bowl of vegan food

It’s finally January, the time of the year when everyone starts their New Year’s resolutions, sets goals that they want to meet, and generally tries to be a “better” / more “well rounded” person. (Whatever that means..!) It’s not unusual that January is also the month for trying new diets. Whether it’s to help lose the insulation you put on over Christmas, to give your body a food detox or to start a healthier lifestyle, there are lots of reasons why we change our diets at the start of the year. This year, more people than ever are trying Veganuary.

Veganuary for dummies

With the festive season now over and the New Years hangovers drawing to a close, thousands of people are committing toVeganuary. For the whole of January, they will try to live on a plant-based diet. Since it started five years ago, Veganuary has attracted more and more new people every year. And why not? Following a vegan diet and lifestyle is the single best way to significantly decrease your impact on the environment. Veganism also has loads of health benefits as it is based on consuming plenty of plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits and grains. Interested? Go on, it’s only a month!

How to go vegan: Our tips for success

It’s easy to say “go vegan” but, in reality, it can be difficult to know where to start. To provide you with a little support and gentle encouragement, we’ve put together some more helpful tips for making the transition.

Do your research

Any dramatic change in your diet can seem overwhelming at first. This is why preparation is the key to acing veganism. Instead of heading straight to the supermarket and standing in the free-from aisle looking bemused, do your background reading beforehand.Research how to make some of your go-to dishes vegan-friendly so you can still have meals that you know and love. This could be as simple as swapping out cheese for plant-based alternatives.

You can also explore some fun and tasty vegan recipes you may want to try out that have easy substitutes to get you started. Dishes that use beans, soy foods and grains will be high in protein, while stocking up on your veggies and pulses help to make delicious, filling meals.

Get Experimental

Becoming vegan does not mean having a boring palate. In fact, quite the opposite is true. By embracing veganism, you can actually be motivated to be more experimental with food. You’d be surprised how many cuisines around the world are traditionally plant-based, meaning that there are plenty of recipes to integrate into your new diet. There is no time like the present to stock up your spice rack, explore new dishes and try out different flavour combos. This way, Veganuary can make you a culinary wizard as well as living a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle. That’s a win-win to us!

Become the tofu guru

Ah, protein. We all need it, but some believe that it’s hard to get enough on a purely plant-based diet. But all it takes is a little bit of food know-how to pack in the protein without eating meat. Just by throwing in beans, grains, seeds, nuts, and protein-rich veggies like asparagus, cauliflower, and broccoli into your meals, you can easily up the protein in your recipes.

But while these staples are great additions to your diet, for ‘meaty’ substitutions you can’t beat soy foods like tofu. The problem with tofu is there is a knack to cooking it. Done well, tofu dishes can be deliciously mouth-watering. Done badly, and it tastes like your’re chewing on rubber. The secret to becoming a tofu master is to properly prepare the tofu before cooking. Drain the tofu before throwing it in the pan, but don’t forget to marinate it in an aromatic sauce or rub before cooking. Tofu readily absorbs flavours, making it a bit like a blank culinary canvas for you to paint onto. Once your tofu is jam-packed with finger-licking tastiness, cook in a hot pan – not a lukewarm one, a hot pan. Before you know it, you’ll be a tofu expert to the amazement of your friends and family.

Get friendly with the vegan aisle

The vegan food market is much better than it used to be. Gone are the days when finding vegan food products meant driving to the specialised stores that were halfway up a mountain with no phone signal. Over the years, the range and quality of vegan products have expanded a lot. This means that today it is easier than ever to find plant-based substitutes that make turning vegan that much simpler.

Although there are plenty of vegan substitutes that don’t require you to buy vegan-friendly products, knowing what’s out there can be helpful when trying new recipes or for those days when you don’t want to cook from scratch (specifically, Friday evenings). These shortcuts can be lifesavers and make veganism feel that much more doable for newbies.

Get curding

Often, cutting out meat isn’t the biggest problem for most people when they become vegan. It’s the cheese that we miss. Shop-bought vegan cheese made from soy or nuts simply isn’t as satisfying as the real deal. But there is an easy way around this – make your own! Home-made vegan cheese tastes more like authentic cheeses and with plenty of options to choose from, you’ll never go back. From garlic & herb cheese spreads to aged camembert, from creamy ‘goats’ cheese to queso, you are spoilt for choice with which recipe to try first!

Share your journey

When you make any big change in your life, it can feel daunting if you are going through it alone. If your friends and family are not committing to Veganuary with you, find others who are. From local community groups to online forums and , there is plenty of support and advice out there.

At UpCircle, we are proud to fly the vegan flag. As advocates for choosing plant-based skincare, we love it when people experiment with veganism in all areas of their lives. Our luxurious skincare products are cruelty-free and vegan – because being vegan goes beyond the kitchen. To find out more about how to extend veganism to your skincare routine, explore our vegan range or head over to our blog where you’ll find plenty of inspiration.