© Brooke Lark
There are now half a million Brits following a vegan diet, and it’s likely that at least one of your friends will host a vegan Christmas this year – but it’s becoming every more popular with carnivores. Every year the number of people committing themselves to a month of meat-free madness doubles. That’s right – we’re talking Veganuary.
What is Veganuary?
Did you know Veganuary began as a charity project in 2014? The brief: to encourage meat-eaters and vegetarians to 31 days of animal sobriety throughout January.
Last year, it’s estimated that just 60,000 people joined the Veganuary movement; this year that number is expected to skyrocket to 150,000.
If you’ve entertained the idea of going vegan before, but aren’t quite ready to make the leap, it’s a great test-run for a plant based future. Plus, you’ll do your bit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make a stand against the suffering of animals.
Seriously considering a month of aubergine sprinkled with pomegranate? Keep reading for exactly what to expect during veganuary. From Sundays brunch spots that serve more than eggs, to the skinny on amazing skin and the vegan protein powders it’s all here.
Here are the 31 tips that will get you through every day of Veganuary. You’re welcome.
Here are some Veganuary recipes to get you started…
Take a look at the best Vegan Protein Foods for an idea of what to eat while trying to tone up, and give these Easy Vegan Recipes a go – and FYI, they’re not just tofu and veg.
Veganuary Day 1:
You’re feeling pretty pleased with yourself because you’ve decided to embrace the Veganuary challenge – until your housemate cooks up a New Year’s Day fry-up and you realise you haven’t done a vegan food shop. A Veganuary meal plan will make things so much easier.
Solution: Get online and have a look at some recipes to give you an idea of what you can make. Follow @bestofvegan on Instagram, peruse The Vegan Society website for inspiration, or take a look at the 5 best vegan recipes on Wild Dish.
Veganuary Day 2:
Armed with a bunch of Veganuary recipes and a robust shopping list, you brave the supermarket – and it quickly becomes clear that you’ve never looked at so many ingredient labels in your life. Do bagels really have to be off limits when following a vegan diet? Sadly, yes.
Solution: Save the hours and the stress – downloading an app like Is It Vegan will help you decipher what’s what in the food aisles.
Veganuary Day 3:
You get fed up of waiting for your copy of Deliciously Ella to arrive, so you head out to dinner. You’re starting to notice that most menus only have one vegan option. Time to start Googling vegan pop-ups…
Solution: Research what’s going on in your area – there are already lots of chain restaurants announcing a more extensive range of vegan options, including Zizis and Wagamamas. Keep an eye out for vegan pop-ups, too – Carluccio’s decided to transform their flagship store into a vegan Italian dream in October, and Temple of Hackney are branching out to bring their vegan fried chicken to the masses.
Veganuary Day 4:
You bought so much veg at the start of the week that it’s all going off too quickly.
Solution: Stock your freezer with nutritious and easy veggies so that you don’t waste your fresh groceries. Strong Roots offer everything from frozen ripened avocado halves to bean and beetroot burgers, and they work with the best producers to source the finest veg. Veganuary made even easier.
Veganuary Day 5:
You’re becoming a bit of a creative culinary whizz if you do say so yourself, and you’ve even dusted off your never-before-used Nutribullet. But as it has only been five days, you still need a tiny bit of guidance (only a bit).
Solution: Invest in some of the best vegan cook books on the market, from Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon, to 15 Minute Vegan by Katy Beskow. You can also book yourself onto a vegan cooking class for more culinary inspiration.
Veganuary Day 6:
It comes to your post-workout porridge and you completely forgot you can’t drizzle honey into it because honey is definitely not part of Veganuary. Now what?
Solution: Use agave nectar instead. The Groovy Food Company offer a 100% natural, organic and naturally fat-free alternative to honey, making it the perfect alternative to your usual dollop of honey.
Veganuary Day 7:
You notice just how many cakes, biscuits and sweets you actually eat in a day now that you’re actively avoiding the non-vegan ones.
Solution: Satisfy your sweet tooth with some vegan treats instead. You don’t have to trek to your nearest Whole Foods, either. From Fox’s Party Rings, to most McVities biscuits, you can have your sweets and eat them. Oh, and invest in the Pineapple flavoured sweets from Jamie Laing’s Candy Kittens range. They’re the delicious vegan alternative to Percy Pigs.
Veganuary Day 8:
If you’re not supplementing your B12, you might notice you’re feeling tired, light-headed or short of breath. It’s widely believed that it only appears in meat, so what do you do?
