2019 has been hailed “The Year Of The Vegan”. First, we had Beyoncé and Jay-Z asking us to go vegan. Then, Greggs launched a vegan sausage roll. We’re signing up for Veganuary in record numbers. Being vegan has never been more popular!
Making more conscious choices about what we eat and how we spend our money is central to making changes that will positively impact our planet. Scientists in September released a warning saying we have 12 years to save the world from climate catastrophe - yikes!
So why not give Veganuary a go?
However, becoming vegan, even temporarily, can be a daunting prospect. So we’ve written a handy guide with key information, easy swaps and things to consider for Veganuary.
Going plant-based can be daunting if you’re unfamiliar with the territory or used to cooking with animal products. Here are some easy swaps:
- Yoghurt: Coconut, soy or almond yoghurt
- Cream: Coconut cream, Oatly (simple cream replacement) – great for curries etc.
- Cheese: Nutritional yeast (parmesan), Cashew cheese (spread replacement)
- Butter: Coconut oil, nut butter
- Tahini: A fantastic source of calcium and so versatile when it comes to cooking – both for savoury and sweet alike! Scroll down to the comments for a recommended brand.
- Milk: Cashew, Oat, Almond, Coconut, Hemp, Soy – endless options
- Mayonnaise: Vegenaise, Hunter & Gather (vegan mayo substitute)
- Meat: Tofu, tempeh, lentils, chickpeas.
- Eggs: For baking use chia or flax eggs (they are a 1:1 substitute)
Deficiencies & Supplements
Securing adequate levels of some vitamins and minerals can be hard on a vegan diet, especially B12 which is only found in animal foods. Consider supplementing with B12, Vitamin D, Iron, Calcium and EPA/DHA (Omega 3s) if you’re considering going veganism for the long-term. Vitamin D is a good one most of the year around given our low exposure to sunlight in the U.K!
More than just what you eat
Living a plant-based lifestyle doesn’t just stop at the food you consume. Thinking more holistically about your purchasing decisions is key to maximising the impact on your health and the planet. Other areas to consider below are:
- Beauty – Are your beauty products vegan? This can go beyond just the use of animal products. For example - were they tested on animals and do they contain ingredients which damage plant and animal life, such as microbeads or palm oil? Look for cruelty-free vegan products made with only natural ingredients in sustainable packaging such as our range of repurposed natural beauty products.
- Clothing – It’s easier to be less ethically-discerning when it comes to our clothing. Kale is trendy but most are not willing to reconsider their suede Chanel handbag or leather Nike trainers. There’s a ton of fantastic alternatives to fast fashion staples such as trainers, handbags and swimwear which don’t impact the planet or break the bank. Look for brand such as Vega, Matt and Nat, Allbirds and MAARÏ porto cervo - or even better, buy vintage!
Use The Gurus
There are fabulous chefs and bloggers all over the web making plant-based living easy with recipes which you can whip up quickly and cost effectively. We’ve picked a couple that really know their tofu from their tempeh:
- Oh She Glows: Vegan Recipes by Angela Liddon
- Green Kitchen Stories » The healthy vegetarian recipe blog
- Deliciously Ella
Most restaurants nowadays have at least one vegetarian or vegan option on the menu with most offering simple substitutes which convert a large proportion of the menu to vegan. A quick google of the menu beforehand should suffice but don’t be afraid to ask for the waiter or waitress to accommodate. Alternatively support an independent vegan eatery such as Wildfood Café, Pickywops, Vantra or Redemption.
Are vegans really the healthiest?
Chips are vegan, ketchup is vegan…yep, deep fried food can still be vegan. Being vegan doesn’t automatically make you healthy or ethically sound. In fact, doing it without awareness could make you sick and end up supporting the very corporations that are destroying our planet in the first place! There are tons of big corporations making low quality vegan products stuffed with fillers, sugars, trans fats and other nasty ingredients.
Work on adding in more vegetable and pulses and try and stick to unpackaged food: not only will you know what is going into your food, you will also avoid all the plastic packaging. With only 27% of the UK getting their 5 a day, we really need to focus on eating plants and increasing our intake of fibre.
Above all, good luck with your Veganuary quest. Let us know how you're getting on in the comments below!
Enjoyed this blog post? Check out our brand new post about why you need to switch into Vegan Skincare next!