Today marks the end of Veganuary (challenge to eat vegan for a month) and you might want to try it permanently, but don’t know where to start. The routine and everyday convenience of consuming meat and dairy might make a permanent change seem a bit daunting.

But if you’ve tried it for a month you’ve probably found some new favourite products and veganised your favourite meals. Plant-based alternatives mean you can cook the same things you did before just with some kinder and healthier ingredients. And eating out is easier than ever as most restaurants offer vegan options – so you don’t have to miss out.

Nearly 500,000 people did Veganuary in 2021, a figure expected to double this year.

One of the most common reasons that vegans lapse is when they go out and want a kebab or burger to soak up the alcohol. But vegan junk food exists and some restaurants are devoted to it (What The Pitta, Temple Of Seitan etc). Chains like Burger King and McDonald’s are also jumping on the vegan bandwagon, introducing more and more new vegan items.

Veganuary Mcdonalds McPlant Burger made in partnership with Beyond Meat. Vegan approved.

It’s a common misconception that veganism is expensive but plant-based diets are often cheaper than meat-based diets. Some of the cheapest & nutritious food cupboard staples are pasta, lentils, chickpeas, beans and rice. That’s not to say you have to live on those 24/7 and can’t add other things to your diet.

Do good after Veganuary

Remembering why you chose to try Veganuary should help you stay on track if you continue. Considering the climate crisis and animal welfare gives you a drive that makes cravings seem insignificant.

So next time you reach for a burger, remind yourself to choose the vegan option at McDonald’s – this decision can positively impact your carbon footprint. No single meal can save the planet of course, but a vegan one wastes fewer precious resources than meat. If we collectively make that choice then maybe we can start to undo the negative effects of climate change.

Veganuary in numbers. 100000 participants since 2014, 192 countries around the world, 1200 new vegan products were launched for veganuary 2020, 98% would recommend veganaury to a friend, more than 600  businesses took part in veganuary 2020.

Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.

The Vegan Society

Give yourself a break

I cannot stress enough that it’s ok to slip up/accidentally buy something with dairy in it, cut yourself some slack. We’ve all been there and nobody is perfect all the time. Recognise your amazing efforts so far and don’t shame yourself – just learn from it and start again tomorrow.

And If you feel like you can’t go vegan right now, but are happy to do meat-free Mondays, then take that small step – It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. There’s no shame in not being able to go cold turkey, many people ease into it to make the transition easier. We’re all human after all and doing our best for the animals and the planet.

 

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