VEGANUARY for beginners!
Congratulations for pledging to go vegan for the month of January! #veganuary2021 is an awesome program that promotes eating a plant-based diet for the first 31 days of the new year. There are many reasons to go vegan - like wanting to create healthy eating habits, caring about animal welfare, and wanting to decrease the negative impact that meat production has on the environment. Whatever your reason is - we're here to support you! Switching to a vegan diet can have its challenges, but with a little preparation and an open mind, you'll be eating good and feeling great in no time.
Let's get the list of off-menu items out of the way first. To follow a vegan diet you'll need to cut out any foods originating from animals. This includes meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Some things to be extra mindful of are the ingredients that aren't always so obvious, like whey (made from cow milk) in your protein powder, lard in tortillas or empanadas, gelatin (made from animal bones), and chicken broth in your soups.
Now let's get to the fun stuff...all the things you CAN enjoy! Luckily nowadays you can pretty much find a vegan-friendly substitute for anything. Absolutely can't live without creamer in your coffee? No worries - there's a ton of soy and nut-based creamers out there and you'll be sure to find one you love! The first thing you should do is take a gander at your own pantry/fridge - you'll most likely find tons of vegan-friendly foods already stocked. Pasta and marinara sauce, rice, nut-butters and jam, (most) breads, canned and fresh veggies/fruits...all of those are a great start and stuff that are already apart of your regular diet.
Next, think about your go-to breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack foods and ideate on how you can veganize them. Almost all grocery stores have a plant-based section where you can find vegan "meats" like 'chicken' tenders, sausage, cold-cuts, hamburgers, meatballs, etc. There's even vegan cheeses, ice creams, and tons of non-dairy milks to choose from. Some well-known brands of plant-based foods include Daiya, Quorn, Gardein, Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, Daring, and Silk.
In addition to replacing your usual meats with plant-based versions, you can also use this month to try new recipes. How about a black bean chili, avocado toast, a vegetable curry, or quinoa stuffed bell pepper?! There are thousands of recipes available online or you can get creative yourself in the kitchen. If you still don't know where to start, check out Veganuary.com's recipe section for inspiration.
If you're starting to panic because the kitchen has never been your favorite room in the house- have no fear; there are plenty of dining options that accommodate a vegan diet. Your go-to delivery apps like #UberEats and #Doordash allow you to filter restaurants for vegan-friendly menus. You can also download the HappyCow application on your phone which will guide you to your nearest restaurants/shops with vegan food. Finally, depending on your city - there might be meal-prep options for you. For example, Electric Foods makes BOMB vegan dishes and has pick-up spots all around the the Atlanta metropolitan area.
Congrats again on committing to a vegan diet in January and let us know any other tips and tricks you want to share...or perhaps questions/concerns you might have. We'd love to hear from you!