Solution: You can actually find the vitamin in nut milks fortified with B12, like those from Alpro and Oatly. A slathering of Marmite on your toast will also up your dosage without you even having to think about it. Easy.
Veganuary Day 9:
You’re tossing and turning at night and can’t seem to work out why. What’s going on with your body? Aren’t vegans meant to be healthier? What about your sleep health?
Solution: Ditching meat can cause you to have a sudden increase in energy, making it much harder to nod off. Your body will adjust over time, but until it does then try these tricks that show you how to fall asleep fast.
Veganuary Day 10:
Unless you’re doing dry January, you might be feeling ready to get back on the booze after an indulgent December. But wait – before you start sipping on your favourite Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll need to check whether or not it’s vegan.
Solution: For a white wine, try Marks & Spencer’s Altos del Condor Sauvignon Gris, and for a vegan red pick Waitrose’s Cuvée Chasseur. For a full list of vegan alternatives, visit www.barnivore.com to check if your drink contains animal products.
Veganuary Day 11:
Which leads us to a vegan hangover. So long, bacon sandwiches! See you never, pepperoni Dominos! Farewell, cheesey chips.
Solution: But it leads to a life-changing revelation – eating fruit and veg clears up the hangover in half the time. Replenishing your body with sugars from fruit (particularly oranges) gets you back to health in no time, complex carbohydrates can counter low blood sugars, and sweet potatoes will give you a vitamin A boost. So if you’re really gunning for something greasy, help yourself to some sweet potato hash browns. YES.
Veganuary Day 12:
It has taken you a week and a half to realise that Oreos, Co-Op jam doughnuts and all meat flavoured Pringles are accidentally vegan. Win.
Solution: Treat yourself but remember to pace yourself when attacking the vegan junk food. Everything in moderation.
Veganuary Day 13:
You’re missing your post-workout salmon and chive breakfast egg muffins, and the thought of one makes your mouth water. In this instance, there’s only one thing for it…
Solution: Download Gonutss, an app that literally translates your favourite meaty meals into a vegan version with all the products, recipes and ingredients that you need. Sorted.
Veganuary Day 14:
For some reason everyone seems to be eating cheese. Everywhere. At all times. It’s haunting you like the ghost of christmas past, remembering all that camembert you ate over the festive period, and reliving that (delicious) brie coma. Hang on – why did you decide to do Veganuary again?!
Solution: Hold those tears, because after a quick whizz around the supermarket you notice there are tonnes of vegan cheese on offer that you never even noticed before, like Tesco’s Free From range that includes Mature Cheddar and Blue Cheese alternatives. Crisis averted.
Veganuary Day 15:
You’ve been avoiding using protein shakes at the gym because you have no idea where to start when it comes to vegan options. Send help.
Solution: It doesn’t need to be a minefield. We’ve put together the 9 best-tasting protein powders and the 7 best vegan protein bars to keep you going.
Veganuary Day 16:
People start asking you what you would eat if you were stranded on a desert island, because that is so likely to happen that you need to have a plan for when it does.
Solution: Luckily, your handbag is now full of Prana Bars, so you can confidently tell them that you’ll probably be fine, and protein sufficient, thank you very much.
Veganuary Day 17:
You uninvite yourself to the girls’ monthly meet-up at Miller & Carter. No one can sit there oogling the tender 8oz fillet without caving.
Solution: After a frantic Google of ‘steak substitute’, you find out that there’s a whole world of fake steaks out there. Cauliflower, aubergine, umami mushrooms – you’re about to get better acquainted with all of them. Or, suggest swapping restaurants – Veganuary Nandos is genuinely a thing. Hallelujah!
Veganuary Day 18:
When people ask why you’re doing Veganuary and you go on to explain your reasons, you’re very aware of the eyerolls as if you brought it up, and you hear someone mumbling about ‘high horse’. Sigh.
Solution: Explain your point of view, and if they’re not willing to listen then move on and let it go. If someone is genuinely interested, they’ll sit and listen.
Veganuary Day 19:
You’ve reached breaking point. You can’t imagine another day without chocolate spread or mayonnaise, and you’re a woman on the edge. Oh, hang on…
Solution: Ever heard of Mr Organic? It’s about to revolutionise your newly vegan lifestyle with a range of spreads and condiments that are both animal product-free and delicious, from chocolate and hazelnut spread, to vegan mayo. They also offer a range of vegan and organic pasta sauces to make Veganuary even easier.
Veganuary Day 20:
No one told you that going vegan would be more expensive, but somehow it is – even though you’re not spending a fortune on meat. How is this happening?
