If you’re someone who likes to kickstart the year with a fresh mindset and new goals, then why not give Veganuary a go?
Veganuary not only switches up our eating habits but encourages us to look after our body and surroundings by making more mindful choices. If going cold turkey for an entire month is a little too rigid for your lifestyle, try incorporating these simple swaps gradually throughout January.
A vegan diet can be one of the most flavoursome and wholesome to exist. Veganism forces you to become more experimental in the kitchen in order to get in all those essential nutrients. It also doesn’t mean that junk food is off the cards! All of your favourite home-cooked meals and comfort foods can be veganised – guaranteed. You just need to do a little more research. If dining out is your thing, the majority of restaurants and well-loved coffee chains have an abundance of vegan options these days. Trust me, vegans can eat a much greater variety of foods than perceived.
The first simple swap you can make is by replacing dairy products: cow’s milk for plant milks (there are so many out there you’re sure to find one you like), Greek yogurt for soy yogurt, butter for plant-based spread. If you’re currently a veggie or pescatarian, then avoiding meat may come as a breeze. Alternatively, if you’re an avid meat eater, there are plenty of mock variations that can help satisfy those cravings. If you opt for more of a plant-based approach (a diet consisting of foods derived from plant sources) then you may need to increase portion sizes to ensure you’re consuming enough calories to fuel your body.
If you decide to continue your vegan journey, supplements are a great addition, especially when cutting out certain food groups. One which is super important is Vitamin B12; only found naturally in foods from animal products, dairy and eggs, making vegan sources limited. Vitamin B12 can also be absorbed from fortified products such as cereal, tofu and soya milk – but you can’t go wrong with an extra vitamin boost.
In order to make this diet sustainable, balance is key. It may require you to put more thought and preparation into what you eat, which isn’t always a bad thing. However, it is still possible to eat vegan on the go – hello Gregg’s sausage roll. Research vegan alternatives and variations of your much-loved meals, and hopefully by the end of the month you will keep some of these swaps in place for the long term.
Say goodbye to fast fashion for the month of January, as the detrimental impacts the industry is having on the planet become even more apparent. It goes without saying that many major online clothing retailers are not vegan nor have vegan ethics. However, this does not mean your online retail therapy comes to a halt. You can find some super-cool vegan fashion brands out there; vintage stores may even become your new best friend.
When it comes to fashion, one simple swap you can make is to invest in basics. If you’re quite the trend enthusiast, this may seem boring, but you really can’t go wrong with staple garments to see you through the A/W to S/S transition. Despite most vegan apparel being on the pricier side, it tends to be curated from high quality and sustainable fabrics. Making the pieces durable, wearable and of course not impacting the environment.
Another top tip is to follow vegan fashion bloggers. This will give you styling inspo and an insight into under the radar vegan clothing brands.
The blurring between cruelty–free, ethical, natural, organic and vegan is very apparent in the beauty sphere. Often creating confusion when it comes down to what brands and products are actually vegan. Cruelty-free implies that the product and ingredients have not been tested on animals but does not always signify that the ingredients or the product are 100% vegan.
To put it simply, there are 5 main culprits that you should avoid when curating your vegan beauty collection:
You might even discover some new vegan beauty faves.
If you have a go-to make-up, skincare or haircare brand, head to their website where you can find all the tea on their company values and specific vegan collections. If they don’t happen to be cruelty free or vegan, use this as an excuse to treat yourself to some fab new beauty products. Sunday Riley, Le Labo and Hourglass are cult classics when it comes to luxury vegan beauty.
Start by swapping those everyday essentials – concealer, mascara, brows, bronzer, lip balm. Or by switching up your base products to vegan brands before transitioning into vegan eyeshadow, eyeliner and lashes. It’s also important to remember that small steps are still positive steps in the right direction. You don’t have to throw away your beauty must-haves overnight. Simply being more aware of the ingredients can encourage you to opt for a vegan brand when your next concealer runs out.
Whether you go vegan for ethical reasons, diet related or simply to see what all the fuss is about, one key element is to educate yourself. What’s the point in taking part in a challenge and make these conscious decisions if you’re not aware of WHY you are doing it and HOW you are helping create positive change?
Documentaries are a brilliant source of information if trolling through the internet or reading books isn’t for you. Netflix and YouTube will be your primary source of entertainment to prep for Veganuary. Finding out the behind the scenes of the farm and fashion industries is bound to give you the urge to go vegan, for at least one month.
If you’re a social media queen then another great motivator is following Vegan Influencers and also regular people who follow a vegan lifestyle and document it on Instagram. Forget the filters, sometimes we all need a bit of real-life content. If I need the drive to continue making vegan choices, popping on Instagram really encourages me to stay on track. The online vegan community is really on the rise, and what an inspiring one to be part of.
Whether you want to hop on the Veganuary movement for a month or convert into a full-blown vegan in 2021, your body, mind and the environment will reap the rewards. Veganism will create more self-awareness around what you put into your body and generally improve your quality of life.
You will feel lighter, healthier and mentally clearer. And if the most you can handle is a ‘Meat Free Monday’ or ‘Wellness Wednesday’, then do it and don’t compare to others.
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