Is Veganuary a little like Dry Jan? You drastically change your lifestyle at the start of the year, then as soon as it hits the 1st Feb you’re right back to your old habits. We get it sistas. Sometimes, we put pressure on ourselves to start Jan off on the right foot, setting goals and trying to be the ‘best version of ourselves’. Well, why not make small changes each month so they’re more sustainable?
There are many benefits of eating a plant-based diet. Eating a diet rich in fruits, veggies, wholegrains and legumes can lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. It also helps the health of your gut so you are better able to absorb the nutrients from food that support your immune system and reduce inflammation. Turning to a more plant-based diet can help you feel better both physically and mentally. It is not only good for us, but it also has environmental and ethical benefits. Animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and water pollution. So, eating a plant-based diet can reduce your carbon footprint and help protect the environment. Additionally, choosing plant-based foods instead of animal products can reduce the demand for factory farming, which is often associated with inhumane treatment of animals - let’s do our bit to help.
If you want to make those small changes, here are our 8 tips and tricks to make healthy changes to your diet:
- Meat Free Monday: Try one day per week not eating any meat at all. This is a great way to introduce the idea of eating plant-based. Plus, it’s a great way to get creative in the kitchen too. You’ll force yourself to try new ingredients that you otherwise may not have, and get adventurous with new recipes too. If you’re sick of eating the same things, this one’s for you.
- Think a whole day of meat-free meals is a step too far? Try switching out one meal instead, once you’ve built up a repertoire of your fave plant-based breakfast, lunches and dinners, you’ll be able to do a whole day without even realising!
- Plan your meals in advance: This will help you stay on track and ensure that you have all the necessary ingredients on hand. Sometimes eating meat can be more convenient than anything else. Use the weekend to get yourself set for the week, plant-based meal prep can be just as delicious as the dishes you’re used to.
- Keep your meals fun and exciting by adding some new foods you’ve not tried before: Experiment with different plant-based ingredients to find new favourites.
- Find meat alternatives: There are many plant-based alternatives to meat such as tofu, tempeh, and seitan. You can always use these whilst still following your tried-and tested recipe faves. Simply switch the meat for an alternative, that way, there’s little not to love.
- Make your own meals: Cooking at home gives you more control over the ingredients used and can be a fun and rewarding experience.
- Take the time to educate yourself and learn about nutrition: Make sure you’re getting all the necessary nutrients from a plant-based diet. If you’re trying to eat more plant-based, make sure you keep an eye on your protein intake. You’ll need to reach for high-protein plant sources, like legumes and tofu, to ensure your meals are leaving you satisfied and giving you the right nutrients. Try to kick start the day with a high-protein breakfast, adding two scoops of FS Vegan Protein Blend to your morning oats will give you 20 grams before you’ve even left the house. Plus, it can be easy to reach for highly processed convenient foods that are vegan (we’re talking chips, crips and some meat alternatives), instead of taking the time to prepare and enjoy nourishing, nutrient-dense whole foods - which is actually where the benefits lie.
- Take OFF the pressure: Making a lifestyle change can be challenging, be patient with yourself and don't get discouraged if you slip up. Remember that balance is key and doing what YOU want to do is all that matters.
So ladies, don’t worry about having to change your habit overnight and try and last one whole month. Do it bit by bit, and make one small change each day, week or month - slow and steady!