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How to try Veganuary from a Non-Vegan Perspective 

New Year, New Me.

Right, I'll quickly write down 10 goals, achieve them by February and then revert to life before my goals. Does that sound familiar? Well, that's how I see Venguary; easy at first, but hard to keep up with after the end of the month.

Although Veganuary is a great way to start the year and gives non-vegans a taste of being vegan, it's a temporary solution.. The problem is reality; you may commit to Veganuary for one week or two or even the entire month to prove to your mates that you can do it, but it still needs to be remembered for the rest of the year. 

I believe people shouldn't participate in Veganuary but instead commit to a long-term solution. Veganuary feels like an extreme end of the spectrum.. Let's be honest, some of us have built-up connection with the food we love, and a drastic change will be an entirely new way of life.  

Now, I don't agree with eating huge amounts of meat, but it's essential to recognise why being Vegan is more challenging for some than others. So, when I stepped back and acknowledged the struggle, I was keen to look for the 'best approach' to incorporating a vegan diet.

So let's take a step back and find out more about Veganuary...

What is Veganuary what is it?... 

And 'going Vegan' means?

The term veganism dates back many years, but The Vegan Society began in 1944 by Donald Watson and its founding members. However, it is equally important to know that the history of plant-based food does not belong only to Western countries but has been present for thousands of years. Each nation has its unique version of a meat-free diet, with its own history, influences, go-to ingredients, and delicious national dishes. These countries include India, China, Israel and Jamaica. 

Is it different from a plant-based ?

Yes, plant-based means you can still have meat in your diet; it's not necessarily a way of life but a diet focusing on vegetables and fruit. 

Please be aware that two terms are not intended to divide people to compare or think one is 'better' or 'worse'. It's just how groups of people with similar-ish intent title their lifestyle choices. 

So why do people go Vegan?

Animal Welfare Reasons:

Many people adopt Veganism due to concerns about the ethical treatment of animals. Vegans are opposed to the exploitation or harm caused to animals in industries such as animal testing.

Cultural, Religious, Beliefs and Values 

Some people become vegan for cultural or religious reasons; for example, some religious traditions advocate vegetarianism or have specific dietary restrictions that align with a vegan lifestyle. Some examples of religions include Rastfaraism and Buddhism. Additionally, individuals may adopt Veganism as part of a broader commitment to values such as compassion, sustainability, and social justice. 

Health and Well-being:

Overall, it's scientifically proven that plant-based diets are often associated with various health benefits, including lower risks of heart disease, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes. A well-balanced vegan diet can provide essential nutrients while reducing saturated fats and cholesterol.

Environmental Concerns:

Another reason why some individuals choose a vegan lifestyle is because of the environmental impact associated with animal agriculture. The meat and dairy industries contribute significantly to deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, and other environmental issues. Going vegan is one way to reduce their ecological footprint for some individuals. Did you know that '80% of global deforestation is a result of agricultural production,2 which is also the leading cause of habitat destruction? Plus, animal agriculture – livestock and animal feed – is responsible for approximately 60% of food-related climate emissions.'

As we know, increased greenhouse gasses cause temperature. When that happens, it triggers extreme weather and challenges for most people, so reducing meat in everyone's diet is one way to contribute to a better future for us all. 

How to be Vegan-ish

Now the serious stuff is out of the way, let's look at how we can at least try Veganism... We have explored ways to help you ease into incorporating meat-free in your diet in seven steps:

Step 1) Follow other vegans

Firstly, it's good to start following individuals who support the cause. When we flick through our phones, Instagram, X, and TikTok are often the first apps we use—so adding individuals who support a meat-free or vegan lifestyle can help you put it in the forefront of your mind. We've pulled together a few great influencers that will add vegan delights to your feed: 

1) Christina Soteriou is a plant-based chef with easy-to-cook recipes that will help you think about using up your food waste too. 

