Your go-to guide to Veganuary | Lizi’s
Starting the year with Veganuary? Here is our guide for enjoying the month to its fullest.
If ever there was a time to embrace change and adopt positive habits, it is the start of a new year.
That includes a new diet and lifestyle. Many use Veganuary to catapult themselves into a short-term vegan lifestyle, reaping the benefits of a whole-food diet after Christmas indulgence.
If you have decided to take part in Veganuary, here is our advice for doing so.
Take time to research and meal plan
Take some time to think about the type of meals and food that you enjoy eating. To help you develop a mind-set of looking forward to this lifestyle change, create a list of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas. Make a note of new foods you want to try and inspired ways of making vegan versions of your favourite meals.
Breakfast like a (plant-based) king
If you enjoy cereal for breakfast, you have an opportunity to sample a variety of alternative milks such as almond, oat, coconut, rice or hemp. Alongside this, you can grab some extra toppings to sprinkle over your cereal: cacao nibs, desiccated coconut, pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, blueberries or strawberries. With plenty of healthy options to choose from, there is potential to keep things exciting with a new combination for each day of the week.
When it comes to a cooked breakfast, there are plenty of ways to create an indulgent, plant-based start to the day. Liven up smashed avocado on toast with a squeeze of lime, drizzle of chilli oil and sprinkle of pumpkin seeds served on a slice of sourdough or replace scrambled egg with tofu, scrambled with nutritional yeast and soy sauce.
Lots of people who follow a vegan lifestyle choose Lizi’s granola to kick-start their day! It uses black treacle, unlike others that use honey, to bind oats, making it a tasty vegan breakfast.
Lunch and dinners
For meals like lunch and dinners, there are plenty of well-loved meals that can be easily adapted to be vegan friendly with a few clever switches.
Soups provide a hearty, warming lunchtime meal. You could combine filling ingredients such as quinoa, sweet potato, red lentils or butternut squash with creamy coconut milk and aromatic spices like cumin, turmeric and ground coriander and serve with a wholemeal pitta. If spices aren’t your thing, make your own cream of tomato or leek and potato soup, swapping out single cream for soy or oat single ‘cream’ instead.
A vegan lifestyle lends itself well to authentic world cuisines, including Indian, Thai and Mexican.
Snacking and home comforts don’t need to become less exciting or comforting, either. The increase in popularity of the vegan movement means there is a huge variety to try, from vegan smoked cheddar to coconut milk chocolate dessert pots. You might also be surprised at how many popular snacks are already vegan.
Social media, primarily Pinterest and Instagram, will offer you a wealth of vegan meal inspiration.
Unless you are using January to claw back the overspending from Christmas, deciding to embark on Veganuary doesn’t mean you are limited when it comes to ordering a takeaway.
Most independent and chain restaurants now include extensive vegan menus, offering delicious plant-based choices. There are also a range of dedicated vegan and vegetarian eateries across the country to explore, so widen your horizons, treat your taste buds and draw inspiration from the experience.
Don’t rely on ‘meat’ alternatives
You’ve made your shopping list, created a meal plan, and it’s time to jump into a vegan lifestyle! To truly see the benefits of a plant-based diet, it pays off to be strict and cut out all meat alternatives. You may want to use the first week to transition, using plant-based ‘meat’ foods and cheeses – but it doesn’t pay to continue this trend.
These alternative options can be highly processed and ultimately, unhealthy – not to mention expensive. One of the most beneficial elements of a plant-based diet is the abundance of vitamins and minerals you consume from whole foods such as chickpeas, lentils, black beans, nuts and legumes alongside fresh fruit and vegetables.
Many meat alternatives contain a lot of gluten and vegetable oils. Aim for one or two whole-food meals a day, alongside snacks to start taking in the range of vitamins and minerals and increasing your fibre intake.
If you have the occasional slip-up, don’t spend much time worrying – make peace and move on – it’s all a learning curve.
Get acquainted with substitutions
Whether it’s making plant-based meals from scratch or learning to adapt your favourite meals, there are easy ways to substitute with whole-food options.
Grated mushroom or shredded jackfruit provide a meaty texture, while mashed chickpeas can still provide enough bite to resemble tuna in a sandwich. Become creative and learn which flavours and textures work well with your palette!
When it comes to baking, ingredients such as apple sauce, soaked chia seeds and flaxseed can be used in place of staple ingredients.
Consider taking a supplement
Found in meat, B12 is the only essential vitamin that vegetarians and vegans miss out on. A B12 deficiency causes fatigue and digestion problems, so it’s recommended that you supplement a plant-based diet with vitamin B12.
As you transition into Veganuary, you might be relying heavily on meat substitutes rather than incorporating a variety of whole foods and may also want to supplement your diet with a multi-vitamin, taurine or Vitamin K, as well as looking for food fortified with vitamins and minerals.
Reflect on how your body has responded
With any new changes to our diet, it’s important to monitor the way your body responds.
While some of the benefits of a vegan diet include more energy, clearer skin and better sleep, you may find that the intake of gluten and soy-based products may cause some unexpected digestion issues.
The key is to listen to your body and if necessary, keep a diary to track the foods and symptoms.
Explore the community
Once you have become fully immersed in the month of Veganuary, you might want to look for some support or inspiration from the vegan community to keep you going, or to learn more about a vegan lifestyle.
Social media is the perfect place to start. On Instagram alone, there are around 100 million posts using the ‘vegan’ hashtag, while nearly 8 million also use ‘vegan recipes’ hashtag. You will find a variety of individuals, as well as bloggers and influencers documenting their daily meals, challenges and ways to overcome any obstacles they have faced. They’ll also offer up some of their favourite meal options at chain or indie restaurants, so you can look forward to enjoying eating out.
There are also plenty of local vegan groups on Facebook and Meetup, or for a softer introduction, you could look for a vegan cooking course to meet other like-minded individuals.
Armed with the above knowledge, you are now ready to confidently tackle Veganuary! Keep us up to date on your journey through Veganuary on our social media channels, and don’t forget to tag us in your vegan breakfast posts.