VEGANUARY 2022 - WAYS TO MEET THE CHALLENGE OF 31 DAYS VEGAN
22 tips for 2022
EXERCISE HEALTH WEIGHT LOSS
You may be thinking of 2022 and what your resolution will be for the year. How about doing Veganuary? Here are some ideas to guide you or maybe you’ve already started and you’re looking for inspiration?
VEGANUARY GUIDE BY SALUDICIOUS
I did Veganuary in 2019. But I had already started at the end of 2018 after taking a nutrition class at Kaiser. Actually, it started before then. In September of 2018 my mother died of a deadly combination of diabetes, cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, and an infection. Had she not had all the illness weakening her body, perhaps she would not have succumbed to the infection at the nursing home. I started searching for ways to avoid her fate. I was already diagnosed with pre-diabetes and fatty liver.
In my search I asked a neighbor who was always trying different diets. She suggested the ketogenic diet. It was easy to change to that diet. But then I learned at a Kaiser nutrition class that ketosis is the body’s reaction to starvation and only recommended for people having out of control epilepsy. So I kept searching. I found veganism and haven't looked back since.
I cleared out my pantry and gave away stuff from my refrigerator. At first it was a little difficult to figure out what to make for dinner. Breakfast is easy - oatmeal. Lunch was salad time or hummus and undercooked vegetable on a Panini. I love avocado sandwiches. Or check out these 30 ideas for a vegan packed lunch or take a look at the Vegan Lunch Box blog.
But what make for dinner? My main source or recipes was Allrecipies.com. Since then, I have learned so much. Now it is time to share this knowledge with you.
First and foremost, don't stress out. I'm here to help you with my primo advice for Veganuary.
You might be wondering – what is vegan?
Choosing to be a vegan means avoiding consuming food that is derived from animals. This includes:
Dairy produce – such as cheese, cow milk, and yogurt from cow milk
Meat and fish.
It also means looking out for ingredients such as gelatin and food colors that come from cochineal bugs, or fish that might be less obvious. There are even anchovies in some Worcestershire sauce.
Many vegans are avoiding these products for ethical reasons. They do not want to contribute to industries that use animal cruelly and in an exploitative manner. They may also avoid wearing leather and other shoes and clothing that have come from animals. If you’re doing Veganuary you don’t have to throw out your leather shoes. But it might make you think next time you go to the shoe shop.
WHAT IS VEGANUARY?
Veganuary is a non-profit that encourages people to try living as a vegan for the month of January each year. Here is the link - https://veganuary.com. Veganuary is a supportive and positive non-profit. It aims to support new vegans and people taking part in Veganuary with recipes, label reading help and eating out advice.
Veganuary is also a global challenge to not eat animal product for the month of January. The challenge is between you and you. However, there is a lot of help out there. We will cover some of it in this article.
HOW MEET THE VEGANUARY CHALLENGE
Before you start – know why you are doing it. This will help you if you start to waiver mid-month. I knew I wanted to turn the course of chronic disease around and lose weight. I accomplished both in very quick time by going vegan. Here are a few suggestions to get you on track.
1. GET ORGANIZED
The more organized by taking a look at the products you use a lot and write a shopping list so you won't be caught out on the 1st of January. Take butter for example. Dairy free spread is relatively easy to find. So is egg replacer – usually sold as a dry powder in the baking section. But you don't have to buy a big box for the month. You can use milled flaxseed or chia seed to replace eggs for baking. To use flaxseed or chia seed – take one tablespoon of flax or chia and three tablespoons of water. Mix and let it stand for ten minutes, then use. Remember the more organized you are, the easier meeting the 31-day challenge will be.
2. MEAL PLAN AND BATCH COOK
Work out what you’re going to eat, shop in advance and batch cook. There are several apps to help you work out a meal plan. I use Mealime - https://app.mealime.com. However, there are several others. My other favorite is 21-Day Vegan Kickstart from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM.ORG).
Or you could take the foods that are already plant-based, and already eat, and use these are the main part of your weekly meals. For example, pasta is already vegan when we leave out the meat in the marinara. Having some healthy home cooked meals in the freezer will help you out when you’re feeling too tired or lazy to cook.
When you are going out to eat, read the menu carefully and tell the waiter you are vegan, or plant- based. Remind them to leave out the cheese from your pasta or pizza or salad. HappyCow is an app that lists vegan and vegan option restaurants in your area.
