So you signed up to Veganuary – now what?! 😱 You have no clue what to buy in the supermarket or where to grab your lunch next Wednesday. Have no fear! Although you have very good tips in the official website, here are my personal ones:
1. Replace your normal meals. Instead of trying to completely switch your meals, start by eating what you would normally eat, but “veganised”. Have a veggie burger. Eat that vegan sushi. By adapting those recipes you are already familiar with, you will automatically learn more about vegan cooking and ways to replace meat, eggs and dairy.
2. Start small. Looking for vegan recipes online can be a bit overwhelming. Just focus on one ingredient you fancy and start trying simple meals that you can incorporate any given day. Don’t start too fancy or overcomplicated!
3. Go easy on the meat replacements. Don’t let item 1 take you to a life of fake chickn nuggets and processed foods. Try to eat as many whole foods as you can.
4. Go easy on the carbs, too. This is a typical new veggie mistake – eating pasta 24/7. I know it’s yummy and I’m half italian and could easily just have pasta everyday, but we all know that wouldn’t be a wise choice.
5. Don’t obsess about protein. People never worry about protein until they go vegan. The truth is, in the western world it would be very unlikely for you to have a protein deficit. Just try to include some protein in every meal as much as you can and you will be more than fine. You can have chickpeas, a million kinds of beans, peas,lentils, quinoa, and I could go on and on…That being said, try to make sure your dishes include some kind of protein source as much as possible or you will otherwise feel hungry later on!
6. Take a B12 supplement. This is the only nutrient that is harder to get whilst following a vegan diet, and the simplest and most effective way to cover it is by taking a supplement and forgetting about it.
7. Perfect is the enemy of good. Follow Voltaire’s advice on this and don’t be too hard on yourself. It is much more important to focus on your habits than on what you do every now and then. Don’t go crazy as there is no point on taking it as a challenge only to then eat all the meat in the world in February (which I really really hope you don’t do).
8. A whole new world. And from Voltaire we go to Aladdin. Don’t focus on the things “you will no longer eat”. There are so many foods I’m sure you haven’t ever tried that you would be so surprised to try and love! I still keep on finding new ingredients or preparations that I absolutely love and can’t believe I hadn’t tried before. Play with it! You’ll be a kid again trying flavours for the first time.
9. Check the menu first. Eating out will be THE big challenge. Don’t panic and try to do some research in advance so you get to choose wisely. There are more and more restaurants that include a vegan or veggie option, and many times they will be have to accommodate your needs. If everything else fails remember: you’ll always have fries.
10. You don’t have to become a nutritionist. Neither you have to attend every fight you are invited to 💅. People will ask many questions. Some will even get annoying or offensive. Please don’t become a vegan preacher. Just live and let live, make your own decisions and kindly ask everyone else to respect yours; even if that means you’ll have to agree to disagree.
Let me know your Veganuary experience on the comments below!