If you love living life on the veg, then you ain’t green nothing yet! If you hit guac bottom and want to turnip the beet - Veganuary could be made for you! Following a vegan diet means removing all animal products such as meat, poultry, fish and any products originating from animals or insects from your diet. Anyway, instead of focusing on all the things vegans don’t eat – try listing all the things they CAN! There’s no doubt veganism is becoming increasingly popular all over the world for many reasons. Just as every single person’s diet is different, so is their motivation to go vegan. For most people, their decision is either for animal welfare, health, environmental or sustainability reasons. Importantly whatever your diet currently looks like, we can all benefit from including more wholefoods into our routine. The Western diet typically involves high amounts of sugar, salt and saturated fats which can displace important vitamins and minerals necessary for the functioning of our bodies. We are going to give you some little tips and tricks to make going vegan for the month of January as easy as possible and hopefully really enjoyable!
Whatever your motivation for wanting to try Veganuary – you are making a positive step for both your health and the environment. The most common reason for moving to a vegan diet is due to animal cruelty or animal welfare beliefs and wanting to limit any pain or suffering endured by animals used in the farming industry. Others may adopt a vegan diet to improve their health and lower their chance of developing lifestyle diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and to protect against certain cancers. Those who choose to eat vegan for environmental reasons do so due to less carbon emissions being produced from plant foods compared to meat, less water usage which goes towards plant foods and the reduction and destruction of wildlife habitats and endangered species. Whatever your reasons are for making this exciting change, it will definitely benefit yourself as well as the world around you.
What a great way to start off the year by feeling your BEST! You should experience an increase in energy, improved sleep and potentially a happier and more stable mood due to eating more wholefoods. There’s no doubt any change in diet (or anything for that matter) can take a bit of adjusting. Whether you’re already vegetarian or consume meat and animal products frequently, being prepared will help you be more successful. Start by planning a few different ideas of meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need. By having the ingredients and recipes on hand, this will help avoid slipping up when you’re low on time or aren’t inspired to cook. Go grocery shopping at the start of the week and purchase all necessary ingredients and bonus points (if you’ve got the time), try to do some meal prep to make your cooking time even less! If you prefer to limit your cooking time even more, double your dinner recipes to have leftoversleft overs the next day for lunch. Involving your family or housemates will too help with motivation, limit temptation and keep each other accountable.
Eat the rainbow!
Obviously one of the most important parts of this whole exercise is the nutritional benefit you’ll experience from eating and drinking a wide range of fruit and vegetables you wouldn’t normally have. A vegan diet is traditionally lower in saturated fats, sugar and salt and higher in vitamins, minerals and fibre however vegan diets aren’t always necessarily ‘healthy’ and it’s really important to ensure you’re consuming enough nutrients and don’t become deficient. The most successful way to adopt a vegan diet is to eat the colours of the rainbow and ensure you’re still eating enough to obtain the energy you need to function in your day to day life. Add in plenty of legumes, nuts and seeds to keep protein and unsaturated fat levels up (you could also try our delicious Plantiful Protein powder). Zinc and iron levels can also take a hit when cutting out animal products from your diet. The best way to ensure we have enough of these is to eat an abundance of fresh and mineral rich foods to give our body the best chance at absorbing them. A great addition to a diet full of vegetables and fruit is our Alkalising Greens®, packed full of vitamins and minerals, this will help to give a buffer of any goodies you could be lacking. We commonly get our Vitamin B12 from multiple animal products, this one is a bit harder to get just from eating a healthy diet. Luckily for us, there are plenty of supplements or Vitamin B12 fortified foods that will make sure we have sufficient levels. The food industry has come a long way and there are so many products catering to vegan diets, either being fortified with important nutrients or convenient versions of common animal-based foods. There are also a wide range of delicious vegan supplements to support you and your wellness this Veganuary, such as our Complete Gut Restore powder, to keep your tummy happy!
Try new and exciting meals!
There is an abundance of different meal ideas and what a great time to bring some new recipes into your repertoire! An incorrect pre-conception is that vegan meals can be boring or bland – this is absolutely not the case. Play around with different spices and fresh herbs to create some extra flavouring and oomph you wouldn’t normally include. If you have the opportunity, visit your local farmers markets to buy fresh produce – not only with the produce be DELICIOUS and oftentimes organic but the seller will often give you tips and pointers on how to eat them in an enjoyable way. From vegetable stir-fry’s to buddha bowls, curries, salads, pastas, burritos, falafel, risottos, burgers and soups - the list goes on (psst! You can check out all of our yummy vegan recipes here)! Food companies have created vegan versions of meats, cheeses and other meat products to stop you feeling like you’re missing out – this can be a great way to begin your vegan journey before you get more confident making your own meals from scratch! Snacks can be the easiest – having some fruit by itself or with a nut butter or a handful of nuts. Veganuary won’t stop you from living your normal social life either, nearly all restaurants and cafes have several vegan options and as it’s becoming so common they often have really delicious dishes that taste amazing! Great for inspiration 😉
So why not give it a go?
Whether you will continue this as a long-term thing, or just a quick health fling to start off your year, you will have learnt how to incorporate more fruit, vegetables and grains into your diet and hopefully will have tried some new foods. Your diet doesn’t need to be restricted by any labels, listening to your body and eating intuitively is most important. Aiming to get at least 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit each day will make you feel your best and you’ll see a difference too. There are other initiatives to slowly start to lower animal product consumption such as Meat Free Mondays which promote having a vegetarian meal on Mondays.
We hope you’re feeling a million dollars come February and decide to keep this going, however if you’re unsure or require more guidance please consult your healthcare professional or naturopath and nutritionist to make changes safely.