Deciding to adopt a vegan lifestyle is one of the most amazing and compassionate thing you can do. Whether your reason for going plant based is for the planet, the animals, your health or a combination of these, a plant based diet is one heck of an achievement!
For most people, going vegan is a really popular New Year’s resolution too. We had a huge insurgent of people joining our plant based pledge, to kickstart their journey into a plant-based lifestyle.
Now if you have just completed a whole month of going vegan in January, you may be asking yourself, “what do I do now, how do I continue without all the support I got in that first month?”
Well, that's why we're here! We want to help you continue the amazing progress you made in January!
Here are our 8 top tips to help you stay vegan after Veganuary - we hope they can inspire you to keep on track with your plant based journey.
(P.S - If you never managed the full month of January don't worry: take little steps and do what you can)
Start by making meals you know
A super helpful tip for continuing your plant based journey is to keep things simple and persist with what you know and love. Going plant based can be challenging with an overload of master-level cuisine recipes available to us. Don't get me wrong, expert level recipes are great but they can often be really intimidating to those of us who are new to eating plant-based.
Start out with easy meals you already know how to cook, and adapt to make them plant-based.
Is your current diet meat-heavy? Switch out for mock meats, and gradually replace those mock meats with tofu, or tempeh.
Maybe you can't get enough of a Mac and Cheese : no problem, switch out the cheese for a vegan substitute!
These might not be the healthiest meals, but they're accessible and are better than the alternative. As you start tointegrate more and more plant based recipes to your pallet, you can start refining your diet and making it as healthy as you want it to be.
Don't think that after one month of going vegan that you need to know all the tricks and how-to's. It’s your own journey, go at your own speed.
Be prepared for your day
This is where a lot of people trip up. Fail to prepare - prepare to fail! If you're going out for the day, try bringing a snack bar or some fruit to keep you going. This way, if you find yourself feeling peckish, make sure you're prepared with healthy vegan snacks, rather than spending time trying to find something around you that you can eat on a plant based diet.
The same thing can be used when you eat out with friends or family. If you know you are planning to go out for a meal, check out the restaurant’s online menu or give them a call to make sure you will be able to enjoy your meal without any awkward thought of figuring out what you can eat. This way you can enjoy your meal and the company you are with.
An even better way is to source a few vegan-friendly restaurants within your area. Find out where some vegan restaurants are around you with a quick google search, that way if you decide to go out for a meal or order takeaway, you can get your favourites efficiently by knowing where to go!
(The website Happy Cow is good for this!)
Join a community
Continuing your plant based journey after Veganuary can be difficult if you're all on your own. By the time February hits, there’s a lot less noise surrounding veganism online, and you can feel a lot less supported.
That is why joining like-minded people in a plant based community can help encourage, motivate and support your new lifestyle.
It can also help you feel connected to others and share experiences of why you went plant based, new recipe ideas and more! You don't have to find people in your area either - if this sounds like something you would be interested in, check out our Vivo Life Community on Facebook!
Learn about essential supplements
Supplementing for certain vitamins and minerals can be a bit confusing on a plant based diet. If you are just starting out, the question, “am I getting all the vitamins I need,” may have crossed your mind - it has most likely crossed everyone’s when starting out!
It's worth noting that everyone should really be taking these supplements - not just vegans.
Here’s a few essentials you can get short of while on a plant based diet and how to supplement for them:
B12 - This vitamin contributes to healthy energy levels, immunity support and brain function which can mainly be found in meat, fish and dairy. However, B12 originates in soil, and is no longer easy to get due to the way we grow and wash our food before consuming it. The only reason animal products have vitamin B12, is because farmers supplement them with it! Cut out the middle man and consume it directly through a vegan B12 supplement, like our Vegan B12 Complex liquid drops.
Omega 3 - A popular one, omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that cannot be produced within our bodies - so we need to consume it in our diet. Omega 3 contributes to a healthy heart, brain, skin and eyes. The most common omega 3 sources are fish and seafood. This is because they eat algae, which contains omega 3! You can find this essential fat in whole foods, like flaxseeds, walnuts and leafy greens or simply take supplement from a Plant Based Omega 3.
Protein - “Vegans lack protein” is definitely one of the more common myths that those on a plant based diet hear from others. Protein does not only come from animal sources, in fact, you can find plant based protein sources in a lot of delicious foods like quinoa, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, spinach - it’s all there!
If you are looking for more protein, try protein powder like our PERFORM protein powder to help bring up your protein intake through shakes and smoothies.
Explore vegan substitutes
Finding new vegan substitutes and meal options have grown over the recent years due to the increase of a plant based diet. You can find vegan ready-made dishes such as plant based pizzas, pastas and burgers in a large variety of supermarkets. This can make the transition to a plant based diet a lot easier for you.
Now, these quick meals may be quite processed, so it is best to consume this type of foods in moderation.
However this can make your plant based journey exciting and adventurous as you will be able to discover what new vegan substitutes you enjoy.
Eating plant-based doesn't need to mean eating 100% healthy, 100% of the time. You can still have a bit of fun!
Learn new recipes
There are thousands of delicious plant based recipes available to us living a vegan lifestyle these days - it’s just figuring out what you like.
Try putting some time aside to find recipes that inspire your creativity and make tasty vegan recipes - they can be as simple as an Almond Butter, Maca and Cinnamon Protein Smoothie or a Creamy High Protein Pasta, both ready in less than 10 minutes!
Surprise yourself and be curious with vegan cooking as there’s loads of delicious plant based ingredients and recipes to choose from.
Remember why you went vegan
This is a journey. Everyone has their own reason for going plant based in the first place. If you find yourself struggling with friends questioning your new lifestyle choice or your missing a specific non-vegan food, return to your why.
Friends and family can be difficult to deal with so check out this blog covering steps you can take to help them understand. If you are missing a certain food, there are so many different brands in this world creating new substitutes - try them out! Think about the original reason which made you begin this journey and power through it - we are all in this together.
Be kind to yourself
Make your new vegan lifestyle simple and remember to be kind to yourself. Most people take some time to adjust to their new plant based diet as this transition usually does not happen overnight (but if you did go vegan overnight, bravo to you). Sometimes the best way to keep your new lifestyle sustainable is by going at a slower speed. That way there is less pressure on yourself, allowing the process to be more enjoyable and sustainable.
Remember to celebrate your monthly milestones too and be compassionate towards yourself. By switching to a plant based diet, you can improve your health and stand up for the planet we live on, so you should be proud of how far you have come. By eating plant based as much as possible, you are making a positive impact on the planet, and everything that lives on it.
Embrace your new lifestyle as much as you can and enjoy every moment. You are doing your part to improve your health, help the planet and save animals too. If you find yourself stuck thinking how you will stay vegan now that veganuary is over, we hope these tips help inspire you to stick with it.
If you need more support and information and how to go plant-based and stay plant-based - check out the Plant Based Pledge.