by Sarah ▪ 08 Jan, 2021
You’d need to have been living a hermit’s existence not to have heard of Veganuary (Veganuary | Home | The Go Vegan 31 Day Challenge) by now – a worldwide non-profit campaign that encourages people to give up all animal products for the month of January. And it’s working: since starting in 2014, more than a million people have tried a plant-based diet for 31 days. But for those of us who love steak frites, or think the best part of any meal is the cheeseboard, how would we even start – and what’s in it for us?
One way to rev up for a challenge is to hear the success stories of others who have taken a similar leap. EAT.PLNT has many inspiring plant journeys to encourage you. Take Hannah who impulsively decided to sign up to Veganuary on New Year’s Eve 2016. Despite being unprepared she said it was ‘way easier’ than she had imagined and that her ‘only regret is not going vegan sooner’. Her advice is to use the power of the internet! ‘Just google your favourite dishes but with the word “vegan” (such as “vegan spag bol”) and I guarantee someone will have made a recipe for it.’ Meanwhile, Rhys became vegan upon watching a documentary. He recommends this to maintain motivation, saying: ‘Educate yourself so you have the impetus behind you to want to keep making that change. When you’re driven by your convictions, it makes it a lot easier to keep on track!’
There are also hundreds of creative plant-based cooks online – fill your feed with their ideas and recipes. The photos alone will have you reaching for your chef’s hat. Some of our favourites are @nora_cooks_vegan_ (easy and accessible) @thelittleblogofvegan (you’ll want to recreate the pictures!) and @earthlinged (inspiring activism).
Alternatively, you may feel you don’t want to leap straight into veganism, but you would like to eat more plant-based meals, or cut out more animal products. That’s great! I’m certainly the same. Sammy suggests taking it slowly. ‘Try replacing one animal product such a milk. Try lots of different plant-based mills until you find one you love and stick with that and then continue with other animal products.’
Even some long-term plant-based eaters advise avoiding cheese for a while. But if (like me!) you can’t see a future without fromage, don’t despair. The 10th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational was won by a non-dairy cheese, and there are some great options (Emma suggests Applewood’s Smoked Vegan cheese).
You may, however, discover that the opposite tack works better – that finding a substitute for your go-to meals is what keeps you going at the start. You wouldn’t be alone. Jess advises people to ‘recreate your fave meals because it’ll really help make you feel like you’ve not really changed anything’.
One of the faffs of plant-based cooking can be the prep. There’s no denying it. But slow cookers and batch cooking are your friends. A slow cooker is fab for stews and casseroles – and a surprising amount more besides – the beauty being that you pop in all your ingredients in the morning and come home to the aroma of a hearty plant-based dinner. Batch cooking may involve more slog at the start with all the slicing and dicing, but you’ll have food to go for weeks to come. Check out our blog for advice on how to get started.
Take the pressure off and give yourself a break from the recipe book by stocking your freezer with some delicious plant-based ready meals. With the code PLANTPOWER20 you will receive 20% off and free delivery when you spend £50 or more on our vegan range. This offer even includes our fantastic EAT.PLNT hamper, and is valid until 31 January.
Whether you go the whole hog for 31 days or just try going plant-based once a week, you’re sure to discover some wonderful new flavours, and be doing some good for yourself and the world at the same time. And whether or not you decide to make the change permanent, there’s always room for the odd vegan meal in your life. I’ll be starting with Moroccan Style Chickpea Pie. Good luck!