A whole month of opportunities to become a vegan.
Keywords: vegan, vegan friend, Veganuary, Veganuary tips, veganism, meal planning
Veganuary is in full swing, and it’s likely that you’ve seen friends or family share about the annual challenge. Started by a non-profit organization from the United Kingdom that promotes and educates about veganism, Veganuary has become so popular that even businesses like Costco have been promoting the event. The organization reports that in 2020, over 400,000 individuals participated and they estimate that this represented the CO2 equivalent of 450,000 flights and the lives of more than a million animals.
The word “Veganuary” is a portmanteau of “vegan” and “January,” and the concept is simple: for the month of January, people are encouraged to ditch animal products and go vegan. As it coincides with the beginning of the year, many people see Veganuary as an opportunity that aligns with their resolutions, often relating to better health. It’s a great way to try out the diet with no added pressure. In some cases, participants end up sticking with veganism.
Of course, going cold “tofurkey” can be hard. We generally recommend to those who are starting out in their journey towards veganism that they should start slow and be patient with themselves when they slip up. But when condensed into 31 days, many can fall into the trap of wanting to be perfect and consequently feeling discouraged when they’re not.
To help you stay on the course, here are some of our best tips for dominating Veganuary.
Whether you’re vegan or not, one of the most sure-fire ways to stick to any sort of dietary plan is by getting organized. This may look different from person to person, but our favourite method is through utilizing a spreadsheet for meal planning.
A meal planning spreadsheet gives you a broad overview of what you’re eating for the entirety of the month. By looking ahead, you can grocery shop with purpose and in advance. When you’re planning meals day-to-day, it can be tempting to order takeout as a first resort after a long day of work. By planning ahead, you have better control over what you eat, making sticking with Veganuary much easier.
Keep the Must-Haves in Stock
Let’s say you forgot to meal-plan for the following week. It’s 5:30pm, you just wrapped up at work, and grocery shopping is the last thing on your mind. One great way to combat this is to ensure that you have all the pantry basics—such as cans of beans, grains, nuts, and vegetable stock—on hand. The versatility of these basic items allow you to whip up something quick that’s also vegan.
Spices are always good to have, Veganuary or otherwise, and nutritional yeast is a popular ingredient in many vegan recipes. Maple syrup, nut butters, and flax and chia seeds are also great for throwing together vegan desserts. The bottom line? Don’t leave your pantry empty!
Know Your Ingredients
Especially during the beginning of your journey towards veganism, it can be easy to slip up and accidentally eat something that isn’t vegan-friendly. This is completely normal; these things are bound to happen!
With that said, arming yourself with the right information can help reduce the chances of that happening. Knowing what ingredients to look out for or even just getting familiar with which stores in your neighbourhood carry vegan items can go a long way.
Have an Accountabilibuddy
Veganuary can be hard for some people. Cutting out all animal products can be quite a stark change, and as we know, we all get by with a little help from our friends. Having an accountabilibuddy can help make the adjustment much easier. From checking in on each other, to offering each other words of encouragement, having a friend help keep you accountable can make all the difference, especially on those days you’re tempted to reach for that block of cheese.
Find Your Community
The great thing about Veganuary is that hundreds of thousands of people are also participating in the same month-long event. This means that there are a number of online communities that are happy to share tips, recipes, and tricks to help you ace Veganuary. From Facebook groups to subreddits, you’ll be sure to find a number of new vegans (and new friends) who are eager to help you through the month, and maybe even beyond January.
Veganuary is a great way to test out a vegan diet and see if it’s a right fit for you. Though not everyone ends up sticking with the vegan lifestyle after that first month of the year, they nonetheless learn that not every single meal needs animal products. Participants also get to familiarize themselves with and open their minds to vegan alternatives that they can incorporate into their diets for the remainder of the year.
Are you participating in Veganuary this year? If not, would you be open to trying it out in 2022 or even choosing a different month in 2021? Let us know in the comments section!