January is the time for many resolutions, especially centering around food. As many people kick off their resolutions with diets, exercise, wellness, and more, the most popular resolution is clean eating. As Veganism rises in popularity, one of the latest food resolutions is Veganuary.
Put simply, Veganuary is practicing veganism throughout the month of January, similar to how some people practice a Dry January. This month is full of education, allowing people to truly understand the practices of a vegan lifestyle. Some people eliminate all animal products from their lives for the month, but most simply focus on eating vegan foods.
Following a vegan diet is a great reset for many people, allowing them to focus on clean eating, trying new foods, educating themselves on veganism, and much more. Veganuary isn’t just great for your body, though; it’s also great for the environment. By cutting out animal products from your diet for a month, you’re significantly reducing your carbon footprint.
Going vegan for a month (or beyond, if you choose) comes with challenges. Foods you consume on a daily basis are now “off-limits,” causing you to find an adequate substitute. As dairy alternatives become more and more popular, you should have no problem when substituting your regular milk or butter with alternatives. Be sure to check which dairy-free milk is best for your recipe of choice, though. Almond milk is much thinner than oat milk’s creamy, thick texture, with coconut milk often being a sweeter choice. Have fun with your dairy-free recipes, embracing the creativity of vegan treats.
When switching to vegan alternatives, or increasing your intake of foods you already love, you can enjoy more nutrients. A vegan diet often requires you to rely on other sources of protein and other essential foods in order to adequately nourish your body. Foods you should especially focus on include, but are not limited to: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, nuts and seeds. As these are often foods you have stored in your pantry or fridge, this part of the transition is a bit easier than others. When following a diet surrounding these foods, and not adding in unhealthy additions, your diet can be richer in fiber, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, folate and vitamins A, C and E.
A sudden vegan diet for a month can lead to intense cravings. Especially if you are only going vegan for the month of January, be mindful of the cravings that will hit hard come February. To avoid such cravings and falling back into unhealthy patterns, make sure you aren’t restricting or limiting yourself too much throughout the month. If you’re craving something sweet, find a sweet treat that will fulfill your craving without encouraging you to overly-indulge. If you’re in a rush and truly don’t have time to make something at home, give yourself grace to find a vegan-friendly fast food option. Giving yourself wiggle room will make this month much more enjoyable and rewarding.
Pledging to go vegan for the month, or beyond, can be very rewarding for your body and the environment. If you aren’t quite ready to make the commitment to veganism, then stick around for next month’s vegetarian food pledge: Veguary. Little by little, your changes can make a big impact.