For 2022 my aim is to be more environmentally conscious. I mean, I already try to be eco-friendly when I can but I (like many others) could always do better. My first step to the newer, greener me was to sign up for Veganuary. Now, if you don’t know what that is then it is basically following a vegan diet for the entire month of January.
I don’t like to label myself but I am somewhat flexitarian/pescetarian, meaning I eat meat on very rare occasions but do tend to eat fish at least once a week. I try to follow a mainly vegetarian diet and have done so for a number of years now, so for me transitioning to vegan wasn’t going to be so much of a challenge as someone who eats meat regularly. As vegans do not consume any animal products, cutting out dairy was always going to be the trickiest part for me as I consume dairy every day. But with a bit of pre-planning, I decided that 2022 was the year to challenge myself!
It is day 3 of Veganuary and all is going well, so here are some things I have learnt so far…
1. Buy your kitchen essentials in advance
It is helpful to make sure you have vegan alternatives to your fridge essentials in advance. For me, switching to vegan butter-like spread was the first thing I did as I ran out of butter/margarine just before January so picked up a dairy free alternative. To be honest with you, when comparing margarines I can’t even tell the difference. The second thing I did was purchase some dairy free milk. I had already tried and tested a few previously and decided that Barista style oat milk was the one for me and is available from several different brands. Barista oat is great in coffee but I can also recommend Alpro My Cuppa soya milk for tea.
2. Sign up for Veganuary emails
I made the decision to do this early in December so I began receiving the emails then. I actual enjoy the emails because they are quite useful and offer tips and encouragement on your vegan journey. Even if you are considering giving it a go later in the year the veganuary website will prove a handy tool.
3. Plan your meals in advance
Veganism is on the rise meaning that the array of products and recipes out there is much bigger than you may expect! It’s not all tofu and lettuce believe it or not! I am a big fan of pinterest so have a plant-based board where I save nutritional information and recipe ideas. It’s also worth looking in to a few cookbooks if you’re going all in. I can recommend Bosh! and The Hairy Bikers’ Veggie Feasts.
4. Get some B12!
Any good literature encouraging people to turn vegan will all say the same thing – get yourself a B12 supplement. B12 is a vitamin that is only naturally found in foods from animal sources and while some vegan foods such as some cereals and nutritional yeast may be fortified with it, it makes sense to take a daily supplement. I am only speculating here but I imagine those who become unwell from a vegan diet are neglecting this important vitamin.
5. Do your research
Lastly, do your research. There are many products out there that are ‘accidentally vegan’ which means although they are not made specifically for a vegan market, they are infact vegan. Imagine my joy to learn that my favourite biscuits (Jammie Dodgers!) are actually vegan. And yesterday I was browsing the reduced chocolate aisle in Sainsburys and discovered Elizabeth Shaw Mint Crisp chocolate which were also vegan and totally satisfied my post-Christmas After Eight cravings.
On the flip side however, there are products you expect to be vegan that aren’t (I am looking at you Salt & VInegar Pringles!) so its just a case of checking the labels and doing a bit of googling where necessary.
If you’re trying Veganuary this year, leave me a comment below! And if you’re a Vegan veteran then any recommendations will be much appreciated! 🙂