Since 2014, millions of people around the world have been getting on board with Veganuary. Created to promote the health and ethical benefits of a vegan diet, Veganuary requires participants to eat a plant-based diet throughout the whole of January as a taster of this increasingly popular lifestyle choice.
In 2020, it was estimated that less than one percent of the world’s population is vegan and, unfortunately, figures show that four out of five people give up on their Veganuary quest after a few days. While it may take a little getting used to, with a bit of planning, conquering Veganuary can be a piece of (egg-free) cake.
The easiest way to fail Veganuary is to keep non-vegan food and drinks in the fridge and cupboard. Once you have finished the Christmas leftovers, it is a good idea to remove all animal products from your home to be replaced with vegan options.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew
When embarking on Veganuary, it is tempting to get all ambitious with complex recipes and fancy vegetables. Unfortunately, this can often lead to disappointment for beginners. Instead, start simple with dishes that you are familiar with and know that you like, for example, garlic mushrooms, salad and simple pasta dishes. Stock up with herbs and spices, flavouring is of the essence.
These days, most restaurants offer a comprehensive vegan menu and, while the doors to our eateries may be closed for a while, you can still check out their website menus to see what kind of dishes they are serving up for vegan customers – it is also worth registering with these sites and many send out newsletters which include recipes. See what takeaways they have, that is another possibility to keep you on track and out of the kitchen.
Don’t spill the beans
For many people, embarking on Veganuary tends to invite derision from friends and family – and more so if after giving it a try, they end up with egg on their face when they decide that it is not for them. To avoid reactions which can tend to be demoralising, avoid shouting about your Veganuary journey to friends and family and on social media and if you succeed, you can always crow about it afterwards!
Don’t be too hard on yourself
I am not going to lie – Veganuary can be tough, particularly if you have had a penchant for meat all of your life. Some people say as soon as they smell bacon cooking, they cannot resist. January is cold and dark, and the celebrations of Christmas and New Year seem like a distant memory. If you find that you do not want to continue after giving it a go, it is not the end of the world.
You can always start to add vegan elements to your diet without going all in and give Veganuary another try next year! Alternatively, try it on a different month, the summer months may be better for some.
So, if you’ve decided to get on board with Veganuary, stock up the fridge and store cupboard with vegan treats, remove temptation and, don’t forget to sign up to MyVegan’s Veganuary Challenge. Let us know how you get on, how you feel after trying it for a month, and how it may affect your health.
Most importantly, do not think of this as a punishment, there are plenty of delicious meals you can make that follow the vegan lifestyle. Veganism is a way of life, and those that choose to adopt it, do so willingly – and by the way, they are not ‘weird’, as some people think!
Maybe the thought of a New Year, new you. It may be the boost to your health that you really need, plus a sense of achievement. Make sensible choices (things that you know you enjoy that follow the ethos), and do not go for the first promoted item in a supermarket that you see. Taking risks with food will not provide the results you may want!
Try these Vegan Vegetable soups recipe here!
Suggested vegan swaps
Here is just a short list of vegan swaps that you may not know.
Dairy free butters, such as nut butter (almond, cashew, etc.)
Same principle as butters
Only vegetable oils (e.g., olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil)
Cashew cream for sauces, or full fat coconut (you can whip this) or use it for curries.
Wide varieties available in supermarkets, or try cashew cheese, similar to mozzarella and good as a ‘gooey’ topping
Try vegan substitutes for sausages, bacon. Use mushrooms as a swap for a meaty texture. Beans and lentils for thickening. Yeast extract or balsamic for flavouring.
Chickpea flour for omelettes, frittatas, or tofu in scrambled ‘eggs’. Use soy yoghurt for sponges and baking. Substitute egg whites with Aquafaba to make meringues and mayonnaise.
It must be better than ‘Movember’ – we do not all have moustaches!