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Being Vegan Isn’t Just for January: Here’s Why I Chose a Vegan Lifestyle, and Some Tips for Newcomers

As Veganuary 2024 comes to an end- here’s why I chose a vegan diet, some tips for newcomers, and some social media accounts to follow!

veganuary
Illustration by Bobby Werner

Veganism is spreading across the globe, with more people deciding to make sustainable choices regarding their food consumption. As Veganuary 2024 is coming to an end, I decided to share my reasons for choosing a vegan lifestyle. Plus, here are some tips for newcomers.

There has been a fast and sharp rise in number of people turning to veganism. This has not been much of a surprise. More people are becoming aware of the harm that animal produce industries cause, deciding to make changes in their personal lives.

Veganuary has been going on for ten years now since it started in 2014. For a whole month, hundreds of thousands of people around the world give veganism a go for a whole month. People sign up for the challenge for one whole month for no charge and daily support via emails. They are given recipes and tips on how to keep going and develop their ability to maintain a vegan lifestyle.

Find Your “Why”. Credit: Shutterstock/Avigator Fortuner

My journey for adopting a plant-based diet started when I became vegetarian at 16 and went on to becoming vegan a few years later. Eight years of abstaining from eating meat and, eventually, animal products gave me some insights regarding starting your way with veganism. And with the help of our friends on social media- here are a few tips for everyone thinking of giving it a go.

Figure Out Your “Why”

For some, it is their dismay at consuming meat or products that come from animals. Others are influenced more by ideologies regarding climate change and animal rights, whilst, at times, it is just the love of animals that drives people to change their consumption behaviors.

There are many reasons why you may want to commit to a vegan diet, but each person has one or two reasons that are at the core of their choice. What made you make the choice to switch to a vegan lifestyle?

@rasheetajoy talks about this in her TikTok:

@rasheetajoy

4 more easy steps on #youtube link in bio This reason must be deep, not swallow but something very impactful. Weight loss won’t be it, Global warming won’t be it. (Well for some of you maybe) BUT MOST LIKELY, it will be a spiritual awakening no matter what the reason. I can help you find your reason why and get you started! Next group coaching is July 24th. All plant based/ vegan people this is a safe space, what’s your reason why? Comment below 👇🏾 #spiritualawakening #veganforbeginners

♬ 1 Thing (Instrumental) – Amerie

Ease Into It

In the beginning, I cut off meat during weekdays, and on weekends, I still ate meat. By the second weekend, meat wasn’t appealing to me anymore. I continued to slowly take off dairy products, eggs, and everything else.

For most people, making such a big change could be quite overwhelming. That way, your body and mind will get used to your new diet one step at a time. This will make for an easier transition.

Make the transition gradual. This will also help you learn how to provide all the needed nutrients to your body with a vegan diet.

@myveganlady suggests a method of removing one thing at a time and replacing it with something else.

@myveganlady

Reply to @allthebestjess it took me three different tries to go vegan! these tips are what got me to stick to it🌱🌱 #howtogovegan #tipsforyou

♬ original sound – Raquel Lynn

Find The Best, Cheapest Vegan Options Around You For Dining Out

As a student, I am often in university from morning until evening. The best option, in my opinion, is to bring my own lunch with me. But it also happens that I forget or that I am too busy to make my lunch box.

Use Google and apps such as HappyCow to find the best vegan options around you. Find out where you can buy your coffee, what nice treats there are around you, and where there are proper lunches as well.

Familiarizing yourself with the options around your area will guarantee that you are not stuck looking for food when hungry.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

No Feeling Guilty- Be Concious Instead! Credit: Shutterstock/Ariwasabi

This may not be a popular opinion amongst vegans, but sometimes, we slip.

Maybe your grandma just made your favorite non-vegan cookies. Or maybe you are sitting with friends in a restaurant and just can’t resist trying their food.

While there are replacements for most things, it could be difficult to abstain from what you know. Not being too harsh on yourself is important in the sense that it will allow you to bounce back quicker.

You will not feel as if you have failed, and maybe next time- you’ll know how to resist better. You could even look for ways to make or get the things you like! There are vegan alternatives for nearly everything by now!

