Veganuary is the time of year when adventurous non-vegans commit to the vegan lifestyle for 31 days. Why is it so popular? The vegan diet has fantastic detoxifying benefits. Also, many people set a New Year’s Resolution in January and almost 70% of those resolutions involve staying fit or losing weight, which veganism has been known to support.
Even if it is only temporary, it’s best to do some research about the vegan diet before you jump right in. The way I see it, you’ve got 31 days to explore all that veganism has to offer so you better make the most of it.
It’s like taking a trip. You wouldn’t just book a flight and figure out the rest when you arrive. You’d do research to get an idea of what you want to do while you’re there. That way you’re not wasting valuable time sitting in your hotel room trying to decide what to do that day.
You should approach Veganuary the same way. Food is a big deal – especially on a vegan diet because people tend to under eat. So I’ve come up with a few tips to make sure you have a successful and happy month.
Create something that resembles a meal plan
I am purposely vague on this one because, no, I don’t think you need to create a full-blown meal plan. You should definitely allow for some flexibility. I do think, though, that it’s important to get a list of at least 5 different recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner (so 15 total). That way, when it’s time for a meal and you’re not sure what you want to eat, you can choose something from your list. This will keep you from skipping meals or “cheating” with animal products because you don’t know what else to eat.
Discover at the grocery store
While you’re finding recipes to include in your meal plan, don’t be afraid to try something completely out of your comfort zone. I mean, come on, you’re already committing to a vegan diet for a month, so why not try foods that you would otherwise shy away from. This goes for individual ingredients, too. Never cooked with quinoa? Give it a shot! Don’t know what to do with a spaghetti squash? Find out! Take a look at my recipes for some inspiration.
Incorporate what you know
Discovering new foods can be fun, but that doesn’t mean that all your meals have to be new adventures. Have a think about your favorite recipes and how you could make them vegan. These days there is a vegan substitute for everything (butter, eggs, chicken, fish, etc.). So if you want something familiar and comforting, whip up one of your faves with a few modifications.
Know your schedule
You know your life better than anyone else. Do you get home late from work and just don’t feel like making dinner? Do you leave early in the morning with no time to grab food for breakfast or lunch? Plan ahead. Maybe prepping dinner for the whole week on Sunday would make life easier. Or prep tonight all meals for tomorrow. Whatever will help you stay on track is the best solution for you. But, that’s not to say every meal should be homemade.
Go out to eat
Let’s face it, we’re not all master chefs with fully-equipped kitchens. You may not have the ingredients or tools to make that Eggplant Parmesan Panini that you’re craving. And, you know what, sometimes it’s just nice to have someone else prepare your food. So, please, this month don’t stop going out to eat. You have 2 options.
Option 1: Go to your favorite restaurants and order your favorite dish, just vegan-style. Or you could even try a new dish that’s already vegan.
Option 2: Find some vegan-friendly restaurants in your area and try a few new dishes there.
There are so many choices within the vegan diet: raw, cooked whole foods, processed substitutes. I encourage you to give them all a shot. Who knows what you’ll find!
Congratulations and thank you for giving the vegan diet a chance. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions as you go.
Want to learn more about Veganuary? Click here.