This year Veganuary surpassed record-breaking 500 000 sign-ups as more and more people are eager to let plants take the center stage on their plates.
Reasons for signing up for Veganuary and diving into the world of plants are as varied as the selection of vegan products in the supermarkets these days. Some are concerned about their health, some are worried about the impact their diets have on the planet, some want to improve animal welfare and some might just want to switch things up a bit.
Whatever your reason for ditching meat and dairy is, we want to say welcome to the wonderful world of plants and thank you for taking the plunge! We hope that plants keep playing a big role in your diet after Veganuary :)
With that in mind we’d like to say a few things:
1. It’s not all or nothing - not during Veganuary, nor after that
There’s no need to go cold turkey and give up all animal products at once. If you’re willing to try and introduce more plants into your life, then that’s great! Often gradual change can make the process more enjoyable and easier to sustain. Get curious about all the different plant-based options out there and introduce alternatives to your life at a pace that feels attainable to you. If we can get the masses to just reduce their intake of animal products then that will create a huge change! And remember, even if you fall off the wagon, you’re always welcome to get back on :)
2. It’s not all greens and leaves - comfort foods and indulgent desserts are still possible!
We love our broccoli and beans but that’s not all you’ll be eating when adopting a vegan diet.
Just go for an excursion to the plant-based section of your local supermarket and you’ll be surprised by all the delicious things that are available. And don’t even get us started on all the amazing food that both vegan and non-vegan restaurants and fast-food places offer nowadays! Vegan food sure has come a long way.
Also, the internet is filled with vegan versions of all your favourite comfort foods. Have a little browse and you’ll be sure to find a multitude of vegan recipes for all levels and for various cuisines. To help you get started, check out the delicious tempeh recipes on our website.
3. It’s not all supplements and shakes - varied vegan diet packs nutrition, but do your research
Plant-based foods are not only delicious but depending on the food they can be packed, PACKED, with protein and other vital macro- and micronutrients.
As an example, let’s take a look at soy tempeh. This all-natural, fermented plant-based protein originating from Indonesia is not only super tasty and versatile but tempeh is also highly nutritious. It contains approx. 18g of protein per 100g, >6g of fibre per 100g and also doses of micronutrients like magnesium, iron and calcium. Plants sure are powerful! ;)
However, it’s important to note that we can’t just remove something from our diets (i.e. animal products) and just replace them with an extra helping of peas and potatoes (both of which are great, though).
So, do a bit of research to ensure that you’re getting enough calories and nutrients from your diet so you can feel your best and really reap the benefits of a plant-based or vegan diet. For example, it’s worth considering taking Vitamin B12 and Omega 3 supplements.* (Tempeh also contains B12, as it naturally comes from the soil!).
But let’s remember that no matter whether you’re an omnivore, flexitarian, pescaterian, plant-based or vegan - a varied, balanced diet is the foundation. Supplements are just that, supplements, they don’t take away the importance of a varied diet.
If you’re lacking in energy or are otherwise doubting whether you’re getting enough nutrients, it’s best to talk to your health care practitioner or a registered nutritionist.
*Please note that we’re not health care practitioners or registered nutritionists so this shouldn’t be considered as health advice. Please do your own research and if needed discuss with a professional to see what best suits your needs.
4. It’s not all the same - time to explore various cultures and cuisines
Despite new meat alternatives, vegan versions of old favourites and other vegan products being launched at a rapid speed, plant-based eating and veganism are no new kids on the block. They have been deeply embedded in many cultures for a long time.
For example, many traditional African diets were plant-based and it was only through colonisation that meat started to play a bigger part in the diets.
As Nicola Kagoro, a chef working in South Africa and Zimbabwe, has said “Our ancestors didn’t eat as much meat. It is through colonisation that we learned these crazy meat-eating practices.” So, diversifying your Instagram feed, learning about different cultures and cuisines, and supporting Black and POC-owned restaurants and food bloggers are great practices to include in your journey towards plant-based eating.
If you’re struggling to get started with plant-based eating, check out the blog post we wrote last Veganuary. In it we list some great plant-based alternatives to make it easier for you to say goodbye to meat and dairy (whether for good or for some days of the week).