Over 400,000 of you took part in Veganuary this year, making that first step to living a kinder life for animals, the environment and your health. As January draws to a close, we hope you've been inspired by a month of vegan living and are looking for tips to continue your compassionate journey.
At Viva!, we know how tricky it can be when you first go vegan, so we've put together our top tips to help you stay vegan over the coming year.
1. Don’t Beat Yourself Up For Making Mistakes
When you go vegan, making mistakes is inevitable. In fact, I’m sceptical there is a single vegan alive who hasn’t accidentally — or unknowingly — consumed an animal product which was lurking in the ingredients. Milk powder in your bread anyone?
So when it does happen, don’t be disheartened. You’ll become an expert at checking ingredient lists in no time and, to make life even easier, most UK stores conveniently label their vegan-friendly products!
2. Be Resourceful
Whether you’re down the local for a pint or frantically searching for vegan options abroad, there are tons of amazing resources available to aid you on your vegan journey.
Barnivore is a user-generated database of vegan-friendly alcohol. Simply search your tipple and Barnivore will tell you whether or not it's vegan.
Explore a comprehensive list of vegan-friendly restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores in over 180 countries! Think of it as a bit like Yelp, but for vegans.
Vegan Recipe Club
Discover over 600 tried and tested vegan recipes, with shopping and product tips that make vegan cooking a breeze!
Follow this Instagram account from TheVeganKind, dedicated to sharing all the best accidentally vegan products available in the UK!
3. Plan Your Meals
Old habits die(t) hard. But with so many great vegan products now available in UK supermarkets, shopping vegan has never been easier!
The next time you’re on the shopping run, take a well-planned shopping list with you so you’re not tempted by your well-loved animal products. Or better still, order your food online!
It may also be worthwhile to set an evening aside to prep your meals for the coming week. This can help to eliminate temptations and save you time in the long run.
4. Join a Local Vegan Group
We’re not all fortunate enough to live in a vegan bubble. So if you’re feeling isolated or would just like more vegan mates, social media is your friend.
Have a look on Facebook to see if there is a vegan group in your local area e.g ‘Bristol Vegans’. These groups are great for general support, to share vegan related info and even arranging the occasional meetup!
Alternatively, you can check out the Meetup app to see if there are any meetup groups nearby.
5. Watch Some Documentaries
The rise of veganism is no doubt due in part to the power of compelling films and documentaries. Whether they focus on animal suffering, the environment or health, there are an abundance of eye-opening — even humorous — films, which will strengthen your resolve to stay vegan. One GP is now even prescribing vegan health documentaries to her patients! Here are a few of our top recommendations:
The Game Changers (2019)
This truly game changing documentary, produced by James Cameron, follows an ex MMA fighter as he travels the world on a quest for the truth about meat, protein and strength. Featured presenters include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton, and Novak Djokovic.
Directed by comedian Simon Amstell, Carnage is a mockumentary set in the year 2067 where veganism is the norm and older generations are suffering from the guilt of their carnivorous past.
Okja tells the story of a Mija, a young girl who risks everything to save her best friend — an enormous mutant super pig — from being kidnapped and slaughtered by a multinational corporation and sold as exotic meat. Singer-songwriter Kate Nash claims to have gone vegan after watching this film!
Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, this thought-provoking documentary follows Kip Andersen as he explores the negative impact of animal agriculture on the environment — and why leading environmental organisations are too afraid to talk about it.
Forks Over Knives (2011)
Researchers explore the obesity epidemic and the possibility that changing from an animal-based diet to a plant-based one can help eliminate or control diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
6. Stay Healthy
You could eat nothing but Oreos and technically be vegan but you would certainly not be healthy — so remember to try to eat a well-planned, varied plant-based diet.
However, while plant-based diets have been proven to be perfectly healthy and nutritious, the high standards of modern lifestyles and food production make it more difficult for everyone — not just vegans — to obtain all the essential nutrients from diet alone.
Alas, the three nutrients you need to be mindful of are vitamin B12, vitamin D and iodine. It may not always be necessary to supplement these but it depends on several factors, so ensure you are getting an adequate amount.
For comprehensive guides and information on vegan health and nutrition, please visit Viva! Health.
Going vegan is one of the best things you can do for animals, the environment and your health.
In January alone you have helped save an average of 30 animals, 124,000 litres of water, 543kg of grain, 84sq.m of forest, and 273kg of CO2. Imagine the impact you will have if you stay vegan for the rest of 2020 and beyond!
For more information on how to stay vegan, please visit https://www.viva.org.uk/going-vegan.