Solution: While meat and animal products are more expensive than their vegan counterparts – a kilo of chicken is considerably more expensive than a kilo of kidney beans, for example – as you start to become more conscious of your diet, you’ll probably notice you start spending a little more on what you pick up. Farmers markets, going organic – the pennies add up, but can you put a price on your health? Simply put – no.
Veganuary Day 21:
Okay, you admit it – you’ve definitely overdone the vegan falafel, and the last thing you want is another mouthful of chickpeas. It’s time to try something else.
Solution: Say hello to jackfruit. Thanks to its ability to create an incredibly delicious alternative to pulled pork, meatballs and chilli, it has become a staple ingredient in every vegan’s kitchen cupboard, and it’s simple to see why. After three meat-free weeks, you’re going to savour every mouthful of it.
Veganuary Day 22:
Did someone say Veganstagram? Welcome to the world of Veganuary instagram. The community has well and truly taken over your feed, and every day you’re treated to the most delicious, mouth-watering pictures of things you can sink your teeth into.
Solution: Keep following your favourite vegan accounts until one of them likes the picture of your first vegan pot pie.
Veganuary Day 23:
So much for vegans having great skin and hair – you’ve completely broken out and yet you haven’t eaten a single chicken nugget. What’s going on?
Solution: The first few weeks of switching to a vegan diet could cause your skin to get a little spotty, particularly if you’re supplementing B12, but it’s only temporary. Keep up your regular skincare regime, and once your body has levelled out without meat it will become as radiant as all your vegan friends promised it would. Honest.
Veganuary Day 24:
You start to panic about whether or not you’re ‘doing it right’. Did I check the label on that jar of ragu? Should I feel more energetic by now? When will my craving for a cheese and bacon burger subside?
Solution: There’s no such thing as ‘doing it right’, just do your best to make dietary decisions that eliminate animal products. Some people boast of all the health benefits kicking in pretty much instantly – but it’s not the case for everyone. Relax. You’re doing great.
Veganuary Day 25:
Veganuary myths are beginning to get very annoying. You’re already sick of hearing people ask how you get enough protein and it has not even been a month yet.
Solution: You carry around a pack of quinoa to sprinkle on people as soon as they start to ask. (And you promise you’ll never to ask a vegan that question ever again.)
Veganuary Day 26:
Armed with all your new knowledge, you’ll start looking into the day-to-day products you use to check if they’re vegan.
Solution: First stop – your makeup bag. There’s a big difference between cruelty-free and vegan makeup. Products might not be tested on animals, but they may include animal derived ingredients like carmine. It’s also worth noting that while many brands claim to be cruelty-free because they don’t test on animals in the UK, they may be selling their products in countries where animal testing is compulsory. Find out which of your favourite brands are truly vegan with the ultimate guide to cruelty-free makeup.
Veganuary Day 27:
Ahem – you’ve noticed some severe changes going on with your gut, and it’s going from one extreme to the other.
Solution: When you make a big change to your diet, it’s not unusual for your toilet habits to also suffer a drastic shake up. Some new vegans suffer from constipation, while others admit they are making trips to the toilet a little too regularly. Once your body becomes accustomed to the changes it should even out, but it’s also worth checking that your poo isn’t trying to tell you something else.
Veganuary Day 28:
You start to notice that people are convinced you can’t eat anything. If you had a pound for every time someone said, ‘But what do you eat?!’…
Solution: After four weeks of experimenting with every vegan alternative that you can possibly think of, you can confidently say that you eat pretty much everything that your friends do – including ice cream, cheese and chocolate. (They probably won’t believe you though.)
Veganuary Day 29:
Your mum invites you round for Sunday dinner, and your initial reaction is terror because you’re not sure if you’re ready for the unspoken judgement when you bring your own vegan nut roast.
Solution: Go, enjoy yourself, and when no one says anything about it you can do a mini fist pump.
Veganuary Day 30:
You’re almost at the finish line and yet you can’t stop thinking about an eggy brunch.
Solution: Don’t start running for the nearest Breakfast Club just yet. Pop to Holland & Barrett instead and stock up on vegan eggs. Yes, they exist. Yes, they are expensive. But they will also satisfy your hunger when a rogue perfectly poached egg pops up on Instagram.
Veganuary Day 31:
The final day is here, and you’ve made it 31 days without animal products – and you didn’t cry about the lack of bacon once. Go you.
Solution: Treat yourself to some vegan fried chicken or a vegan kebab. You deserve it.
Looking to make your new vegan lifestyle more permanent? Try these 5 Show-Stopping Vegan Recipes and take a look at the 4 Best Vegan Foods To Eat If You’re Trying To Tone Up