The new year has begun, it’s 2020 and a record number of people are transitioning onto plant-based diets! With 300,000 signing up to the Veganuary Charity on just the first day of January and continually growing!
With that in mind, I thought it would be useful to give some new years tips for you all!
1. Realise there is an initial challenge that will get easier with time
Changing your diet is no easy task, it even took me a whole year to get from being omnivorous to a vegetarian and then finally to a full vegan. It’s great to challenge yourself, maybe going full vegan overnight, but be prepared for a strong learning curve. It’s easy to eat as a vegan because the food is mostly super tasty and nutritious, but the hard part is learning new ways to cook, ingredients to avoid, ingredients not to miss and fitting it around your lifestyle! Allow yourself the time to become accustomed to the diet and don’t give up too quickly, transition more slowly if it is required, being able to reduce the use of animal products slowly is better than not at all!
2. Don’t punish yourself if you get something wrong
Mistakes really do happen quite often! You will quickly find animal products are everywhere and in abundance! Milk for example get is in a lot of products, and can catch you off guard from dark chocolates to certain bread or even vegan labelled meals I have had at restaurants abroad. So, don’t beat yourself up if you have accidentally eaten something you shouldn’t have, just make note of the product and learn from it. Over time you will build a steady catalogue of ‘favourite’ foods that are vegan and shopping will become easy, without having to spend ages scanning ingredient labels, plus the excitement of finding new products to try is great!
3. Be creative with your food and embrace the cooking experience
The best part for me when moving to a plant-based diet is that it forced me to be more creative with my food. I have always been a lazy cook and kept things simple, but having a vegan diet, got me looking at recipes and at different ways of getting the nutrients I needed. Now, rather than seeing cooking as a chore, I rather enjoy building my skills as a chef and expressing creativity.
4. Don’t let other people get you down
This is something that bothers me a lot, that people will go out their way to criticise you for something that is only doing good, but the best option is to not entertain these people and carry on. You know why you are trying veganism, it has many positive outcomes and it is not affecting anyone else. Therefore, don’t get frustrated trying to prove yourself, stick to your instinct and carry on. If you can, try and surround yourself with like-minded or supportive people, to help keep your motivation going.
5. Keep reminding yourself why you are going vegan
Whether it be for your health, the animals, the environment or all 3, it’s important to keep reminding yourself why you are trying to transition to a vegan lifestyle and keep the motivation going when it initially may seem difficult. Use documentaries, social media or family and friends as a source of information and support to keep you going until you find yourself in a good and competent position as a vegan for the long term.
6. Eat a variety of foods
There is nothing worse than giving veganism a try to find yourself in an unhealthy position because you have only been eating the same thing every day and are missing a variety of nutrients. Make time to do a little research into some key foods or supplements that can help you maintain a healthy well-balanced diet, or easier still ‘eat the rainbow’, by including a mix of colours into your meals with a variety of fruit and vegetables! The more colour the better! With little effort, you can have a simple, but effective healthy diet!
Hope these little bits of advice have given you some added motivation and tools to go away with to help you stay on track onto becoming a fully-fledged vegan!
If you want help with your fitness and health following a plant-based diet simply sign up to one of my plans here https://www.veganfitnesscoach.co.uk/plans and I will give you lots of advice, exercise and meal plans to get you going!
Good luck on your journey!
Adam Layzell, Vegan Fitness Coach