Monday, 1 January 2018

The Beginning Of Veganuary - Top Tips!

We all know my journey with veganism has been a up and down one, the blog post all about why is coming on Wednesday!!! But today I'm here now to show you how you can start to make a change starting today!! If you've never heard of 'veganuary' the title is pretty much self explanatory. Whether you are wanting to try veganism, wanting to transfer, are currently vegetarian, maybe you love a challenge, possibly want to reduce to your meat and dairy intake or even just want to try out some new foods...

 Now is ya chance!

You can join the veganuary tradition where you'll go vegan for 31 days. Meaning no meat, dairy or eggs for the whole of January which I know to a lot of people is a great, almighty scare... 

'What will I eat?!' Is more than likely the question running through your mind, especially if you've never even taken a step into veganism.So, lets get one thing straight, it isn't anywhere near as hard as you're thinking! I find most people actually over complicate veganism leading to not wanting to try it at all. 

But why should I? There are so many reasons for one to go vegan and I think although similar everyone has their own story to tell. The love of animals which I think it the big one for many, preventing their suffering and fighting for their right to live. Health is also another big factor when it comes to people turning to veganism as it can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduce to risk of diabetes and disease. Going vegan is also a brilliant and effective way to help save the environment and the planet, it helps reduce pollution and GHG emissions, helps save water, energy and wildlife! If you want to know more, check out the official Veganuary website where it goes it to full detail and also has plenty of resources to help you get started such as recipes, eating out and shopping lists.

But I wanted to give you a personal experience and things I'd wish I had known, so here are my top tips into how to help you on your vegan journey and can still eat cake!!! Shocker!! 

1. Use recipe books/blogs/websites! Do not underestimate the power of recipe books! When I first started trying out vegan foods, recipe books were my saviour. Along with vegan websites and blogs with plenty of vegan recipes! My favourite and easiest to follow when I first started was 100% Deliciously Ella, I got her books, app and followed her blog recipes. She not only showed me how delicious and easy vegan food can be but also how you can make nutritious, healthy food taste amazing. Some of my other favourites are Naturally Sassy, Livias Kitchen (great for those with a sweet tooth), The Happy Pear, Aine Carlin (her book The New Vegan is great for anyone starting out!)

2. You can get enough protein! Most people actually don't need as much protein as they realise, the average person only needs around 0.8 - 1g of protein per lb of body weight. Trust me when I say you can get enough protein through vegan, plant based foods! Good sources of vegan protein include tofu, legumes and beans such as lentils, chickpeas, kidney peas, edamame, hummus, nuts and nut butters, and whole grains such as quinoa. Another good source of protein and Vitamin B12 (important in a vegan diet due to it usually coming from read meat) is nutritional yeast which is a flaky substance with a cheesy taste. Nutritional yeast is great for sprinkling over food such as pasta, adding to soups or stews or adding to sauces and dressings. 

3. Accidental products! There are so so many accidental vegan products in the shops which are not actually labelled vegan. In fact most of when you're eating and some of your favourite things in your regular super market are actually vegan such as oreos, skittle and pringles. Yep you can get vegan junk food kiddies. Check out the full list here! 

4. Educate yourself! There is so much more to Veganism than just a diet change, the best thing you can do is educate yourself a little (especially when you get people asking why!) Take a look on sites such as The Vegan Society and Veganuary which provide endless information, recipes and myth busting articles. By going that extra mile to read up of the facts and why gives you a easier push into the foundations.  

5. Veganise your favourite meals! I feel like this is essential, making your favourite meals, home comforts and treats Vegan. It makes you realise you really don't have to miss out at all! One of my favourite meals is by far chilli which I found was one of the easiest meals to veganise by using mixed beans, chopped tomatoes, veggies and spices. Just take your favourite things and find out what it is you need to substitute and change! And yes you CAN have cake, there are so many amazing recipes you can find online such as chocolate peanut butter cake , Vegan jaffa cakes  or easy vegan cheesecake. 

6. Stock up on essentials! Look at what you've already got lying around in your fridge and cupboards. Switch your milk and yogurts for non-dairy alternatives such as almond, coconut or soy.  You can also find plenty of soy based alternatives to staples such as mayonnaise. If you're looking for frozen, you can find staples such as Linda McCartney sausages/burgers and dishes from Amy's Kitchen. When it comes to cupboards stock up on tins of legumes and beans and grains such as quinoa and rice which are handy for bases of meals. Along with plenty of herbs and spices to provide your food with plenty of flavour! 

7. You'll mess up - it's okay! It is perfectly fine to slip up, or accidentally  have something you thought was vegan but isn't. It'll happen but it's not a failure, don't get really worked up about it. Just keep going, feeling good and loving what you do!