402,206 people took part in Veganuary in 2019, with 72% of them sticking with their diet after the 31 day challenge was up. And cutting out meat wasn’t just for the new year: a study by The Vegan Society found that one in five people in Britain reduced their meat intake during the first lockdown.
Giving up food you love is a big ask, but the Veganuary challenge is so popular for a reason. According to the official campaign, 37% of people signed up to the challenge to stop animals suffering, another 18% to protect the environment, and 38% went in for health reasons.
At PRESS, we believe it is all about making small steps to big changes! We have set out some easy ways for you to start on your journey to being more plant-based and how to actually stick to it throughout the month, and after too.
Just because we are all about 100% plant-based eating doesn’t mean you have to be too! We have 0% judgement and meat eaters are always welcome to our PRESS squad too. You could try eating vegan breakfasts for a week, then add vegan lunches in the second week, and so on. Meat-free Mondays are a fantastic way to begin because it gives you the opportunity to try it for a day only. This way it doesn’t seem so overwhelming.
We say that a smooth transition to a vegan diet is all about making smart swaps, replacing animal products with alternative sources of nutrition. For example, if you switch from milk and yoghurt to fortified alternatives, you won’t be missing out on calcium.
And stocking up on all of these vegan foods is the first step, because who wants to be hungry with cupboards full of foods they can’t eat? Beans and pulses are a simple place to start. You can replace your usual protein source in a meal with chickpeas or lentils. However, ease yourself into this slowly because for a lot of people, these types of food can cause bloating. Start with small portions to begin with.
Look at increasing your vegetable intake, because you want to make sure that you’re getting all the nutrients in. That doesn’t mean buying loads and loads of fresh produce. Frozen vegetables are just as good or sometimes even more nutritious than fresh vegetables.
While on your shopping trip, don’t be afraid to explore. Most supermarkets stock vegan meat alternatives, so if you think you’ll struggle without the flavour or texture of your favourite food then add these. We shouldn’t eat them for every meal of the month due to their highly processed nature and, often, high salt or oil contents. Instead of specific meat alternatives, try something like tofu or tempeh which you can marinade in the same style as meat.
STICKING TO VEGANISM
If you are struggling through your vegan journey, it’s totally OK to step back and reevaluate your diet, particularly if you are feeling any negative health implications such as fatigue, low mood or food obsession. But if it’s just the thought of a juicy burger that’s making you weak at the knees, here’s how to stay on track.
Find your favourite meals
Before you even start, find your favourite meals that you can come back to. There are so many amazing recipes out there that range from gourmet to comforting, so if you start to get cravings, you can go back to something delicious.
Feel good food
Make sure your plate has a mix of all the macronutrients (protein, such as tofu; fat, such as avocado; and carbs, such as quinoa) and you’re hitting your vitamin and mineral intake. Not only will it help your plate taste better, but you’ll feel better for it too.
Remember your why
Understand why you actually want to go vegan. If it’s simply because you want a challenge, that’s fine. But going back to your reason will help you stick with it.
Have you checked out our vegan starter packs?
Are you newly vegan, and not sure where to start? No worries, we've got you covered! We've got our healthiest, tastiest, lunches that every new vegan should try. From curries to chilli’s, mac n ‘cheese’ to soups - we've seriously got it all! So satisfying and delicious, you won’t feel like you’re missing out.