Did you join Veganuary this past month? Or perhaps you didn’t follow the official Veganuary site and programme but did use January as a test drive in adopting a plant-based vegan lifestyle? If you took action, I congratulate you as any positive progressive change in your life deserves recognition and acknowledgement. It delights me to see the growing numbers taking up the Veganuary challenge every year. Education and growing awareness are key in bringing about a change in people´s eating habits. This is why there was such an incredible growth in veganism in 2016 and I am certain the growth will be doubled in 2017. There is great momentum now behind the plant-based movement.
Joining Veganuary or going meat and dairy free for January is a great first step but it is only the start. Change does not happen overnight and while I’d love to believe the contrary I am sure that a large number of those who completed Veganuary reverted to some or all of their previous lifestyle habits from the start of February. This is always disappointing to see but also not too surprising. Despite their vegan experience leaving a positive imprint on them, it’s like a switch being pressed off without even thinking of why. I suppose it’s like a natural easy reversion to comfort zone. But should this happen? Certainly not. Now more than ever it’s easy to go vegan with the multitude of recipes available online and in books as well as the many vegans sharing their daily lifestyle vlogging their meal prep and shopping trips as well as tips and advice on youtube.
Anyone who goes vegan for any period of time has part of them feeling compelled to continue the journey towards fully adopting a plant-based vegan lifestyle. It’s impossible not to feel this as once your awareness grows so does your desire to change. But Rome wasn´t built in a day and changing lifestyle can be challenging but achieving any goal means taking positive steps consistently towards that goal. Adopting a vegan lifestyle is no different. I took 7 years to go from opening my mind to veganism to eventually going 100% vegan on January 1st 2012. However, things have changed so much regarding vegan food accessibility that following a fully or mostly vegan lifestyle is no longer difficult. The key is ongoing education and sourcing recipes and meal ideas with enough variety which you will be happy consuming. What is important is that you make a commitment to continue your journey. Are you committed?
What would I advise anyone looking at going vegan to do? Well, Veganuary was step 1. Next, I would advise you to review and reflect on your experience and commit to continuing one or two things. Those of us who are vegan would love for everyone to go vegan today but we must also be realistic in our expectations as there is a lot of brainwashing and conditioning to break and new lifestyle habits to create. Creating long-term lifestyle habits can take a month or 2 when consistently followed daily. So from today, I’d like to recommend the following commitments. At a minimum do 1 of them but aim for 2 or 3 each day. You won’t be long finding yourself eating a fully or mainly vegan diet and you will feel the benefits.
1. Start your day off with a vegan breakfast. This is probably the easiest meal to have vegan. Decide on your favourite dairy free milk and have some cereal (no Kellogg's cereals though as they contain sheep's wool as one of their E numbers – why???) or porridge or muesli. You could also have beans on toast and if you wanted to have a more substantial breakfast add some Linda McCartney sausages and mushrooms and tomatoes to it. You could also make a smoothie full of fresh fruit and some green vegetables too. Just add your favourite non-dairy milk and some peanut butter or avocado or a vegan protein powder and you have a quick convenient nutritionally balanced meal. I love smoothies and have 1 or 2 every day. To me they are like a treat.
2. Have a vegan lunch. Instead of having meat or fish in your sandwich have some hummus or avocado and add loads of salads. Or you can have some of the fake meats too. Or a salad is great and there are no limits to what you can add to it as there is such a variety of salads as well as grains and also add mixed beans. It’s also easy to have a pasta dish with a tomato-based sauce and herbs. I always add chickpeas and mushrooms to mine too.
3. If you do step 1 and 2 that is fantastic. Snacks are easy to have vegan as there are a wide variety of fruits and nuts. There are also Nakd and trek bars. So what about dinner? Well instead of chicken in a curry have chickpeas and spinach. Instead of beef mince in a chilli have kidney beans and red peppers. Every dish that is meat based can be easily changed to become vegan-friendly and just think of the benefits to your personal health and to the lives of millions of animals and to also very important the benefits to our beautiful planet.
So from the last 3 points would you agree that converting meat dishes and options to vegans ones isn’t actually that difficult once you open your mind to a few alternative ingredients? I love the way I eat and the variety is fantastic. With being vegan there are no boundaries with what you can combine to make a meal. Once you go vegan there is no going back. Why would you?
So take time today to decide on your commitments for the next 30 days and then focus on sticking to them. The more changes you make the healthier and more energetic you will become. Your immune system will improve. You will become better able to fight disease. The benefits are so many. But step by step. This is the way to success. There are some who can change overnight and that is fantastic but you know yourself better than me or anyone knows you so be honest with yourself as to whether overnight change will work for you or if you’d be better taking positive progressive steps towards fully adopting a vegan lifestyle over the coming weeks and months.
One of my seminars at VegfestUK Brighton will be “Why Dairy Products Are One Of The Main Culprits for All Pain, Ailments & Disease” – on Saturday March 11th 2017 at 4pm in the Light Veganism talks room. I would love to have you attend. As well as sharing the truth about dairy, I will have a dedicated Q & A session. Hopefully you can be there.
You can get tickets to the event at www.brighton.vegfest.co.uk/admission
from Vegfest UK