Veganuary is the perfect opportunity to try a new way of life but can you stay vegan after January is over? A plant-based lifestyle does not have to be daunting. With a little planning and determination it is easy to stay vegan for life. Here are some tips on how to make realistic, long-term changes and keep you on track long after the Veganuary challenge has ended.
Discover Your Vegan “Why”?
Everybody has their reasons for going vegan. Some people go vegan to save animals, while others do it for the environment. And some people go vegan for health reasons. Your reason for trying vegan could be a combination of all of these or something else entirely. Try to focus on your “why” when you have a hard time sticking to your new way of life.
Find Food You Love
If the main reason you are scared to go vegan is that you are worried you will miss your favorite foods, seek out replacements as soon as possible. We are lucky enough to live in a time where there is a vegan substitute for pretty much anything. A similar tasting vegan product likely already exists. The trick is to give it a try. You may be surprised by how much you enjoy some of the vegan products available. If you can’t find the perfect replacement in a local grocery store, most recipes can be easily veganized. So, don’t be afraid to try these products out in your favorite recipes. Break down your old recipes and find vegan substitutes for the animal-based ingredients.
Hunt Out Your Vegan Tribe
Even if none of your friends or family have chosen to join you on your vegan journey, it doesn’t mean you are entirely alone. Social media offers many outlets for those who begin to feel a bit isolated. Seek out like-minded vegans on social media groups or local forums. There are likely local vegan groups in your area that hold events or gatherings. You may find your new best friend.
Try New Recipes
We are lucky enough to live in a time where vegan recipes and substitutes are everywhere. One of the best parts about becoming vegan is expanding your food choices beyond what you usually eat. There are an unlimited amount of vegan recipes available online, or you can buy yourself a vegan cookbook or two. Take the time to research plant-based YouTubers and other social media personalities who focus on vegan foods and recipes. Many of these people have already done the legwork for you. All you have to do is decide which things you’d like to try and follow their lead.
Research The Latest Vegan Products
Do your research, and don’t be afraid to try new things. New vegan products come out every day. Just because you do not like one doesn’t mean you won’t like them all. Give new products a fair shot and you will soon find your favorites.
Eat A Well-Rounded Diet
Contrary to popular belief, vegans consume more than just fruits and vegetables. Many new vegans report feeling weak or hungry when they first try a plant-based diet. Since fruits and vegetables are not as calorie-dense, it is easy for new vegans to under-eat. To avoid this, make sure you have plenty of carbs like rice and potatoes in your diet and lots of nutrient-dense foods like sweet potatoes, beans, nuts, bananas, and dates.
Plan Your Meals
Once you have found some recipes you enjoy, make them in bulk. Set aside a specific day to make a handful of plant-based recipes last for the week. You can utilize your freezer to have a quick meal ready on lazy days. Don’t be afraid to try out pre-made vegan meals from the grocery store freezer, as well. On those days when you don’t feel like cooking or don’t have a lot of time, you’ll be glad you have some acceptable options set aside.
Keep Snacks On Hand
Staying satiated and full on your vegan journey is the key to long-term success. When you transition to a plant-based diet, you may feel hungry faster than usual as your body adjusts to different foods. We are more likely to make better food choices when we aren’t hungry or in a hurry. Having good snack options available will help you stay on track.
Treat Yourself To A Night Out
Many restaurants offer vegan options, and some offer only vegan options. Explore your local restaurants to find some options that you are excited to try. Apps like Happy Cow can help you discover amazing vegan options at local restaurants or when you travel. Most restaurants post their menus online, making it even easier to take your time perusing the menu and deciding if that restaurant has dishes you are interested in trying out.
Involve Friends & Family
Lifestyle changes can feel daunting if they make you feel alienated and different from the people you are closest to. After discovering some delicious new recipes, sharing them with your family and friends can be fun. Host a dinner party, game night, or movie night where you can share some of your new favorites.
Be Kind To Yourself
Nobody is perfect, so give yourself a break. If you accidentally eat something that is not vegan or slip up from time to time, it’s ok. It happens. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just dust yourself off and try again. Diet and lifestyle changes are complex. Take your time, remind yourself of your “why,” and do your best.