganuary.com/register/. Good luck and be kind to one and other, this month be especially kind to animals and stop eating them!
For more awesome info and tips, visit https://veganuary.com/starter-kit/.