Veganuary is back for its seventh year! There’s no denying that veganism is a rapidly growing movement. Back in Veganuary 2014 (the first-ever!), 3,300 people signed up to take part, only for 250,000 people to take part 6 years later in 2019!
Confession: I never actually did Veganuary. In 2016 I made the sudden decision that I wanted to go vegan. Before this, I had been eating meat my whole life. I never even had a vegetarian phase! After talking to some friends at the time who were already vegan, I was made aware of the hypocrisies and contradictions regarding my attitude to animals. I went vegetarian for about a month, and then completely vegan at the start of November. Last November 1st, it was my 3rd veganniversary!
If trends are anything to go by, Veganuary 2020 is going to be the biggest year yet. However, participating in Veganuary and actually going vegan are two different things. Hopefully, this blog post will provide some useful tips to make that transition easier.
The best thing you can do to ensure you stay vegan is to prepare. Think about foods you previously liked, the environment you live in, and most importantly, why you’re going vegan.
Consider what animal-based food is going to be the hardest thing to give up. Find that thing and research your vegan alternatives. You can go to the supermarket and look at what alternatives you can buy outright, or you can look online for recipes on how to make your own.
It’s a common misconception among non-vegans that vegan food is bland and we can only eat vegetables, but it’s simply not true! In fact, a lot of foods that non-vegans eat is vegan-friendly. Here’s a list of some of those things:
You’ll notice when you’re vegan that some supermarkets are better at catering for vegans than others. My personal favourite places to buy meat-free alternatives are Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, and Tesco. Iceland has a huge vegan range of frozen foods. Ocado, Waitrose, and M&S are also all great but can be more pricey. The only supermarket I’d advise you to avoid is Asda – although they do sell some vegan alternatives, their stock is usually limited.
If you’re only just going vegan in 2020, you have a huge advantage over previous years due to the fact that most fast food places and restaurants serve a variety of vegan food. For ease, here’s a very small list of places you can eat at:
Also, I highly recommend you look around your area for small vegan cafes and restaurants. If you live in the city, there’s likely to be a lot. As they’re typically owned by vegans, they know exactly what vegans want to eat!
As for your environment, consider where you live and how accessible vegan alternatives are. If you live in a city or large town, you will have much wider access to vegan foods compared to someone who lives in a small village or countryside.
It’s also important to consider how the people you are closest with will react. It’s very important to plan how you will navigate situations if the people around you don’t like the choice you’ve made. Best case scenario, your family and friends have no problem with you going vegan, and may even want to try some vegan meals with you. Worst case scenario, your friends and family may be totally against veganism and will do whatever they can to stop you from doing it. If your situation is closer to the latter, this will definitely make things more challenging.
It can be hard not to conform to peer pressure. Vegans are still an easy target, and you will find that people, especially in groups, will go straight in to attack even if unprovoked. Prepare to be questioned, and not from a place of genuine curiosity.
Non-vegans like to think they can catch you out and will try to tell you things like ‘plants are living things too’, and ‘small animals are killed accidentally during cultivation of plants so you can’t actually be vegan’. My advice for these kinds of events would be to literally just ignore it, or tell the person attacking that you didn’t ask. In these situations, they’re looking for a rise out of you – they’ll jab and jab until you snap so they can say, ‘Look, everyone! I told you that vegans are aggressive!’. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
Lastly, think about why you’re doing this. Is it for the animals, for the environment, or for your health? Whatever it may be, focus on that thing when you find yourself struggling. A lot of long-term vegans like to throw violent documentaries at new vegans and non-vegans, but personally I think it’s a little tone-deaf. It may work for some people, but all most people really need are some tips or reassurance. I’ve never been able to watch a pro-vegan documentary because I find them too upsetting, and if someone had ever shown me a documentary like that, it wouldn’t have done much for me other than make me cry (lol).
It really helps to be around a lot of like-minded people. If you don’t know any vegans in real life, I’d suggest following a lot of vegan accounts on Instagram and Twitter – they’re very easy to find. Also, join vegan groups on Facebook, and follow vegan bloggers and YouTubers. From doing this you will find so many more tips than I can cram into this blog post, and you’ll find that loads of new vegans struggle to find their footing too. Luckily, these groups are also full of long-term vegans that are more than happy to provide help and reassurance to those who need it. It’s an incredibly valuable resource!
Please do share your reasons for participating in Veganuary this year in the comments! Share your social channels and connect with other like-minded people. There are so many more tips to share than I have included above but this post would be so long if I kept going.
I hope you’re all having a great Veganuary so far, and that you will be back for more posts in the future. If you want to read more lifestyle-related posts, click here.
Love, Flossie ♡