You’ve committed to Veganuary, but you don’t know where to start? We’ve got tips to help you get started on a meat-free month (and beyond) plus where to find the nutrients vegans need in their diet and advice on how to stay the course.
Any major change in diet requires a bit of planning, particularly if you’re going to be cooking and eating things you don’t have much experience of already. Going vegan might be a considerable step – particularly if you’re not a vegetarian already – but with a little time devoted to planning and figuring out how you can go meat-free and still eat flavoursome foods that you love, you’ll find it’s perfectly manageable.
To start, have a think of all flavours you like to eat. Do you like spicy? Sweet? Tangy citrus flavours? Then make a list of your favourite foods or ingredients, leaving out anything non-vegan. Think dark chocolate or fresh berries if you have a sweet tooth, or pasta and potatoes if you’re a carb fiend. Then also make a list of your favourite meals; what can you do to make them vegan?
Use these three lists as your starting point. Set aside an hour to look at some cookery books and blogs online to find some new recipe ideas that include the flavours and vegan ingredients you love to eat, or recipes for a vegan-friendly take on your favourite meal. Hopefully spending some time on this will make you feel inspired about all the tasty food you can still enjoy after removing meat and dairy from your diet.
When it comes to cooking, give yourself more time than you would usually, particular if you’re working with an ingredient you don’t have much experience of cooking, particularly something like tofu, tempeh, or vegetables like aubergine, which can take a bit of getting used to.
Many people worry that by going vegan, they’ll be losing vital proteins from their diet, which are essential for muscle development. But meat, fish and eggs are not the only sources of protein available to you. In fact, plenty of vegetables and pulses are packed with protein, to make sure your diet stays balanced and healthy.
Keeping yourself on track once the initial excitement wears off and you’re a couple of weeks in can be tough. The Vegan Society has members around the country who can offer support and advice to newbies looking for fresh meal inspiration or a little reminder of why they’re doing it in the first place. Also check out vegan magazines, such as Vegan Living, for inspiration from meat-free celebrities and influencers, plus recipe ideas and more lifefstyle tips.
Whether you’re doing it for health or environmental reasons, going vegan doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the little pleasures in life. A reward for sticking to a new goal can be the sort of carrot you need to stay motivated. It’s not hard to find recipes for delicious sweet vegan treats (just check out this chocolate cake by Nigella Lawson).
Or a detoxing spa break with healthy juices, delicious salads and a restorative massage could be just what you need, and hotels generally offer a range of dining options to accommodate different dietary requirements.
There is a world of vegan recipes out there, whether you’re looking for a quick lunchtime snack or canape ideas, to wholesome comfort food an indulgent desserts. We’ve rounded up a few influencers to help get you started on your vegan journey.