10 top tips to get you through Veganuary
Have you decided to join the Veganuary revolution as your 2023 New Year’s resolution? Check out our ten top tips to get you through the month.
From THIS.UK’s incredible turkey stuffing sarnies to Gregg’s festive bakes, you will have no doubt witnessed at least one vegan option popping up in your go-to food store.
Veganism is trending upward and shows no signs of stopping – between 2014 and 2019, the number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled .
McDonald’s even joined the plant revolution earlier this year, introducing the McPlant, but who do we have to thank for this increase in demand?
Veganism is naturally growing in popularity, but it is safe to say that without Veganuary, the movement may not have gained as much traction.
Veganuary is an annual campaign run by a non-profit organisation. It encourages people to try veganism during January and beyond. During their 2022 campaign, Veganuary inspired and supported over 620,000 people, involving 220 countries and territories . And more than 1,500 new vegan products and menus were launched in their key campaign countries.
So, if you’re tempted to join the plant revolution and pledge yourself to 31 days of veganism in January, where do you start?
1. Know what you can and can’t eat
As obvious as it sounds, knowing what you can and can't eat cannot be overemphasised. And it’s very easy to be caught out. Many things, such as protein powder and bread, may have hidden eggs or milk in them.
If you are eating a vegan diet, you don’t eat anything derived from animals. This includes (but is not limited to):
However, there are plenty of exciting plant-based options for you to explore and most supermarkets have an alternative to everything you could want. Cooking from scratch and trying new recipes that don’t naturally contain meat can be a good way to spice things up and keep you going.
2. Focus on what you can eat, rather than what you can’t
There are over 2,000 plant foods but far fewer different types of meat and fish. Focusing on what you can eat, rather than what you can’t, will help you stay on track.
I know what you’re thinking – what about cheese? That’s one of the top questions asked by people who are thinking about transitioning to a plant-based diet.
There are plenty of plant-based cheeses nowadays – even plant-based camembert! Each brand tastes a little different so it’s best to try a few until you find your favourite. You could even try making your own vegan cheese from cashews.
If you have any favourite meat recipes, don’t be afraid to craft them to make them entirely plant-based. Jackfruit, shitake mushrooms, beans, tofu, and tempeh are just a few great examples you can use instead of meat. Most meat recipes have a plant-based hack.
Don’t let your vegan diet dictate your social life. Restaurants are increasingly more vegan savvy, and most chains have a few vegan options on the menu (Wagamama’s even pledged to make 50% of their menu plant-based).
If your options are limited, do not be afraid to ask if they can make any simple changes to existing dishes to make them vegan.
If you have a sweet tooth, the Deliciously Ella vegan chocolate balls, cookies, and cakes are most indulgent. You can even access some of these recipes on the Deliciously Ella YouTube channel.
3. Avoid the temptation to live off crisps and chips
Admittedly, it can be all too easy to succumb to a carbs binge in response to going cold turkey from meat and dairy. Going plant-based can have a variety of health benefits if done the right way – that means avoiding excess comfort foods (though the occasional tub of vegan Ben & Jerry’s can be forgiven).
Always opt for a variety of plant-based whole food on your plate rather than going for processed foods, which often have lots of added harmful fats, sugars, salt, and chemical preservatives. Get into the habit of conscientiously studying food labels and avoid food products with these added ingredients and unrecognisable chemicals.
4. Make sure you get your daily nutrients
If you eat a variety of plant foods, you can get most of the vital nutrients you need through your diet. However, eliminating meat from your diet can make you more prone to certain deficiencies if you’re not aware of plant-based sources of certain micronutrients.
Try to make sure you're getting enough of the following nutrients:
- Vitamin B12
- Omega 3 and 6
- Vitamin D
You can read more about these nutrients, why they are important, and how you can get them into your diet, in our plant-based diet and nutrition blog.
5. Try not to think of vegan products as alternatives to animal products
Your vegan diet will be a lot more enjoyable as soon as you accept you don’t need to have substitutions in your diet. The best way is to judge plant-based alternatives, such as milk, on their individual qualities, rather than how closely they taste to their animal-based counterparts.
Accept that oat milk will never taste like cow’s milk, but it can certainly enhance the flavour of your morning coffee.
6. Appreciate that vegan food doesn’t have to be expensive
There is, unfortunately, a widely accepted belief that veganism is more expensive than the average meat-eater's diet. However, this is a large misconception.
Almost all supermarket chains, including the budget ones, have a great range of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and store cupboard staples, such as tinned tomatoes, beans, lentils, pasta, rice, and grains.
You can keep your costs down by cooking from scratch and only occasionally buying pre-made meat alternatives. If you stick to this more frugal approach on your vegan shopping list, you may well find yourself spending even less than before.
7. Keep your meals convenient with “fast” vegan food
This does not mean grabbing some fries from your local fast-food joint. After a long day at work, many of us would dread the thought of slaving away in the kitchen to cook dinner from scratch. Fortunately, there are ways to make homecooked vegan food fast.
A stir-fry is a great meal as it can easily be prepared in under ten minutes. If you are feeling super lazy, you can always use the bags of pre-chopped stir-fry vegetables from your supermarket.
You can try experimenting with simple one-pot vegan cooking recipes (which also save washing-up time). Most of these dishes can be prepped in advance and kept in the fridge or freezer to be eaten later.
Vegan bolognese, chickpea curry, and bean chilli are just a few good examples that can be batch-cooked and frozen for ease.
If you want some more quick recipes, check out @Calumharris on Instagram – his meals are simple, and most can be made in under 20 minutes.
8. Plan ahead
Good planning will help you get the most out of your vegan diet, saving you time and money.
Before you do your weekly shop, plan what you're going to eat during the week, jotting down all the ingredients you need to stock up on – this can also help you save money.
9. Keep motivated and inspired
Research can be a huge motivator. Knowing the positive effects that plant-based diets and veganism can have on both your health and the environment is a motivator in itself.
There are so many great documentaries online and on Netflix to suit everyone. Some well-known examples include Cowspiracy, Land of Hope and Glory, Game Changers, Forks Over Knives, and Vegucated.
Other sources of information include:
- Nutrition facts by Dr Greger and his books, How Not To Die and How Not To Diet, have attracted a lot of interest from plant-based enthusiasts.
- Plant-based news – a globally renowned online platform.
These examples are only a few of many great resources available out there. There are also countless vegan accounts on Instagram and Pinterest for even more inspiration, and you are spoilt for choice when it comes to decent vegan recipe books.
10. Spread the word
Don’t be shy to tell all your family, friends, and work colleagues that you’re making the pledge, and even ask if they wish to join you. If they are reluctant, ask for their moral support.
It's so much easier to keep on track when you're surrounded by people who are understanding, and it also helps keep you accountable whenever you are tempted by that cheesecake or bacon sandwich.
If you are taking part in Veganuary this year and want to see what benefits the meat-free month has on your inner health, our Advanced Well Man and Advanced Well Woman Blood Tests are the perfect tests to try. You could even do one before and a few months after following a vegan diet to monitor how much of an impact the change has had.
Find out how the health of our vegan customers weighed up against the health of our non-vegan customers in our 2022 veganalysis.
- Wunsch, N.-G. (2021) Number of vegans great britain 2019, Statista. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1062104/number-of-vegans-in-great-britain/ (Accessed: December 28, 2022).
- Chelsea (2022) Veganuary 2021: The Official Survey results are in!, Veganuary. Available at: https://veganuary.com/veganuary-2021-survey-results (Accessed: December 28, 2022).