3. SIGN UP FOR HELP
Sign up to Veganuary for email newsletters/tips. Also pick some of your favorite vegan bloggers – like Saludicious - to get inspiration direct to your inbox. My blog is found at: https://www.saludicious.com/contact-resources.
4. STOCK YOUR PANTRY WELL
Get some grains and a few easy vegan staples like vegan pesto, tins of beans, some tofu or tempeh. Herbs and spices will make all the difference to your vegan cooking as will miso, nutritional yeast, chili sauce, mustard, olives, sun dried tomatoes etc.
Here is my (non-exhaustive) pantry list:
Beans, Garbanzo – either dry or in cans
Grains – Farro, Millet, Quinoa, Rice
Nuts and Seeds, and nut butters
Soy – either dry or ready to eat as edamame
TVP or TSP or granules or curls
Vitamins B-12, D, and calcium.
But you don’t need to go overboard on expensive products. By all means try meat substitutes, and vegan cheese. But vegetables, pulses and grains are the best sources of all you need to thrive, without the grease and added salt.
5. CHECK LABELS
Once you start checking labels, you’ll be amazed at how many things aren’t vegan. Milk powder appears all over the place - even in things that really should be vegan like potato chips. Bread often has egg or dairy. I was very disappointed to find that Nan bread usually has buttermilk.
Of course, as in many things there is an app for that. There is: https://www.innit.com/shopwell/ to scan the bar code on jars and cans.
6. ONLINE INSPIRATION
Look for inspiration on YouTube - try Avant Garde Vegan, Instagram or Pinterest. There are thousands, of vegan vloggers and bloggers working hard to create vegan recipes online. Here are a few that you might like:
Rainbow Plant Life
And – of course – yours truly - https://www.saludicious.com/recipes
7. INVEST IN A COOKBOOK OR TWO
If you love cooking, then why not get yourself a good vegan cookbook? If you don’t want to commit to buying one check out your local library - mine has a big selection of vegan cookbooks. Some of favorites are:
How not to die Cookbook, by Dr. Michael Gregor
Engine 2 cookbook by brother and sister - Rip Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn.
8. TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
If you’re going somewhere for a meal, give your host plenty of notice or offer to take a dish with you if you think it’s going to be difficult. If you're taking Veganuary seriously it's worth explaining to people exactly what you can and can't eat. There are still a many people who'll assume fish is ok.
9. LOOK OUT FOR NEW VEGAN BRANDS IN THE SUPERMARKET
In the last few years, the number of vegan products available has boomed. Even budget supermarkets often sell a range of products such as vegan sausages, coconut yoghurt and marinated tofu pieces.
Asian supermarkets and whole food shops are also great sources of vegan products as are street markets. Many cities even have dedicated vegan markets these days where you can get everything from soaps to chocolates and burgers to pulled jackfruit tacos. If you prefer online then most major supermarkets do have a great range of vegan products. There is also vegan subscription boxes you can sign up to get a range of products delivered to your door.
10. TEAM UP WITH A FRIEND
If you can persuade a friend or your partner to share your Veganuary journey with you, you’ll find it much easier. Or find new friends at Plant Pure Communities – a national network of local groups meeting to support each other in going plant-based. There may be a POD in your neighborhood. Find out at https://plantpurecommunities.org/plantpurepods/.
11. TRY A VARIETY OF PRODUCTS
If you hate the taste of one brand of dairy free milk, try another. Products really vary and it comes down to personal taste a lot of the time. For example, I love the taste of oat milk in coffee. It is sweet and adds creaminess to coffee without cream. I often make my own oat milk now to save money.
12. DON'T GIVE UP
Chances are you'll have a difficult moment. You’ll be at a friend’s house, and they’ll order a pepperoni pizza. Or someone brings out a cheeseboard after dinner. And if you fall off the vegan wagon once in a while it doesn’t mean you have to give up. The challenge does not mean perfection for the entire month. It means we are striving to do things a different way for the month and beyond.
Every day you manage to eat plant-based makes a difference so don’t beat yourself up if you do slip up. If you're struggling, you can always get someone else to do the cooking. All plants do great frozen vegan ready meals and there are several vegan recipe kits, for example Grubby. There are also fresh hot meal delivery services. Even fast food has gotten in the act. We get beyond burgers from Carl's Junior on a regular basis.
Thank you for reading. We're here for you to meet your own goals.