Veganuary 2020 Tips
First of all, we are half way through Veganuary! If you made it this far, congratulations! You should be very proud of yourself.
If you are just going vegan for Veganuary, beginning your vegan diet for your New Year’s resolution, or you are just a new vegan who’s struggling to stay vegan, this is for you. I’ve been there! Going from a standard American diet to a plant-based diet sounds a lot easier than it is. There are so many things you would never think of being a problem until you actually live it. Even though you will face roadblocks and backlash, the decision to go vegan, vegetarian, or even just to start eating less animal products in general is one of the best decisions you will ever make. Not only are you helping yourself and the people you love, you are saving innocent animals lives, fighting the negative effects on the environment, and contributing to the overall health and well being of all existence.
Here are some tips for wherever you are in your vegan journey.
- Start with the easy stuff. Whatever is easiest for you to cut out of your diet, do that first, and worry about the harder stuff later. Once you get a hang of the easy stuff, the harder stuff may not seem that hard anymore.
- Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Join the vegan and vegetarian Facebook groups. “Like” the pages. Go to vegan events near you like Vegfest. Find out who is vegan at your job or school or wherever you go. It will always help to know that there are other people who are doing the same thing you are.
- When you find your vegan tribe, reach out to them! Ask them questions, steal their recipes, or just reach out to talk about something you are having a hard time with. There’s nothing like talking to a vegan about vegan problems.
- Give yourself room for error, because it is more than likely that you will end up eating something that you didn’t realize had animal products in it. For me, it was chips. Why would they put milk in salt and vinegar chips? I don’t know, but they do. So when it happens, brush it off and add it to the ever developing list of things not to eat.
- Drink more water. Take smaller bites. Practice chewing your food more. Sounds weird, but I found that this helps me a lot! I get hungry less often and I don’t eat as much food. This cuts down on the stress of figuring out what to eat and thinking about the food you can’t eat, which helps with some of the cravings.
- Speaking of cravings, you may actually experience this sometimes. Try some meat and cheese substitutes! I’ve been vegan for 4 years and I still get cravings. It does get better, though. When I first went vegan, I was eating a lot of meat substitutes, but over time, I was able to eat less mock meat and control my cravings more.
- Having stomach pains and headaches? You may be experiencing some withdrawal symptoms, especially if you stopped eating meat and dairy cold Tofurky. Crazy, right? It makes sense when you think about it, though. Especially because there is so much crap added to animal products, like hormones, preservatives, dye, excess sugar and salt. It can be like a drug. Try a detox or cleanse to help your body get past it. You can do it!
- Whatever you do, just keep trying! Try again and again and again. If you only go vegan for the month of January, that’s more than nothing. Keep doing it! Some people might make you feel like what you are doing doesn’t matter, but it does! If you give in to your cravings, so what! Try again the next day and the next day.
- Don’t let what people say discourage you. You can ask any vegan or vegetarian, and I’m sure we all have at least one story of something someone said that was hurtful or just plain stupid. You will be asked who, what, when, where, why, and how, but you don’t have to validate your beliefs to anyone. After so many times of feeling not good enough, I’ve resulted to the label of “transitioning” after being criticized about something I have eaten. It shuts them up.
- The most important tip, in my opinion, is to not be hard on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for eating the non-vegan meal someone prepared for you. Don’t beat yourself up for not being the healthiest vegan alive. Don’t beat yourself up for losing your cool in a heated debate about animal rights. Don’t beat yourself up for not being where you want to be in your vegan/plant-based lifestyle journey. Remember you are making a difference right where you are, no matter what anyone thinks.
I really hope these tips help whoever is reading this. These are all from my own personal experiences and things I wish someone would have told me when I first started. Going vegan is easy, but staying vegan is hard, and it can get overwhelming the more you learn about it. That’s because it’s so much more than just what you are eating. It is a movement. We aren’t just helping out. We are changing the world! Whatever you do is important. We can make a difference if we stick together and help each other become the best conscious eaters we can be. Stay strong for Veganuary 2020 and beyond!