How to Stay Vegan After Veganuary
One of the most powerful online campaign movements in recent memory, Veganuary – the charity that encourages people everywhere to try living vegan for the month of January – is attracting record numbers year after year. Giving up animal products for a month has skyrocketed in popularity not only due to the availability of animal-free foods at every corner, but also because thanks to social media, spreading information is easier than ever – so more people are aware of the exploitation and abuse that routinely happens in industries which use animals, and decide they no longer wish to support these trades.
By Sascha Camilli: writer, speaker, activist and vegan fashion expert.
Staying vegan once Veganuary is over is in many people's plans: a survey in 2020 showed that 72% of all Veganuary participants surveyed were planning to keep their new lifestyle going. So how do you make Veganuary last past January, and ensure that your new way of living is a success? Here are some tips that will help you bring real, long-lasting change into your life and keep living a compassionate lifestyle.
Remember why you started. Now it's more important than ever to connect to your “why”. Go back to the reasons why you wanted to try Veganuary in the first place, and why you decided to keep going. Refresh your knowledge of the meat and dairy industries, remember the harmful impact of animal products on the environment. Your motivation needs to be in the back of your mind, ready to anchor you back to your decision. Here are some great reasons to go and stay vegan.
Don't beat yourself up if (when!) you slip up. Truth time: slip-ups will happen. You'll forget to read a label, won't pay enough attention at a restaurant, or will for some other reason end up ingesting an animal-derived product. This is not a tragedy – it's part of the transition and has happened to everyone. Get back on track and accept this mishap as par for the course. And yes, you are still vegan despite mistakenly eating a cookie with milk powder.
Stay health-conscious. Well-planned vegan diets can be very healthy, but it's up to vegans to stay on top of their nutritional needs and ensure they are being met. To be sure that you are getting everything you need, read up on basic nutrition and perhaps consult a vegan nutritionist. Don't forget your vitamin B12 supplement and perhaps also add one for vitamin D – the general population, not just vegans, are encouraged by the medical community to supplement both.
Keep experimenting. One of the great things about going vegan is all the discoveries – new foods, new ingredients, new recipes and combinations. Rather than settling into a routine and repeating the same dishes, take your newfound Veganuary wisdom and inspiration with you into February and beyond by always looking out for new things to try and unexpected ways to combine ingredients. The most amazing things are born through experimentation.
Connect with like-minded people. Toni Vernelli, Head of Communications at Veganuary, says: "Perhaps the most important step to help you stay vegan after Veganuary is to meet like-minded people. whether that is in person at a local vegan meet-up or online by joining a vegan Facebook group or following vegan pages in Instagram. It’s important that you don’t feel alone or isolated after Veganuary when there is so much buzz around vegan food. Joining these groups will also help you keep informed of all the new vegan products and restaurant options that are always being launched – which it turn will make staying vegan even easier!”
Chances are that after the initial transition period, you will find being vegan much simpler than you expected. Veganuary is the perfect time to give plant-based living a try, and with all the discoveries you'll have made during those first 30 days, staying vegan will be a no-brainer.
By Sascha Camilli
Sascha Camilli is a vegan fashion writer, speaker and activist. Her book Vegan Style is out now on Murdoch Books. For more about Sascha, you can read our interview with her. You can also follow her on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Cover image by Brooke Lark via Unsplash. Second photo by Edgar Castrejon, also via Unsplash.
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