2) TheLittleLondonVegan - Share the best restaurants and shops in the UK! For all those looking to eat out Vegan

3) Thelittleblogofvegan - Holly is a vegan blogger who creates mouth-watering vegan desserts; definitely follow her when you fancy a sweet treat.

4) Eatsbywill - For vegan recipes with a little spice, head over to Eats by Will, which gives you vegan recipes inspired by Caribbean and African food. 

5) Alessandro Vitale - A renowned gardener who focuses mainly on gardening but offers excellent ways to create plant-based ingredients in the comfort of your own home.

6) Itslizmiu - This blogger creates many Asian-inspired recipes and puts a plant-based twist on them! Itslizium is all fun and creates excellent dishes from her Malaysian and Chinese background. 

7) Vegannews - We love this page for all things vegan, including vegan treats, news reports on vegan-related topics and celebrity vegan news!


Step 2)  Set a realistic goal

The likelihood of you returning to a full-on meat diet after veganuary is highly likely because going from one extreme to another is hard. When we finish, we often want to reward ourselves by returning to the habit we gave up! 

So be realistic, set yourself a target you know you can carry on for over a month and then add more to it. Change gradually. Gradual change can look like this: Incorporate three plant-based meals a week in the first two months, then try one day of plant-based meals, then two days, etc. The idea is that over time, you increase your goal at your pace. 

Step 3) Plan and experiment with different vegan recipes

When we shop, we do it out of habit and the routine of buying the same ingredients and foods. Some of us do create lists and refer to them, but to add alternatives to meat and dairy, you may need to take the time to plan. Firstly, experiment with a few swaps (always start with milk; it's the easiest) 

Cow's Milk - Alternative milk (Oats, Soya, almond, rice milk)

Meat - Quorn, Beyond Meat, Linder McCartney, 

Cheese - Vegan cheese or soya 

Meat textured - Oyster mushrooms and Jackfruit  

Then, create your meals with vegan recipes from influencers or individuals on YouTube. 

Step 4) Shop preloved or non-vegan materials (but avoid plastic)

If you are going to 'try' Veganism, you can also think about how this can be combined with other areas of your life, such as how you treat animals and what you put on your body. For example, instead of purchasing leather clothes, try looking for an alternative such as preloved fashion or non-vegan materials. However, if you do this, ensure the material you choose is not PVC or polyester, which is terrible for the planet!

Step 6) Get a vegan buddy!

Grab a friend to go on the 'vegan' journey with you; when changes happen that feel alien, it's always nice to have someone by your side, whether that's your family, a friend or a colleague there are many benefits including: 

  • Support and Understanding: You can share similar values and beliefs about animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and health.

  • Recipe Sharing and Cooking Together: Start to exchange ideas, recipes, ingredients, and cooking techniques, making your plant-based journey more exciting and varied.

  • Exploring Vegan Restaurants: Having a vegan buddy can make dining out easier, as you can explore and recommend vegan-friendly restaurants together. 

  • Health and Fitness: Veganism is often associated with focusing on health and well-being; therefore, having a friend can encourage fitness goals.

  • Celebrating Milestones: Shared Achievements: Celebrating milestones, whether personal or related to Veganism, becomes more meaningful when you have someone to share the joy and accomplishments with.

If you can't find a 'buddy', create an assistant tool. For example, create a calendar and put it up in areas where you will always view it or add a reminder to your phone encouraging you to plan for a vegan meal.

Step 7) Consistency

As mentioned above, being a hard-core vegan for one month and then reverting to a heavy meat diet is not consistent; it's only a temporary solution. 

To see a change, we must be consistent with our choices. 

Overall, it's your choice to consider a meat-free, vegan, flexitarian, plant-based diet, and however you want to label it, just slowly incorporate it into your daily routine and try to stick to it. 

Remember, all small changes are good, but consistency is how we take it a step further. 

Let us know if you take on a vegan-ish, plant-based-ish diet!

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