With the awareness of plant-based eating becoming more apparent, it’s no wonder that going vegan may be one of the New Year’s Resolutions for many.
According to Rich Hardy, the Head of Campaigns of Veganuary, over 190,000 people have signed up this year!
If you were one of them, know that I’m here cheering you on!
Regardless of what your motivation is, here are 6 crucial tips to make your Veganuary successful:
1. Plan ahead
Now I know we’re already nearly halfway through January, but any time’s a good time to start!
You could just ‘go with the flow’ but remember, you’re kinda going against the current here.
You’re doing something that you’re not used to and if you’re not living in a place where vegan food is not easily accessible, then you will definitely meet with quite a bit of resistance.
What kind of planning should you do?
- Meal planning: make a schedule of the meals you’ll eat in a week and stick with it
- Grocery shopping: list the ingredients you need and schedule time to buy them each week
- Eating out: if it’s more convenient for you to eat out, find out the nearest cafes or restaurants that serve vegan options (hint: it might just be the ones you always go to!)
- Study time: make time at least one hour a week to learn more about veganism (by being / trying out vegan it doesn’t mean you know everything already)
2. Know what you need
To supplement the food planning, it’s worth to know what kind of foods you need.
This would be the staple food or the ingredients that you definitely need in your day-to-day which are easily accessible and possibly cheap.
- Grains: rice, oats, bread, pasta
- Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, beans, greenpeas, soybeans (tofu/tempeh)
- Nuts & Seeds: almond, cashew, pumpkin, peanuts, chia, flax
- Fruits: bananas, apples, berries, orange, mango, papaya, grapes
- Vegetables: spinach, lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, carrot, broccoli
The grains, legumes and nuts provide sufficient carbs, protein and fats, while fruits and vegetables give you lots of vitamins.
Have a good mix of these to meet your daily nutritional needs!
3. Eat the rainbow
If you don’t really care about how much carbs or protein goes into your belly, but still want sufficient nutrition to feed your gut, then consider eating the rainbow.
This means choosing a variety of vegetables and ensuring that your plate is always colourful.
4. Snacking is hacking
Junk or healthy (preferably the latter), make sure you have some snacks for those in-between meals moment.
By filling your belly, it helps reduce cravings for quick fixes which may mean you reaching out for the non-vegan food you’re so used to.
Prepare yourself with fruits, nuts, energy bars or if you’re really desperate, a packet of oreos.
5. Exercise (at least 10 minutes a day)
Being active plays a role in digestion which means your brain gets the nutrition it needs to function so you don’t fall off the bandwagon.
If you have been going to the gym or doing some kind of sports, keep it up!
If not, take it gradually by starting with 10-minute daily walks. It doesn’t have to be in nature — you can even do it in a mall.
6. Potatoes potate, humans hydrate!
Sometimes your ‘hunger’ or ‘craving’ is just a signal for water.
When you’re thinking of cheese, drink water.
When you’re thinking of McDonald’s drumstick, drink water.
When you’re thinking of canned tuna, drink water.
When you’re thinking of scrambled eggs, drink water.
You get the drill.
Unless of course, you manage to find vegan versions of those food.
FOR THE LONG TERM
Feel like extending this one-month vegan challenge?
Focus on these 2 things:
1. Know your ‘why’
You might not need a big reason for Veganuary as you probably just wanted to try it out.
But for the long term, it helps if you have a solid reason in mind.
For me it’s mainly ethical and environmental reasons. It could be something different for you.
Whatever it is, write it down somewhere and keep reminding yourself why you decide to continue the vegan lifestyle.
As humans, we tend to forget or get distracted so knowing your ‘why’ helps in getting you back on track.
2. Get support
Sure you can always fly solo but having a supportive community around you helps keeping the momentum forward.
If there’s no physical vegan community around you, seek the online vegan community. Be a part of Facebook groups and search the relevant hashtags on Instagram.
A word of caution: don’t get sucked into the negativity or drama. I know we humans tend to love tragedy but for your sanity, focus on the positive, uplifting vegan community be it online or offline.