How to Overcome the Challenges of Veganism, and Continue Past Veganuary.
A record 560k people signed up to Veganuary 2021, but as January comes to an end — how many will continue their plant based journey after the 31st? If you’ve faced some challenges during this month, (completely normal!) here is our advice on how to continue your plant based journey past Veganuary.
The first challenge is forgetting why you decided to go vegan or plant based for Veganuary — so its important to remind yourself! Perhaps your motivation was for the health benefits of eating more plants; or for the prevention of climate change. Try to remember what urged you to first make the change.
If you feel better for cutting animal products and eating a diet generally higher in fruits and vegetables, don’t stop feeling this way after January ends!
You saved 30 animals lives by being plant based for 1 month, so if you did Veganuary for the animals, think of how many more you could save by staying plant based. You also saved 33,000 gallons of water and 6000lbs Co2 during the month, so if you did it for the planet think of how much more you could save!
Worried about feeling restricted?
You may worry that you’ll have less choice eating plant based, since most of the offerings in a standard supermarket are non vegan - but think about this! You may usually buy cows milk, but you have the choice of oat, almond, cashew, hazelnut, soya, hemp, pea, coconut, rice — to name just a few!
Here are some more points that might reassure you…
- There are over 387 vegan cheeses available in the UK!
- In 2018, the UK launched more vegan options than any other nation!
- By 2020, every one of the UK top supermarkets had a vegan range.
- There are over 80,000 edible plants.
- Asda is currently trialling a fully vegan butchers.
- In 2019, nearly one in four products launched in the UK carried a vegan claim.
- There are over 152 fully vegan restaurants in London, and over 6,426 restaurants in the UK that cater to vegans and vegetarians!
Are you worried about having restricted options when eating out in restaurants? Thankfully, veganism is becoming more accessible and popular every day, so if a restaurant doesn’t have a suitable option (which most do) they will most likely be able to ‘veganise’ something for you. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Experiencing peer pressure?
You may have experienced comments like “why can’t you just eat what we’re eating?” or “I just can’t understand why.” These comments probably come from a lack of understanding from the other party, rather than carrying ill intentions (in most cases). It will get easier with time to handle peer pressure. What might help in the meantime is cooking for family and friends, or watching vegan documentaries and films with them, to help them to understand your perspective.
Need more information/support?
There is so much plant based and vegan content available to us — making use of it can really help and encourage you on your plant based journey. Watch documentaries and films (you can read our top 10 here), and follow accounts on social media that inspire and encourage you!
Whether it be vegan recipe creators like Rachel Ama, Avant Garde Vegan, Deliciously Ella or animal rights activists like Earthling Ed, surrounding yourself with like-minded content that will underpin your plant based lifestyle will really help! Youtube is also a really useful platform for recipe videos, and following vegan creators can help inspire you too.
Joining vegan forums and Facebook groups is a really great way to feel part of a community, and they can be really good for advice, tips and recipes.
Apps like Plantli, can help you with both the nutrition side of things, giving you meal recommendations based on the foods you eat and your nutrient levels. Plantli also tracks your individual carbon footprint, so that you can clearly see the positive impact that cutting animal products is having on the environment, and help you stay encouraged.
Viewing Veganism as a diet?
Perhaps you started Veganuary with the intention of becoming healthier — which is completely valid (if you then focus on eating whole foods and not solely relying on vegan junk food) but it is very important not to see veganism as a ‘diet’. Should you do so, it will be much harder to continue to eat plant based, as we all know diets by nature are not permanent.
If you see eating plant based as restrictive and forced, it will be nearly impossible to sustain! Its still important to enjoy vegan treats, try new products and get creative, and eating out as you normally would — enjoy it!