Veganuary Do's and Don'ts
If you are taking part in Veganuary or fancy giving vegan eating a try, then we salute you. We personally know how hard it can be to transition to a new lifestyle even just for 31 days.
For the last three years members of the Pulsin team have taken the Veganuary pledge to go vegan or 31 days.
Here are our Veganuary do's and don'ts:
You are about to change the way that you eat, cook and shop for food. So, it stands to reason that you will need to prepare. We would suggest keeping the following in mind: Find some simple vegan recipes to try throughout the month. Pinterest is great for this as there are loads of great round ups of vegan recipes. You can also find lots of recipes at pulsin.co.uk and Veganuary.com too! - Make sure you think about substitutions. There are lots of vegan substitutes for butter, milk and eggs for example, so it’s worth researching and trying some of these pre-January to make sure you have the ones that are right for you and your needs. Have emergency quick options and snacks. Often when we fall off the wagon it’s because we run out of time or energy. Pre-empting this by having quick and easy vegan options and snacks will help you keep on track.
Cook in bulk
Chances are you are going to be making different dishes than normal and may not be able to rely on pre-made sauces and ready meals as much. Batch cooking is a great way to ensure that you are not spending all your time in the kitchen. Whether you are making a massive curry and freeze one portion or batch cook sauces, making some elements pre-made will help save you time day-to-day.
Think about flavour
Cheese is one of the foods than many non-vegans worry about when it comes to taking part in Veganuary. Often, we rely on cheese to give us flavour, even just as a topping! Why not embrace spices and herbs as your new best friends? Experiment in the kitchen using fresh herbs and spices to create new and complex flavours!
Ask for help
You are planning to make a big change and with any change in diet and lifestyle it’s important to have a support network. If you have friends and family members who are vegan, then feel free to pick their brains. If not, then we’d suggest the following:
- Sign up to Veganuary’s emails. They send an email every day during Veganuary, each is full of guidance, tips, recipes, chain restaurant offers and more than can help you keep on track.
- Follow Veganuary on social media. Throughout January they will be sharing everything they can to help those taking part so take advantage.
- Use hashtags on social to ask for help! Vegans want non-vegans to become vegan, so many of them are willing to help assist with tips to help you stay on track. Many of them have been where you are, so don’t worry about asking for help.
- Join a local group. Veganuary have a list of local groups on their website
- Download an app, like Spoon Guru to help you quickly identify foods whilst in store!
Think about why you are taking part
Whether you are doing it for the animals, the environment, your health or something else entirely, chances are you have a very strong reason for taking part in Veganuary. When you are struggling, think about this reason to help give you strength and keep you on track.
It’s likely that as soon as you mention going vegan someone you know will ask what you are going to do about protein! The reality is that there are lots of different plant-based protein sources, so you shouldn’t struggle. Do some research on different protein sources and think about how you can incorporate them into your meals and snacks. You might want to directly replace a meat or dairy based protein with a plant-based protein for ease, for example replacing chicken with tofu. Or you might simply choose to add more nuts into your diet. Whatever your choices, you might find being mindful of when you are eating protein helps you to stay fuller for longer.
Make too many big changes all at once
Obviously you are going to be making massive changes by cutting out some foods from your diet, but if you try to change your entire diet drastically then you may struggle more than if you take small steps. For example, if you are a tea drinker, then spend some time to try different plant-based milks until you find one that works for you. That way you can still enjoy your daily cuppa rather than trying to covert yourself to become a green tea drinker. Making lots of small changes at the beginning can help you to make larger changes later.
Look at what you can’t eat
If you go into Veganuary thinking that you are restricting yourself from foods that you love, then it is likely that you will struggle. Instead see Veganuary as an opportunity of what new things you can try!
- Why not try making a list of new foods you’ve never tried before, such as jackfruit and try and tick everything off by the end of the month.
- Or try and use ingredients you know in a completely new way! Such as using chia seeds to make an egg replacement or the water in chickpeas (aquafaba) to make meringue.
Avoid going out
It’s tempting to stay inside during January anyway, it’s cold, wet and dark outside! However, don’t start declining social occasions because you are worried about what you will be able to eat and drink in social spaces. Many chain restaurants now often vegan options all year round and during Veganuary, some often create whole new menus too.
- Check out the Eating Out guide on Veganuary.com to see all the menus of chain restaurants online.
- Research your local area to see whether there are any great vegan restaurants.
- When in doubt ask other vegans where they would suggest.
Worry if you accidentally make a mistake
We’ve all been there, picking up an item without checking the label and then realising too late that it contains milk or eggs. The main thing is to learn from your mistakes and move forward! Don’t spend ages beating yourself up about a mistake. Like any big shift in diet and lifestyle you might struggle at first but the main thing to do is to keep going.
Looking for a delicious healthy snack to help you through? Check out our delicious High Fibre Brownies.