A Super Simple, 31-Day Guide to Going Vegan This January
If you’re just starting your vegan adventure, you might be wondering where to even begin. Making such a drastic change might feel daunting, but here’s a little secret: it’s not as difficult as you think. If you focus on tailoring your transition to your needs and take it one day at a time, the progression to veganism will become almost effortless. Make 2020 your year to embark on becoming the most compassionate version of yourself, and use this super simple guide to help get you there.
Day 1: Take part in Veganuary.
Take the Veganuary pledge for the month of January and receive daily emails with recipes, meal plans, tips, and advice.
Day 2: Educate yourself.
Going vegan is a learning curve, so start educating yourself on what living vegan means. Start by learning how to nourish yourself on a plant-based diet, and how to tell if a product is vegan, and go from there.
Day 3: Ease your way in.
Don’t expect to go vegan overnight. Take it one step at a time, starting with what makes the most sense to you. For example, start with swapping dairy milk for plant-based milk, or your favorite chicken fingers for vegan chicken fingers.
Day 4: Get inspired.
Find resources and people who inspire you to make positive changes, such as vegan blogs, podcasts, cookbooks, and cooking classes.
Day 5: Be creative.
Get adventurous in the kitchen and try a new meal or new food once a day or once a week.
Day 6: Find resources.
Seek out documentaries, books, websites, and blogs that offer valuable insight and support to help you feel prepared and knowledgable.
Day 7: Seek community.
Find like-minded individuals, stat. Attend your local vegan food festival or volunteer for a vegan or animal-rights organization.
Day 8: Start with food.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you start learning how animal cruelty is entrenched in our society and in the products we eat and use every day. Start with making small changes to your daily meals before making changes in other parts of your life, such as clothes, shoes, and beauty and cleaning products.
Day 9: Don’t beat yourself up if you slip.
It happens. Just keep moving forward.
Day 10: Do what works for you.
Everyone’s transition is different. Tailor your transition to your needs and make changes that you know you will be able to stick with longterm.
Day 11: Supplement.
Start taking a vegan B12 supplement to ensure you’re getting enough, and learn why.
Day 12: Spend time with animals.
This will remind you of why you’re vegan. Plus, animal friends are amazing.
Day 13: Keep experimenting.
When switching to plant-based products, experiment with all the options (you’ll be surprised at how many there are) until you find which ones you like best.
Day 14: Challenge yourself.
Consider setting weekly or monthly challenges for yourself, such as swapping the cream in your coffee for plant-based creamer or opting for tofu scramble in lieu of your morning eggs.
Day 15: Veganize your favorite meals.
Love pizza? Can’t live without burgers? Try making your most cherished meals vegan.
Day 16: Go slow.
It’s not a race. Go at your own pace and you’ll eventually get there.
Day 17: Don’t expect perfection.
Don’t expect to become the perfect vegan on Day 1. Veganism is about intention, not perfection.
Day 18: Be prepared.
Look for vegan products at your local supermarket and vegan-friendly restaurants in your area so you know where to find what you need. Prepare a meal plan and accompanying grocery list if that makes meal-making easier.
Day 19: Embrace change.
Change isn’t easy. Pat yourself on the back for every positive step forward.
Day 20: Add before you subtract.
Incorporate grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, greens, and tofu into your diet as you transition away from animal products. Make appropriate substitutions and familiarize yourself with how to prepare those new foods.
Day 21: Learn about food labels.
Animal-derived ingredients are sneaky and can be found in the unlikeliest of places. Learn what they are and where you might find them so you can opt for alternatives.
Day 22: Keep it simple.
Find a few quick and easy vegan meals you enjoy and add them to your regular repertoire.
Day 23: Search for substitutes.
As you begin cutting out animal products, slowly introduce vegan versions of the things you think you’ll miss most—such as your beloved bologna or cheddar cheese slices—to help make the transition easier.
Day 24: Invest in yourself.
Consider veganism as an investment in your health. What better way to do that than to fuel your body with the best food you can find?
Day 25: Don’t stress.
Finding out the truth about the food industry, and the farmed animal industry specifically, can cause a whole host of emotions that might be difficult to deal with. Seek out ways to manage it.
Day 26: Ask for help.
If you’re stuck or have questions, don’t hesitate to ask an experienced vegan friend or find support online.
Day 27: Load up on healthy snacks.
Always have travel-friendly snacks—such as fruit, nuts, and granola bars—on hand in case you are feeling hungry between meals as you switch to a plant-full diet.
Day 28: Be ready for resistance.
Your friends and family might not agree with your new lifestyle choice, but that’s okay. Be prepared for questions, and arm yourself with facts.
Day 29: Keep a positive attitude.
Think of all the new foods you get to try rather than the ones you’re giving up. You’re delving into a whole new world that’s worth getting excited about.
Day 30: Remember the whys.
Veganism is a lifestyle rather than a diet for a reason. Once you learn about the benefits of veganism and the effect animal products have on our health, the environment, and the animals themselves, it sticks with you and there’s no going back.
Day 31: Love every minute of it.
It’s the best decision you’ll likely ever make.
Nicole Axworthy is a 20-year vegan and author of the cookbook DIY Vegan.
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