Our Top 5 Tips For Succeeding With Veganuary 2021
Veganuary In Ireland 2021: What You Need To Know
Its that time of the year again: January. More specifically, in the vegan and plant-based communities, Veganuary. Since 2014 over 1 million people from 192 countries worldwide have taken signed up for the initiative, which encourages people to eat a totally meat-free or vegan diet for the 31 days of January. As of January 1st, 2021, over 440,000 participants were confirmed for this year, making it the largest participation numbers to date.
There is also notable growth for Veganuary In Ireland. While the numbers aren't available just yet, RTE, the Examiner, and other news outlets have covered Veganuary in recent days, offering their tips for success and recipes to get you started. As we at Plant-Based Ireland are in the business of educating consumers on the numerous benefits of a plant-based, meat-free diet, we have compiled our top 5 plant-based nuggets below to help you succeed through Veganuary and more importantly make a lasting positive change for your health beyond this month.
1. Know That Plant-Based and Vegan Diets Are Not The Same Thing
This is the least talked about but the most important point within the plant-based lifestyle and vegan communities (In Fact, it was the first article we published 4 years ago on our site): Vegan Diets and Plant-Based Diets are different. Veganism is a philosophy by which one seeks to exclude the consumption of any product that contains animal-derived ingredients. A vegan diet, therefore, is a diet that contains no animal products or items that contain animal ingredients. A plant-based diet, on the other hand, is a diet made up of whole, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Just because a product is vegan, it does not mean that it is healthy. There are more "vegan" products available than ever including meat substitutes, ice cream, chocolate, pizzas, burgers etc that do not contain any animal ingredients. However, they are heavily processed and are not what one would call healthy. Whole fresh plants, on the other hand, are packed full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fibre which are essential to cultivate and maintain a healthy state in the body.
To summarise: The health benefits of plant-based eating are found in the fresh plants themselves, not in the absence of animal products. Eat as many whole, fresh, minimally processed plants as possible and minimise the intake of heavily processed vegan products
2. Start Small, Start With Breakfast
While the point of Veganuary is to go 31 days without animal products, not everyone succeeds in this. In fact, research shows that 92% of people who take up a new diet in January simple give up before the end of the month. To make a sustainable change, aim to make a plant-based breakfast each day as a starting point. While that might not seem like much, consider that going meat-free for 31 days in January amounts to roughly 8% of your year; eating a plant-based breakfast for 12 months equates to 33% of your year. As always, start small, and watch the more manageable changes build up tp results over the long term.
3. Educate Yourself
Education, or exposing your mind to new information, is the key to behavioural change. Educating yourself on the benefits and practical side of plant-based eating is the most optimal method of making long term, positive changes in your life. We have literally hundreds of pages here on Plant-Based Ireland covering the basics of plant-based nutrition. Check our Nutrition 101 section for the low down on protein, carbohydrates, fat, supplements, and more. Alternatively, check out our resource guide which lists our favourite plant-based books, recipe resources, documentaries and more. We also have our online course, Plant Based Basics, which is a comprehensive, step by step guide to anyone looking to transition to a plant-based diet.
4. Follow Our Veganuary Videos On Instagram
If, like most of the world you are on social media, altering your digital environment is a great way to expose you to and remind you of your new way of eating. There are literally thousands of plant-based accounts across multiple platforms such as Instagram or Youtube which will provide ideas, inspiration, and useful tips for transitioning to and achieving optimal health on a plant-based diet. We will be hosting daily live videos on our Instagram account starting Monday 4th January to answer questions, share recipes and more.
5. Focus On Addition, Not Subtraction
A guaranteed method of succeeding on a new eating plan is to place your attention on all of the foods you can now eat, rather than focusing on the small number that you are looking to avoid. A simple strategy of selecting 1 piece of fruit or vegetable each day that you have never tried before or are not used to is a small but manageable change that will add up over time. Consider trying a new recipe based on this vegetable, share it with your family or friends, and even if it's not for you in the long term, you have learned something new.
Key Take Away
If you are trying Veganuary this year, know that success and positive health benefits will come in the longer term. Look to make small, sustainable changes, avoid being overly critical of any mistakes you make and continuously educate yourself. Whether you are simply looking to try something new and reduce your meat intake a few times per week, or transition to a plant-based diet long term, patience, education and an open mindset will always help you succeed.
A vegan product contains no animal-derived ingredients; This does not automatically make it healthy
Posted by Greg Xavier, Plant Based Ireland Founder
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