So, you’ve taken on Veganuary or even Veggie January but the month is over, now what?! Should you continue on your vegan journey? Go back to your old ways? Or find a middle ground? Hopefully this article helps you find the right answer for you.
First things first, reflect on your experience.
How did you find Veganuary? What benefits did you feel? What areas did you struggle with? Did you find yourself eating more wholesome fruits and veggies? Tryng new recipes? Or feeling a little low on energy?
Ask yourself, how do you want to move forward?
Do you want to persist with a plant-based diet, adopt a modified version of it, go veggie or even flexitarian? This is, of course, a personal choice, but one thing I want to advocate for is not giving up at the first hurdle. Switching to a plant-based diet, especially overnight, is a huge challenge – especially if you’re under prepared. You might have encountered digestive issues, become gassy or just struggled to cook filling meals. These are all issues that can be overcome with a little persistence and positive thinking.
To help you continue to eat more plants into the future, here are my top 7 tips:
- Supplement. It is essential to supplement on any diet, including a plant-based diet. I recommend consulting a dietician for specified recommendations, but personally I take B12, D3, Iron, Iodine and Omegas.
- Have patience with your digestion. It takes time for your body to adjust to the higher levels of fibre you’re intaking. Personally, it took a few months but it was so worth it. If you want to be more gentle on your bowel try rinsing your beans, building up your portion sizes and cooking them thoroughly to aid digestion, and limiting your quantities of processed vegan meats.
- Find your failsafe recipes. Plant-based eating is easy once you have a repetoir of staple quick and easy meals you can make. I have a whole ebook packed full of simple and delicious vegan meals , but you can also scour the internet and find what works for you. Establish 4-5 weekday dinners which you can fall back on in a pinch and it will make life so much easier!
- Establish a support network. The dream scenario is roping in a friend who will join you on your plant-based journey, but I know this isn’t always possible. Instead, you can try joining vegan facebook groups and communities – many of which share daily recipes and tips. Also, if you don’t have anyone in your personal life who is willing to switch up their diet, just gently ask those around you that they respect your decision to change yours. Let them know why you’re starting a plant-based journey and ask for their support, true friends will be respectful of your choices.
- Download Happy Cow. This worldwide app shows you vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants in your local area, it is an amazing way to find places to eat out when you’re on the go. Why not suggest trying a vegan restaurant to an open-minded friend?
- Accept failure as part of the journey. Animal products sneak into everything, even the most unexpected items. Always check the label, but don’t be upset if you slip up. The world isn’t built to support a plant-based diet so you’re bound to make mistakes. Just pick yourself up and keep on going.
- Remember your why. There is a reason you embarked on a Veganuary journey, whether it was for health, for the planet or for the animals. It is essential to keep reconnecting yourself with why you’re making these changes in order to keep yourself motivated. Read newspaper articles, follow environmental activists, watch plant-based youtube videos. Do what you can to keep yourself inspired.
And last but now least, remember that it isn’t all or nothing. You don’t need to be fully vegan to make a difference. Every plant-based meal is a step in the right direction and supports our planet and the animals. If being plant-based isn’t for you, that’s ok. We don’t need 10% of the population being 100% vegan, we need 100% of the population significantly reducing their animal product consumption. Just do your best.