January is here and that can only mean one thing: Veganuary. Yes, Christmas and New Year parties are in the past and this month can often seem dull, lifeless and lack-lustre, but I truly believe that it holds promise, opportunity and hope. That said, we could also treat it as just another month. Too many people, far too often, begin the New Year with over-ambitious expectations and unrealistic targets for themselves – again, too often associated with ‘giving up’ something rather than embracing life.
That’s why I’m approaching Veganuary as an opportunity to embrace life in all its glory. The days might be cold and dark, but the food on your plate needn’t and one of my main aims with Nourishing Amy is to show the world (wherever you are reading this, thank you) that plant-based foods are full of vibrancy, colour and deliciousness. The one set-back I can see to holding Veganuary in January is that people do find it a tricky month, so drastically changing your diet may only add to that stress. What do you eat? Where do you turn to? What the flip is aquafaba? Why is tofu so gross and squidgy? Well, my dear reader, I am here to help you. That’s what I hope to do all this month and all year long. I want to encourage as many people as possible to take the pledge and live out a lifestyle free from harm all month long, and just maybe you’ll get hooked enough to continue throughout 2019 – this really is the start of something exciting.
I won’t ramble on about my journey to veganism again, as you can find all that here. But I will remind you of a few reasons why I love being vegan and why I could talk all day long about it. Firstly, it makes me feel great. From a health perspective, adopting a plant-based lifestyle brings numerous health benefits. According to the Veganuary Campaign, health is the second most popular reason people go vegan. Cut your cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Read more here and if you’re concerned about getting the right nutrition throughout Veganuary, then you needn’t worry as you can thrive off a plant-based diet and the scaremongering from the media is simply that – scaremongering. Find out more here.
I believe, as many vegans do, there is never an excuse to cause harm to animals, so stopping animal cruelty and exploitation is the primary reason people take the pledge – “Animals are sentient beings. They feel emotions, can suffer, and their lives matter to them.” – read more here.
Thirdly, in case you’d missed it, even the government and scientists are saying that going vegan is the easiest and best thing you can do to help the planet. Removing animal products from your diet is more effective than giving up your car, for example – read more here.
So, what’s holding you back? I know it can seem scary, and like a leap into the unknown but it really isn’t. Here are my 3 top tips for going vegan this January:
1. Do your research – don’t suffer through the month hating the food you are eating. Read food blogs, cook books and ask for advice on social media. For example, if you cannot stand soya milk, don’t brush aside all plant-based milks, try a coconut milk latte instead.
2. Go out to eat! There are so many amazing options for vegans on restaurant menus today and it truly makes for a delightful meal. From the ‘beyond meat’ burger to vegan cheese pizzas or healthier vegan Asian cuisine, treat yourself to a great meal to show how easy it is to eat vegan. Google restaurants first and look at the happycow app for advice.
3. Have an open mind. Don’t begin the month with a defeatist attitude that this will be difficult, you’ll feel gross and have no energy (or lack protein!!) because there are millions of vegans flourishing by eating this way. Try not to be too hard on yourself if you slip up once, carry on and note it as a lesson learnt. Get your friends or family on board, too, so you can cook together and really get into a positive plant-based lifestyle.
I hope I have inspired you to try it out and take the pledge – over the month I will have some more in-depth vegan hacks for you like ditching the dairy and other simple swaps. I’ll also be posting lots of simple, vegan meals and treats that you’ll master in no time at all and (hopefully) show you how amazing and easy vegan food can be.
Until then, take a look at my recipe index or try a few of my favourites:
With vegan love x