Cover photo credit: Brooke Lark
Beyond the gaggles of “New Year, New Me!” that ring through the January air lies an increasingly popular campaign-turned-tradition encouraging people to explore new tastes and food habits. Enter Veganuary – a movement dedicated to inspiring meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike to take on 31 days free of animal products.
Whether it’s dabbling in veganism for the month, trying to get more fruit and veg in, or just finding your new favourite veg, everyone can do with a few more plants in their lives. So whatever you decide to do this January, we’re sharing our top 5 tips to help you get started.
1. Stock up on staples
Chances are your pantry is already full of plenty of vegan items – beans, lentils, rice, dry pasta, cereal, peanut butter… These will become the cornerstones of your vegan diet – but don’t forget the fruit and veg! Once you start seeing how many options vegans have, you’ll uncover a world of possibility within your diet (and you’ll definitely end up hitting your 5-a-day, without even trying).
Top Tip: Quinoa is a great rice substitute that is high in protein – coming in at 8g of protein per cup. Plus, it’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 amino acids our body needs.
2. It’s all about substitution
We understand how to the untrained eye, veganism might seem very restrictive. But instead of focusing on the foods you ‘can’t eat’, focus instead on how you can substitute or replicate your favourite items with something animal-free.
Top Tip: Freeze a few bananas and then blend them with peanut butter, berries, or a few squares of dark chocolate for an indulgent vegan ice cream!
3. International cuisines are your friend
Experimenting with international cuisines is a great way to keep things interesting. Japanese-style food, Indian curries, or Mexican dishes are particularly easy to make vegan-friendly. For example, veganise your ramen by swapping your egg noodles for rice noodles, ditch the boiled egg, and replace the meat with tofu. Coconut veg curry is always a winner, and if you look closely, almost everything in a burrito is vegan – just swap out the sour cream and cheese and get beans instead of meat.
Top Tip: Don’t be afraid to get creative, or to go heavy on the aromatics – they always work wonders.
4. Bust out your blender and spiralizer
New year, new textures! Add a little something to your dishes by spiralizing your veg instead of just chopping it up (works best with bigger, firmer veg like carrots, courgette or butternut squash). Blending also comes in handy beyond just smoothies. Get creative with soups, dips, sauces, and more – the possibilities are endless.
Top Tip: Blend roasted onion + butternut squash with fresh ginger, chilli, and garlic for a delicious wintery soup.
5. Buddy up
Things are always easier with a buddy! You’ll be able to hold each other accountable, exchange tips and tricks, and ultimately come away with a shared experience that will bring you together. Better yet, why not try out some recipes together and see what you think?
Remember, there is no one way to eat vegan, so keep an open mind, do what feels best for you, and maybe you’ll even rediscover your love for veg this January!