Use Social Media!

Many food influencers have already turned to TikTok and Instagram to share easy, cheap, approachable recipes. It is no different with veganism!

You honestly do not have to look very hard. Just put “veganuary” into your search engine, or “easy vegan recipes,” and so many results will come up!

Here are some suggestions for you anyway:

@maxlamanna is a glow-waste, vegan cook. His book was voted in 2023 as “World’s Best Vegan Cookbook”. His vegan butter chicken is a great, easy one to try!

@maxlamanna

Butter Chicken, but vegan • the full recipe is on my Instagram #foodhacks #veganrecipes #nowaste #recipesforyou #tiktokrecipes

♬ original sound – Max La Manna
Another account to follow is the amazing @fitgreenmind. Maya creates incredible recipes that are easy and nutritious. For Veganuary 2024, she started a series of 28 vegan recipes, writing grocery lists in her story to help people make them!
@fitgreenmind

VEGANUARY 🌱 Let’s make a deal… you get 28 vegan recipes plus a weekly shopping list (in my story) and in return you try at least one vegan dish a week.😌 How’s in?🤝 – VEGANUAR 🌱 Ich hab einen Deal für euch… ihr kriegt 28 vegane Rezepte plus eine wöchentliche Einkaufsliste (in meiner Story) und im Gegenzug probiert ihr mindestens ein veganes Rezept pro Woche.😌 Wer ist dabei?🤝 #veganrecipes #easyrecipes #easyveganmeals #veganuary

♬ Originalton – Maya Leinenbach

Lastly, @alfiecooks has some great recipes to share. His series “Soup Season” teaches you how to make the best soups. My personal favorite is his peas and mint soup- an absolute stunner!

@alfiecooks_

PEA + MINT SOUP – SOUP SEASON 🫛 Welcome back to SOUP SEASON, my new series, where I show you how to make 10 of the best soups in town. For EPISODE 4, we’re making my PEA + MINT SOUP with a crispy onion topping, which is ready in just 30 minutes 🔥 You can find the full written recipe down below – so let me know if you give it a go in the comments below! And remember, if you like what you see, make sure to follow for more soup season with me 🤩 INGREDIENTS (serves 4) 900g frozen peas 1 potato 1 onion 4 garlic cloves 1 litre vegetable stock 1tbsp miso paste (optional) Large bunch of mint 1 lemon 2tbsp olive oil 2tbsp (vegan) butter Salt Pepper Sugar TO SERVE Crispy onions / shallots (Vegan) cream Smoked paprika Toasted sourdough METHOD 1. Add the oil + butter to a large saucepan over a medium heat. 2. Finely dice the onion, then add to the saucepan once the butter has melted with a large pinch of salt. 3. Peel the potato, chop into small cubes, then add to onions + cook until soft (10-15 minutes) 4. Mince the garlic, add to the pot + fry until fragrant (1 minute). 5. Add 750g peas, the vegetable stock + miso paste. 6. Simmer for 5/10 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. Add a large handful of mint leaves & cover with a lid. 7. Reserve the rest of the peas for garnish – place in a bowl of boiling water for 3 minutes, then into cold water + set aside. 8. Blend the soup until smooth, then place back in the pot + bring to a simmer. Season to taste with a squeeze of lemon juice, then salt, pepper + sugar if needed. 9. To serve, ladle into bowls, top with a swirl of cream, olive oil, a spoonful of peas, crispy shallots + a sprinkle of smoked paprika. 10. Toast + butter your sourdough, then dive on in. #soup #soupseason #peas #peasoup #healthyrecipes #easyrecipes

♬ snowfall – Øneheart & reidenshi

So Now That Veganuary is Over- Why Should You Stay Vegan?

As said before, there is no one right answer. Being vegan is one of the most valuable ways in which you can minimize your carbon footprint as an individual. There are multiple health benefits, and moral benefits, such as reducing harm to animals and the environment.

It is not an easy transition. But there are huge communities on Facebook and free challenges such as Veganuary, all guaranteed to help you in your journey.

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I am an international student in Cardiff University, UK, studying Media, Journalism, and Culture, and a writer in TrillMag! I love reading, writing, climbing and hiking!

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