10 Tips for Veganuary
Veganuary challenges people to go vegan for the whole month of January (and beyond). There are plenty of reasons to take part in Veganuary, such as a love of animals, a concern for the environment or a healthy new lifestyle change. If you’ve taken the pledge to go 31 days without animal products, then we’re here to support you at TEA+. Our resident vegan Vicki is on hand to share ten top tips for going vegan.
Start with the basics
People think that being vegan can be very expensive. They’re not wrong in thinking that if you’re just buying vegan cheese and meat replacements every day. However, if you stick to the basics of plant-based cooking you should actually save yourself some money! Eating whole foods and cooking at home most of the time is the cheapest way to be vegan, and you can shave a few more pennies off the budget by doing simple things like cooking dry beans instead of being tinned, buying your grains in bulk and planning your meals in advance.
Get some recipes
There are numerous vegan cook books on the market and many will be sitting on the shelves of your local supermarket this month. My top picks are Thug Kitchen, Deliciously Ella - The Plant-Based Cookbook and Feed Me Vegan. If you’re not willing to invest in a physical cookbook, then there are plenty of resources online for some great vegan recipes including the Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows.
One of the biggest struggles with any lifestyle change is the “long day”. At the end of a long day, you’re much more likely to default to your old habits than continue to put effort into your new lifestyle. This is why I recommend batch cooking – you’ll have a few vegan meals already whipped up and stocked in your freezer so you don’t have to worry about cooking tonight. Or even if you still want to order that pizza…
It’s never been a better time to be vegan, with all the mainstream choice out there now. In the first week of 2019 alone, Pizza Hut have launched a brand new vegan pizza, M&S has released over 60 plant-based ready-meals and Gregg’s have taken over Twitter with a vegan sausage roll. You don’t have to become a chef overnight to be vegan.
Speaking of mainstream choice, eating out as a vegan has also become incredibly easy. Many high street chain restaurants offer a vegan option now. The official Veganuary website has a great resource for finding out where’s good to eat vegan with everything from Yo Sushi and Zizzi to Nandos and Wetherspoons.
Get enough B12
B12 is very difficult to get enough of on a plant-based diet. It’s pretty much recommended across the board to take a supplement, as the effects of a long-term deficiency can be very dangerous. A B12 deficiency can lead to anaemia with symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, breathlessness, feeling faint, headaches, pale skin, heart palpitations, tinnitus, loss of appetite and weight loss.
Don’t worry though, there are a few options out there to get your fill of B12. I used to use a spray but would only remember about once a week to use it! Now of course, I drink a TEA+ Energy every morning on the way to work which not only replaces my morning coffee, but gets the full 100% RDA of B12.
Know your plant milks
Soya, oat, coconut, almond, hazelnut, rice and even tiger nut? When there’s so much choice it can be a little overwhelming. Each milk has its own flavour and consistency and is better suited for different uses. A good place to start is soya milk and then branch out from there. I personally enjoy an unsweetened almond milk for cereal and oatmeal, whilst coconut or oat is best for hot drinks!
Social media is a great resource for information. Start by looking at the #veganuary tag and you'll find plenty of others doing the exact same thing as you this month, plus lots of support and tips. Head to Twitter on Tuesday evenings for #VeganHour at 7pm for some conversation - you'll often find me in the chat too (don’t forget to say hi!). Follow Instagram accounts like @AccidentlyVeganUK and @nowyouknowitsvegan, which are great for helping you find vegan snacks and new vegan products.
Do some research
Whatever your reason for trying Veganuary, whether it’s health, environmental, ethical or something entirely different, make sure you remember it. 31 days doesn’t seem that long, but if you’re having a bad day those motivations can easily slip from our mind. Do your research into why you’ve taken this challenge and hopefully it’ll stick with you even through the toughest moments. I recommend Netflix's Forks Over Knives, Beyond the Flood, Cowspiracy and What The Health. Earthlings is also a very powerful film, but not for the faint-hearted.
One step at a time
It’s perfectly fine to just spend these 31 days eating a vegan diet – you don’t have to worry about cosmetics, or clothes, or household products unless you decide to stick with veganism beyond January. Overhauling your entire lifestyle in one month can work for some, but if that’s not for you then that’s okay too. Go at your own pace.
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