It’s the start of 2018, which means that just about everyone is obsessively trying to stick to their well-meaning resolutions. Still, there may be something that you’ve noticed about your friends, coworkers, and family. Some of them will have done the unthinkable. Some of them will have become… Vegan. *Gasp*
Yes, the reason for this sudden dietary change is not some kind of mystery. It’s actually down to a little something called #Veganuary. The trend is part of a charity campaign which encourages people to ditch meat, dairy, and animal products for the first month of the year. Oh, and it’s not too late to take the pledge (even if it’s not January anymore), all you need to do is fill out a quick and easy form online. Interested?
While many of us (myself included) believe that it’s hard to go vegan – even for a short period – the site itself makes it quite easy including recipes, advice, and support along the way. So, if you’re thinking about starting something new and different in 2018, you may just have found it. Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the whole Veganuary shebang.
Reasons to go vegan in 2018
Made by chefs, designed by nutritionists and delivered straight to your door!
Life just got easier with @allplants 😍https://t.co/gG71sqh6LQ
BIG fans of the Cashew Mac here at #Veganuary HQ. 100% #vegan ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Lv3LlaIRIA
— VEGANUARY (@WeAreVeganuary) January 8, 2018
First of all, let’s start out with why you may want to go vegan this month. The thought may never have crossed your mind before now, so it’s worth thinking about the possible benefits this choice will give you. Here are just a few of the reasons that many people choose to give up animal products for a short period or forever:
It may be a healthier alternative but it doesn’t have to always be healthy
These days, we’re all seriously health conscious, which means we care more about what we eat on a day to day basis. A plant-based or vegan diet could be the step towards a healthier future. The British Dietetic Association recently confirmed that this type of diet can help people of all ages to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Cutting out meat and dairy can also have a serious impact on your fat intake. Avoiding these things means that you will no longer be getting excess amounts of protein or fat. However, it’s worth noting that not all vegan foods are healthy. Some, most of which are ‘accidentally vegan,’ can be full of sugar and preservatives that are bad for you. It’s best to stick to natural ingredients like fruit, vegetables, and pulses instead.
Save the animals
Breakfast this morning with my fellow wandering vegan @lauraramanauckis #Repost @thewanderingvegans ・・・ It's super rainy this morning so instead of exploring the outdoors, we wandered to the kitchen for #vegan #glutenfree pancakes 🍓 . . . #vegansofinstagram #vegan #veganlife #plantbased #whatveganseat #veganfoodshare #bloggers #photooftheday
Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that one of the rather major reasons people turn to veganism has something to do with animals. Taking up this lifestyle means that you are no longer contributing to an industry which kills and sells animals for meat.
It should be noted that animals feel emotions, such as fear and pain, just like we do. That in itself is one of the main reasons many believe that they should not be slaughtered. Researching this area could help you deeper understand the meat industry and its effects on the world.
Get the nutrition you need
— Kesar Virdi (@kesarskitchen) February 15, 2018
One of the biggest myths about the vegan diet is that you can’t get the nutrients that your body needs. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, you can gain everything you need from non-animal products. The key here is making sure that you plan out your meals and ensure that they are balanced in every possible way. Get into a routine of regular meal planning so that you can be prepared at all times.
We already know that you gain protein from meat, but where else can you get it from? Well, good sources of protein include legumes, leafy greens, and other vegetables. Take a little time to educate yourself on the foods that you can eat. That way, you will find that living the vegan lifestyle is super easy each and every day.
Help the environment
Let’s not beat around the bush here. The environment is in desperate need of our help. We’re killing the world one step at a time and something has to be done before it’s too late. While going vegan is not the sole answer to this problem, it could well be a small part of the solution. By making a little change in your diet and lifestyle, you could have a rather large impact on the health of the planet and how long it lasts.
Eating vegan food, rather than meat products, helps to save water, energy, and stop pollution. The meat industry contributes widely to all of the above. There’s a whole body of information out there that will help you understand the issue further. Once you start learning about the impact you’re having on the planet, it’s plain to see that something has to change sooner rather than later.
Why it’s cheaper to eat less meat
Now, let’s really get down to it. Going vegan is an excellent idea for all of the above reasons, but there’s one thing that you may be forgetting. Eating less meat is also seriously good news for your bank balance! Here are just a few of the ways that making this change will save you your hard-earned pennies:
Meat is seriously expensive
Of course, one of the major reasons that going vegan is a little cheaper is the fact that meat is seriously expensive. Having a cut of meat with every meal means that you are throwing your cash down the drain. Even supposedly ‘cheaper’ meats like chicken tend to be around £3-£4 for a couple of breasts in supermarkets these days.
While you can often find better deals at butchers shops, all those pounds soon add up. Sure, you will need to replace the meat with other things, but they are unlikely to be as costly. So, by cutting meat out of your diet, you get rid of a huge part of your weekly shopping bill which is a major plus.
Supermarkets offer vegan options
A couple of years ago, turning vegan may have been a difficult feat. Those days are well and truly over. Recently, many of the biggest supermarkets have begun to stock vegan food as standard. For example, just this month Tesco launched an entirely vegan range across the country. They’re not alone. Many of the shops we use have ‘free from’ sections and speciality food aisles where you can find a wide selection of veggie and vegan meals.
While, at times, there’s likely nothing wrong with having the odd ready meal, you should keep in mind that this should not be a lifestyle choice! If you are planning to go vegan, it’s worth learning some quick and easy recipes so that you don’t rely too heavily on premade food. There’s loads that you can do from soups to vegan pizza (no, seriously!).
Fruit and Vegetables are cheap
Well, this one should be obvious to everyone out there. Buying tasty, fresh vegetables, rather than meat, processed foods, or dairy items, is a great way to save yourself some money. Many shops have regular offers on their fresh fruit and vegetables.
For example, each week Aldi choose six pieces of fruit or vegetables to put on offer for just 30p-50p per pack, depending on individual stores and where in the country they happen to be. If you’re flexible (and not too fussy!) about what you eat, you could find that this saves you a whole load of cash. Each week, just buy the veg on offer for the best bargains.
Check out: Aldi Super 6
Eating out as a vegan is easy
I was pleasantly surprised to discover @wagamama_uk now has a separate menu for #vegetarians & #vegans, making it super easy to order without guessing if something is vegan or not 😍 the yasai itame was absolutely fantastic and I can't wait to go back… https://t.co/PtMKwT3EPk pic.twitter.com/NtVPFqMDd3
— Mairi Lowe (@m_copperpink) February 19, 2018
Still not convinced? One of the serious things that holds people back when they consider veganism is eating out. People tend to presume that there is just no way that they will be able to get tasty vegan meals when they are out and about. While that may have been the way at one point in the past, it’s no longer the case at all.
Many mainstream restaurant chains, such as Las Iguanas and Wagamama, actually have dedicated vegan menus. Since there has been a major boom in people becoming vegetarians and vegans recently, it’s only logical that the eateries out there would accommodate this trend. What’s more, many others are bound to follow suit pretty darn soon too, which means that there’s likely to be more options than ever.
Check out: Wagamama Vegan Menu
So, how should you start?
So, if you’re willing to give this whole vegan thing a shot, where should you start? It doesn’t have to be hard since there’s loads of help out there. As you might imagine, there’s a whole load of information on the Veganuary site as well as a ‘starter kit’ full of recipes, tips, and information. You can also donate to the charity to help support the cause and help raise some much-needed awareness for the cause.