Veganuary: The Ultimate Guide
Veganuary, the time of year where more and more of us are considering a month without meat and dairy products, whether that be for health, environmental or animal welfare reasons.
It's something that is not going to be for everyone but if everyone took small changes by adding more plant-based foods to their diet, it would ultimately help the planet.
It would have more of an effect than cutting down on flights taken and even switching to an electric car.
The Guardian reported earlier this year that a record 400,000 people signed up for the Veganuary movement. With more and more of us considering going more plant-based or even fully vegan there are a number of benefits it can bring.
Scientists have found that a vegan diet could be one of the healthiest diets. In comparison to others such as vegetarian and pescatarian due to eating a variety of whole foods, grains and vegetables.
The Benefits of Going Vegan
Environmental Benefits: If everyone went vegan it would reduce greenhouse gas emission by two thirds. Furthermore, a recent study conducted by Oxford University confirmed that a vegan diet could reduce an individual's carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent.
Releasing land that has been used up agriculture, which is one of the biggest causes of mass wildlife extinction.
Health Benefits: From recent research, it has been found that a plant-based diet presented a 32% lower risk for cardiovascular diseases.
1. Find some easy swaps
There is a multitude of swaps that can be made for your everyday options. Easy substitutes can be made by swapping lentils instead of meat, tofu instead of eggs, bean or jackfruit instead of meat burgers, cheese for a vegan cheese alternative along with so many more options.
2. Find and consider your "Why?"
Many people when considering and starting Veganuary they will have a reason for switching to be more or fully vegan. Whether that is due to animal cruelty, a health condition, health benefits, or for the environmental benefit.
So think about your reasons for going vegan in Veganuary what is your “why” for making the change?
3. Veganise your regular favourites
What’s your favourite meal? Often a favourite recipe can be easily adapted to new plant-based alternatives with little to no fuss required.
A simple example of this is a bolognese or spaghetti meatballs, this can simply be recreated using lentils as your base providing both fibre and protein instead of meat.
Another example, there are endless options and combinations to make your favourite curry plant-based using chickpeas or any bean or legume, coconut milk, and any vegetables left behind in the fridge.
It is ultimately easier to create something you used to love that is still abundant in both taste and flavour.
4. Hunt the accidentals
Many foods are accidentally vegan – examples of these are Oreos, some flavours of Doritos and Pringles, baked beans, many sauces, Fox’s biscuits, Belvita, and Skittles but the list goes on. Therefore, many of your favourites treats may still be on the menu for veganuary. To access the full list check out the Veganuary website.
5. Get creative with the alternatives
These days it is becoming easier to become or add in more plant-based and vegan alternatives into your diet.
Take milk as an example, you can choose from soy, almond, hemp, oat, coconut and so many more as a replacement for milk.
Many are fortified with B12, therefore would provide the daily amount needed and not otherwise supplied in a vegan and plant-based diet.
Even though a vegan and plant-based diet may often be portrayed as a bit hippy or strange, it is a change many are making in order to help a variety of reasons.
This Veganuary, if you intend on taking the plunge there will be more options that will make it much easier than you imagine.
Hopefully, it will help to show that vegan and a plant-based diet is much more than quinoa, chickpeas and lettuce and often termed a “hippy” alternative diet.