How to survive Veganuary
We've all committed to new year's resolutions on the 31st December, only to wake up the next day realising exactly what they entail... effort. But this year, things will be different. Heck, they already are different! If we can't make fundamental changes to our diet, lifestyle or mindset during a time when we are restrained to our homes and taken away from the distractions of everyday life, then when CAN we?!
One particular resolution we made this year, was to trial Veganuary. Of course, going completely cold turkey (pardon the pun) after a lifetime of meat-eating can be extremely difficult. And, during a pandemic, we really don't want to add any more 'difficult' to our lives. So, whilst this blog will be all about how you can survive Veganuary, we want to remind you that simply eating less animal products is a totally pat-on-the-back-worthy new year's resolution success story! Well that's what we'll tell ourselves...
Here's how to go a month without eating meat, dairy and any other animal products.
Planning is key
You can't attempt to make a massive change in your diet without thinking it through first. Well, you can, but don't blame us if you're 4 days in and crying into a chicken sandwich.
Taking part in Veganuary requires planning. Lots of it. Firstly, make weekly shopping lists. Swap your meat and dairy products for alternatives and seek out new recipes to replace old ones. Think about what meals you're going to be cooking for the Big 3: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. And snacks, you mustn't forget about snacks. Check out Peta's list of the perfect 'accidentally vegan' snacks, you'll thank us.
Take it easy
You don't want to burn out after the first week. Or worse still, the first day! If you have a look through your cupboards, you're likely to find that a lot of the products you already have are in fact vegan. We recommend typing in specific ingredients that you want to cook with on Google or Pinterest and adding the word 'vegan.' You'll find the perfect recipes to match your cupboards and your appetite. It's also a great chance to finally use up all those tins of chickpeas, lentils and other cooking ingredients that have lived in your cupboard since you moved in!
Make Vegan versions of your favourite dishes
You're not a celebrity in the jungle so you don't have to live off rice and beans. There are SO many vegan alternatives out there that you can pretty much veganise any dish. Spaghetti Bolognese, but with soya mince. Fried breakfast, but with vegan sausages and bacon. Mac and Cheese, but with vegan cheese. Gregg's sausage roll, but vegan. (Seriously, they're delicious!)
The same goes for desserts and drinks. With so many milk alternatives out there, you can still enjoy your morning cuppa, but with soya, almond, hazelnut or coconut milk, to name just a few substitutes.
Prepare home-cooked meals
We're not about to say no to some vegan chicken nuggets or dairy-free garlic bread, but why not use Veganuary as a chance to start actually cooking more? You're only 3 lockdowns late, but many of us have turned to cooking as a therapeutic way of dealing with extra time indoors. Throw on a cooking show, YouTube tutorial or just search up a recipe and take it from there. You're likely to experiment with flavours you didn't even know existed and you could even become a bit of a pro!
Top tip for beginners: All the best meals start with an obscene amount of garlic and some onion in the frying pan. Thankfully, no one can stand close enough these days to smell your breath.
Stay strong and cook in bulk
We hear this a lot, but persistance really is the secret to a successful Veganuary. You may feel like giving up at times, especially if you're starving and can't be bothered to cook. This is why it's fundamental you have a selection of go-to snacks and easy meals on hand to help you through the testing times. Better still, cook meals in bulk and divide leftovers into tupperware that you can store in the fridge.
What's more, don't rule out the whole month if you don't like the vegan cheese you bought or can't yet adjust to the taste of an almond milk coffee. There are so many different brands and styles to try so you'll soon find one that's perfect for you.
Find Vegan inspiration online
Vegans are everywhere. If you need support and your meat-eating pals just aren't cutting it, you'll find people to help in no time. On Instagram, there are a plethora of vegan foodie accounts with recipes for every budget and ability, as well as advice, secret vegan finds and vegan food that delivers to your local area. You'll find vegan fitness gurus, nutritionists, fashion influencers, activists, and much more.
Here are some of our favourite vegan accounts:
Cut yourself some slack!
If you fall off the v-mobile, it's okay! You're only human and it's not easy to make such a massive lifestyle change overnight. Go easy on yourself - you're only human. It's not too late to pick yourself back up and start again.
To offer our support for Veganuary, we've been preparing vegan cook-alongs that you can take part in, as well as how-to videos on TikTok and Instagram for you to trial in the kitchen. Check them out and join in the fun!