Hey guys! With 2018 approaching I thought I would do a post for anyone attempting Veganuary next month. As you guys know, I did a month entirely vegan. Although, unfortunately, I’ve had a few slip ups over Christmas I’m going to be getting right back on it ready for Veganuary (and hopefully the rest of 2018). I thought I would share with you guys some top tips I picked up during my past few months going from a meat eater to following a plant based diet.
Going vegan is a whole lot easier when you know what you’re doing it for and feel passionate about the cause. There are loads of fab documentaries available online looking at health benefits, environmental benefits and the moral/animal argument. After watching these I found my time a lot easier and I am now very motivated to get back into a plant based diet and convert entirely after January is up. I would recommend starting with Earthlings, What the Health and Cowspiracy (all are available online and they make for really informative, even if somewhat difficult, viewing.) Knowing what you are doing make its feel all the more worth while and watching documentaries and following other peoples journeys makes for really compelling viewing and means you’re more likely to stick with it.
Join online groups.
Online groups can be a great way to stay motivated and also share advice and tips along the way. Some of the best recipes and restaurants I have found have come from joining my Universities Vegan/Vegetarian Facebook page. There are even places where you can get your own Vegan Mentor!! (something I haven’t done but I stumbled across during my research for this blog post and thought was really interesting.) Twitter is also a fantastic way to get recipes and tips from people that have been vegan for a long time. I learn a load from these people and I am super grateful for them. I would recommend following @ChloeByTheLock who has done a really good vegan support ‘pack’ on her twitter page, @itsallzara who has a thread with some of her favourite vegan recipes and @vegancouple who also have a YouTube account, which makes for interesting viewing.
Subscribe to YouTubers…
That brings me on to my next top tip, which is subscribe to YouTubers. Some big fitness, vegan YouTubers do great videos that are really informative and relatable. It’s a great way to feel part of the community and keep motivated. @ChloeByTheLock shares some of her favourites in her thread. My main YouTube inspiration is GraceFitUK (it helps that she has an incredible body and such a fun and relatable personality. She is also a student, so fab for if you’re looking to go vegan on a student budget. What I also learnt from Grace and many other big YouTubers out there, was that a vegan diet did not mean sacrificing my muscle growth or strength in my weight training. You can still get everything you need from a plant based diet (I know some vegans will use B12 supplements, which is something I need to look into in more detail) and continue to see results from your training.
Planning my meals in advance was and will be my best friend. I think that is why I have had some slip ups over the past few weeks. I came home and did not prepare for a plant based diet, meaning I ended up eating what was there, rather than what I morally knew was right for me. I am angry at myself for this as being vegan is not a difficult thing to do, honestly I was surprised how easy it was. My slip ups came down to simply being lazy. I find that meal planning and cooking in bulk means you never have to be tempted to pick something up that might not be vegan. It also means that your meals are going to be thought through and balanced, which meant for me that they were often a lot more balanced in a macronutrient sense than food I ate as a meat eater. Here are some of my favourite meals and snacks.
Substitutes are good but not necessary.
Some vegan substitutes are fab, however, they are not necessary so don’t feel you have to go out and pay ridiculous money for vegan parmesan (nothing against vegan parmesan, it’s good, but you get my gist). It is also worth nothing here that not everything that is Quorn or Linda McCartney or other big brands are vegan so you always need to double check and they should say suitable for vegans on them. On the flip side of that, some things are vegan when they don’t state they are. There are sites that have loads of ‘accidentally’ vegan food on them (I’ll put a link down below). If you just check the ingredients and you don’t see allergens (like milk), honey or gelatine then it’s all good. Little gem for you, Bourneville chocolate and Oreos are vegan!
Do it for you.
Vegans get a lot of stick. People don’t get it but remember you’re not doing it for them. Stand your ground with it (something I admit I wish I would have done more and is now my resolution for next year!).
What you’re doing is really great so stick with it!
Some other links that you might find useful:
I wish you the best of luck to everyone doing Veganuary and I will be right there beside you, starting my journey again with the intention of sticking with it for the long term. I will be sharing food pictures (amongst other things) over on my Instagram @jljfitness_ so go and give that a follow so you don’t miss out. I will share more recipes, tips and updates through the month and hopefully for a very long time to come…