It’s December 29th and there are only a couple of days until the New Year! A few people have recently asked me to share tips ahead of giving Veganuary a go on 1st January. This post is intended to help those of you preparing to give it a go, or those of you that want to incorporate more healthy plant-based dishes in their diet.
Similar to Dry January where people abstain from alcohol for the month of January (can’t say I’ve tried that one!!), Veganuary is an opportunity for people to give vegan a go for the month of January, by removing all animal derived products – meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, gelatine, leather, wool & any products tested on animals. In a nutshell, it’s a chance to live a cruelty-free month and see if it’s for you!
I did Veganuary last year and loved it – it made me feel better both physically and mentally and wasn’t half as challenging as I thought! This time last year I was a pescetarian (a fish-eating veggie) and had been for 12 years. When I first decided to try vegan, I thought that my hair, skin and nails might suffer; however almost a year in and they haven’t! My skin is softer and my hair & nails feel stronger (and grow really fast!). I’m not a nutritionist but the reading I have done tells me that this could be to do with ensuring I get enough protein, vitamins & minerals (including iron, zinc, B12 and omega 3s) through a healthy and varied diet.
I laid out all of the food I have in the house this morning and took the above picture. I must admit I have a bit more in that usual – including a lot more sweet treats and chocolate! – but the reason for this is that I am stocked up ahead of having visitors for New Year’s Eve! You don’t need most of this to get by day-to-day, so I’ll list out the essentials and the other items I love.
Good luck & let me know if you have any questions. Hope you find this helpful! ♥
Essentials – all available from big supermarkets!
- Spices. I have shown some of my favourites in the pic, but I have a whole cupboard full of spices. My favourites are: cumin, turmeric, basil, sea salt, pepper, Italian herbs, rosemary, curry powders, mustard seeds, Nando’s peri salt and paprika. So handy to have in to add to tomato based curries, stir-fries & soups. Plant-based food does not need to be bland! Make big batches of dishes and freeze in preparation of days when you don’t have a lot of time.
- Oils & Condiments – Make sure you have some condiments to hand to add flavour to your dishes. My faves are: Nando’s hot & garlic sauces, Sriracha, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic paste, harissa, parmesan-free pestos, ketchup, dairy & egg-free mayo. Bisto original gravies are generally vegan-friendly too.
- Fruit & Veg – I normally have fruit like bananas, apples, pears and grapes in to snack on (whatever is in season). I always have a variety of veg – potatoes, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, onions, garlic, spring onions, lemons, tomatoes, cucumber, and asparagus when I’m feeling faaancy. Be careful with fruit juices, they aren’t always vegan.
- Tinned/cupboard food – wholemeal bread & pasta, brown rice, chickpeas, baked beans, beans (generally butter & kidney beans), tofu, mushy peas (I like them on a jacket potato!), oats, Marmite (great for maintaining good levels of vitamin B12), nutritional yeast (also good for B12; I sprinkle it on food like a parmesan, or give pastas a more cheesy taste). Jus-Rol pastry is also vegan 🙂
- Frozen food – Linda McCartney sausages & burgers, supermarket own Soya Mince, Quorn vegan chicken pieces, Tesco nut cutlets, peas (I bloody love peas – I add them to curries, I make my own veganised Nando’s macho peas, add them to roast dinners etc.)
- Snacks – Fruit goes without saying. Nuts and seeds are great on their own and also sprinkled or stirred into dishes for a bit of crunch! If you’ve got a sweet tooth, I have found that over 70% dark chocolate is normally vegan-friendly (best to check). Sainsbury’s have an amazing selection of sweets (fizzy fangs & chocolate bars). I don’t normally buy biscuits but Oreos, Rich Teas, Hobnobs original & choc chip, Ginger Nuts, Bourbons and Fox’s Party Rings are vegan-friendly.
- Egg & dairy-free alternatives – Alpro soya milk for cuppas, coffees, hot chocs, porridge and glazing pastry. Plant milks (oat/almond/cashew/hazelnut) are also good for porridge, oatmeal, overnight oats and hot drinks. I don’t love these with tea, but know people that do. Alpro and the Tesco Free From range do some lovely, creamy yogurts 🙂 Peta’s vegan egg replacer guide explains all of the ways you can replace eggs in your cooking, baking & more! It may not sound it, but take my word for it – tofu scramble is delicious!
- Nut butter – It tastes amazing and is lovely on toast or stirred into overnight oats.
- Maple syrup / Agave nectar – great as an alternative to honey or sugar when baking.
- Alpro Soya mini chocolate milks – not an essential for most, but they absolutely are for me! I drink one of these post gym/CrossFit to get around 8 grams of plant-powered protein to restore my muscles sharpish!
- Vegan cheese – my favourite is Violife which can be found in big supermarkets. The cheese is amazing when melted on a burger!
- Dates – great for baking. When dates are heated in a pan of hot water and removed, they go a sticky caramel consistency which helps chocolates, protein balls & cookies to bind.
- Organic coconut sugar – makes a nice change to normal sugar, but isn’t essential.
- Protein powder – I sometimes add this when baking to increase the protein content (makes you fuller so you don’t eat as many cakes! In theory anyway! ) I have That Protein’s ‘Organic blissful brown rice & raw cacao super protein’ which is yummy 🙂
- Squirty cream – a bit harder to find but absolutely delicious! Not widely available in supermarkets yet, but small health food shops may have the Schlagfix one that I have.
- Alcohol – For those of you not doing Dry January, Barnivore has a great search engine to check whether your favourite alcoholic beverages are vegan 🙂 Clink, Happy New Year guys!