Umm-ing and ahh-ing over whether to give Veganuary a go this year? Maybe you’ve already started and have hit your first hurdle? Taking on any kind of challenge can be pretty daunting, so Boundless Activated Snacking is here to make it one step easier!
Without further ado, here are our top 5 tips for surviving Veganuary:
1) The Struggle Is Real: Sleep & Supplements
Switching up your diet can feel intense mentally & physically, especially if you’ve not been weaning off dairy or transitioning into plant-based substitutes. You’ll probably experience all kinds of crazy changes, and initial symptoms may include headaches, fatigue and breakouts.
Be kind to your body (you’re doing something pretty epic!) and allow extra rest, naps and perhaps an hour longer in bed to help you transition. You’ll soon find that when you fully adjust, you’ll have more energy than ever!
Despite what the internet may have to say, more is definitely not more when it comes to supplements, so don’t feel like you need to head out & raid Boots’ shelves. We’d recommend looking into Omega 3 and Vitamin D. Omega 3 fats are known as “essential fats” – ie our body doesn’t produce them by itself, so we’ve got to incorporate them into our diets. Omega 3 fats are great for joint health, heart health and brain health – quite important we’d say! Although you can obtain small doses of these from vegan friendly foods like flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts, the levels they hold are pretty low, so you might want to consider supplementing during this month.
Vitamin D is something all Brits should be taking, especially during the winter months, to meet our daily requirements. However, a lot of own brand versions aren’t vegan as they contain sheep’s wool. Try a quick google search and make sure to check the back of packets to make sure you don’t miss out on this vital nutrient in January. With both of these, dosage is key; contact your GP to find out what’s right for you before skipping off to the shops.
Contrary to common belief, it’s really not that difficult to get protein into a vegan diet, partly due to the incredible offerings we have nowadays. To tackle this one, you need to let go of expectations of eating 100s of grams of protein a day (unrealistic and unnecessary), and try incorporating some of the following into your meals:
Tofu –Raw tofu contains about 8 grams of protein per 100g, and can be found pretty much everywhere. The tip with this one is to really season it well – if you don’t, it can taste kinda bland. More of a pro than a con, as its neutral taste means you can make it taste like anything. We love wok-frying tofu in a spicy stir fry, or coating it with our activated nuts and seeds to make DIY veggie nuggets!
Tempeh –Think of Tempeh as Tofu’s cousin: not quite as famous, but just as mighty. It’s also a fermented product, so great for gut health! Per 100g you’re looking at almost 20g of protein – we’re on to a winner here.
Chickpeas –There’s a reason why these little things are such a vegan cupboard staple. Falafel, hummus, curries, roasted with sugar and cinnamon – there’s nothing you can’t do with them! (Top tip – save the liquid from your tin of chickpeas rather than throwing it away to act as an egg replacement in baking. No more missing out!)
Nuts & Seeds –we’re all about diversity when it comes to plant-based eating, and nuts & seeds are a perfect example of this. Packed with protein, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fibre, there’s literally no reason not to be getting them into your diet. We love topping meals with our activated nuts & seeds for an extra crunch, adding them to granola for the nutritional benefits, or snacking on them solo.
3) Treat Yourself!
What you’ll probably find is that being vegan is cheap on the whole. Especially if you’re following a whole foods diet with lots of fruits, veg and grains, your food bills should hopefully drop! So what better to do with some of your extra pennies than treat yourself?!
If this is your first year doing Veganuary, then you’ve chosen a good one, because for every snack or meal you’ve ever loved, you’ll be able to find an alternative in supermarkets! So many of the big brands have made their products “accidentally” and universally vegan due to growing demand, as well as the abundance of innovative start-ups that are paving the way with their VG snacks. In the unlikely event that you can’t find what you want in store, we can almost guarantee someone somewhere online has made a vegan recipe for it. The world is your (plant-based) oyster!
Finding alternatives to foods you love will also make the month easier, acting as a bit of a safety net. If you don’t feel like you’re missing out, you’ll be much less likely to give up on these next 4 weeks.
4) Get Social
Chances are most of you have Facebook and Instagram, which is a great start, because these two will become your best friends for Veganuary. Joining national and local food groups and so helpful for tips and tricks.
We love pages like AccidentallyVeganUKand VeganFood UKto find out what the latest in store listings are, and a simple Facebook search will find you sooo many vegan groups to join and steal recipes from. More than anything, they’re a great place to chat to people who’ve been doing this for a while, as well as to meet people in the same boat as you. No question is stupid, so ask away and get involved. Moral support is invaluable!
5) Be Good To Your Gut
It wouldn’t be a Boundless Activated Snacking post without mentioning gut health. As we mentioned earlier, your body may have a bit of a shock when all of a sudden your diet does a 180. Pair that with the winter months and a global pandemic, and you’ve put yourself in a bit of a crazy situation. Try your best to feed your gut the best way you can: we’re not saying you can’t eat what you want, but try and boost the nutrients you’re intaking, with a variety of fruits and veggies (pretty easy on a vegan diet anyway).
By upping your intake of dietary fibre, you’ll keep your gut bacteria and immune system happy. Insoluble fibre is fibre which is harder to digest. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but actually it’s the type of fibre our bacteria uses for energy. You can find this in foods such as wholegrains, vegetable skins, nuts and seeds.
If your budget stretches to it, fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir and sauerkraut are also great for optimal gut health. You’ll often find larger jars in international stores at a very reasonable price.
Above all, have fun with it! It’s 4 weeks of your life to experience something new, do your bit for the planet and get creative in the kitchen. You never know what it might lead to!
A huge thank you to Olivia and the team at Boundless for this amazing post. Check out Boundless here to learn more about their amazing products.