As Christmas celebrations wrap up, the New Year approaches with a distinct feeling of new beginnings. With that, many decide to make a New Year’s resolution.
Some choose to stop drinking or start exercising. Others might learn a new language or practise gratitude. And some will decide to go vegan.
Like any lifestyle change, it can feel confusing or even daunting, but the benefits outweigh any inconveniences. Whatever your motivation – animal welfare, the environment, or your own health – going vegan is a New Year’s resolution worth sticking to, and here are nine tools to help you do it.
9 Tools To Help You Stick to That Vegan New Year’s Resolution
1. Read Up
There are plenty of books and online resources available to help you learn more about plant-based, cruelty-free living. “How to Go Vegan” helps readers master food, travel, eating out, and how to answer the inevitable questions from others about your new lifestyle choice. You might also want to invest in some plant-based cookbooks, like “But I Could Never Go Vegan!” which includes 125 recipes “that prove you can live without cheese” and that vegan eating is “not all rabbit food.”
2. Find a Community
When going vegan, surrounding yourself with likeminded people is a great way to stay motivated, collect tips and advice, feel supported, and get connected to the cause. You might consider reaching out to vegans you already know, looking for local groups in your town, or if you prefer, there are plenty of online spaces for networking. Try searching for Facebook groups for the country you live in, where people are encouraged to ask questions to the thousands of likeminded individuals who all want a better future for the planet and animals.
3. Get All the Apps
While it can be simple to control what foods you’re eating at home, eating out at restaurants can complicate things. That’s where HappyCow comes in – a must-have for any vegan, new or old. HappyCow shows you the closest eateries to you that offer vegan options. If you prefer, you can adjust the settings to include all-vegan restaurants as well as view images and read reviews about the venues.
Having trouble deciphering ingredients lists? Is It Vegan allows you to scan the barcode of products and instantly find out if it’s free from animal products. The catalogue doesn’t know every product, but it is constantly improving. Similarly, another app, called Cruelty-Cutter, allows you to scan household cleaning products and beauty items to find out if it was tested on animals.
When there’s no veg food available at social gatherings, alcohol can become a vegan’s best friend. But not all alcohol is suitable for vegans. You might be thinking “what?” and “why!?” (the answer to the latter can be found here), but never fear, Vegaholic allows you to search for animal-friendly drinks on-the-go. Cheers!
4. Be Open to Trying New Things
Understandably, swapping to a plant-based diet can feel intimidating since you’re virtually unlearning decades of eating habits. It’s easy to become comfortable with the foods you’ve eaten your whole life. But going vegan can be an opportunity to find new cuisines, flavors, and textures you didn’t even know you loved. Dive into online recipes, go to new restaurants, and remember you can always find a vegan version of your old faithfuls; even vegan steak, mac ‘n’ cheese, feta, and seafood is on the table, if you want it.
5. Use a Meal Planner
LIVEKINDLY’s very own vegan meal planner can help you love what you eat. The planner offers nutritional information, guidance from expert food coaches, chef-inspired recipes, and smart grocery lists to make supermarket trips more simple and enjoyable. Meals are personalized and budget-friendly, there’s even content from esteemed celebrity chef Matthew Kenney.
For more information, click here.
6. Go at Your Own Pace
Some people go vegan overnight. For others, it’s a journey that includes small shifts and changes over time. It’s important to not be overly critical of yourself; like any lifestyle change, it will take time to adjust to being vegan and the same approach won’t work for everyone.
Gradually redesigning your meals is an achievable (and even enjoyable) method that many find makes the decision less overwhelming. You might first decide to veganize your lunches, or eat animal-free just one day a week. Try swapping out dairy milk for soy, oat, or almond for all your Starbucks visits, or dive into a tub of dairy-free ice cream next time your sweet tooth calls.
Going vegan might not be an immediate change, and that’s okay. The important thing is you remember your end goal and stay healthy and happy so that the decision will be one that stays with you for life.
7. Visit an Animal Sanctuary
Visiting an animal sanctuary will help you to connect with the difference you’re making in the world. There are many sanctuaries – like the UK’s Farm Animal Sanctuary – that rescue animals from the fate of a slaughterhouse, or from a life of neglect on a meat or dairy farm. If you decided to go for vegan for ethical reasons, seeing these animals in a happy, carefree environment will help to remind you why you made your choice.
8. Get to Know Your Local Veggie Growers
A healthy diet, as stated by countless physicians and researchers, is one rich in plant-based whole foods. And now that you’re animal product-free, it’s easier than ever to pile up your plate with foods that are all colors of the rainbow. One of the best places to find fresh produce is your local farmer’s market. Pop down to find the best deals on local fruits and vegetables and your smoothies will never be more flavorful.
9. Remember Why It Matters
If you start to crave animal products, that’s ok! It is completely normal. To help you stay vegan, remind yourself of the reasons why you initially made the decision. Maybe watch a film – there are plenty on Netflix to choose from, like What the Health or Cowspiracy – re-read an inspirational book, or talk to a friend. Revisiting the reasons why you decided to make the lifestyle change – and remembering the positive effects of your decision on your health, the environment, and the animals – will help you to stick at it for the future.
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