New Year’s resolutions are in full swing now, but not everyone sticks to them as rigidly as they’d like.
If this year you’ve decided to try veganism throughout the month of January (aka Veganuary), congratulations and thank you, because you’ve taken up a resolution that not only benefits yourself but also saves the lives of others.
Celebrities like will.i.am, Jermain Defoe and Lewis Hamilton have recently gone vegan, making fans wonder why they chose this compassionate way of living despite having the money to spend on anything they like.
Being vegan can be extremely rewarding when done right – so here are some tips how to make this happiness last beyond Veganuary.
Going vegan is an amazing opportunity to build on what you consider as food and learn new recipes. There are also plenty of ready-made vegan meals available.
Make sure to look into supermarket frozen sections for burgers and sausages; refrigerated sections for lunch on the go and meat alternatives; and snack aisles for a wide range of vegan friendly products.
On your next trip to the supermarket, why not look out for soya milk instead of cow’s milk? There are lots of different non-dairy milk options these days and trying all the different ones is an exciting experiment.
2. Make it easy
There’s a simple and fun shortcut to going vegan – you can just replace the few non-vegan ingredients in your recipes to still enjoy the good old favourites.
You probably don’t realise this, but you actually eat a lot of vegan food already.
There are cruelty-free, delicious alternatives to anything you can think. Becoming a vegan isn't about limiting or depriving yourself so start by replacing animal products; after a couple of weeks it will become as natural as anything.
3. Learn ingredient swapping tricks
Meals can often be easily veganised by removing one or two ingredients, or replacing them with their vegan counterparts.
Some ideas include swapping the cheese on pizza for vegan cheese and topping it with lots of vegetables and olives. Similarly, replace meat, fish or paneer in a curry with chickpeas or lentils.
Dairy-free spread and soya milk can be used to make mashed potatoes creamy. It is also good (along with vegetable fats) for baking, and there are many foods that can replace eggs, including banana, jam, apple sauce and tofu.
Try houmous instead of butter in sandwiches. A lot of ready-made roll-out pastry is accidentally vegan too.
4. Know where to eat out
We are very lucky to live in an era where nearly every pub, café and restaurant offers vegan options.
On the rare occasion where this isn’t explicit, can you spot a menu item that’d be it vegan if it wasn’t for one or two ingredients?
Ask the waiter to swap or eliminate it for you and voila, you’ve created yourself a vegan meal. Don’t forget to check all the side dishes too – some may be real gems.
Travelling or new to the city? Just download the app HappyCow - an online directory of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants, cafés, shops and more.
5. Find help online
There are lots of online forums and Facebook groups to join - it’s a good idea to search Facebook for a local group in your area, e.g. ‘vegan London’.
There are also some great challenges to take and even if you’re already vegan, you can often learn from them.
The Vegan Society’s VeGuide app is free to download and can help you ease into vegan living.
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