'Vegans no longer live on nothing but lentils' - tips on giving Veganuary a go

I hope you have all had a great Christmas and New Year and are not too down in the dumps about everything getting back to some sort of normal.

Sunday, 2nd January 2022, 2:27 pm

Do people still make New Year’s resolutions and if so, what did you decide? To give up smoking? To give up alcohol? Was it about giving something up or making a positive change in your life?

One of the best things we can do for our planet is to live more kindly – by not consuming animals (land or sea) or their by-products, to make a conscious choice about non-food products we buy (like cosmetics, household products and toiletries, for example), and taking the cruelty-free option.

The Government has recognised the need to cut down on meat and dairy as has our own council in their ‘Supporting A Sustainable South Tyneside’ initiative, stating eating ‘fewer or smaller portions of meat….reduce your dairy intake – [is] one of the biggest ways to reduce your impact. A plant-based diet is also better for your health…’.

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Gone are the days when vegans lived on lentils alone.

Most people by now will have heard of Veganuary (my group has a huge pink digital advert up in ASDA car park) but there are other organisations like Viva and Animal Aid who do similar sorts of challenges.

If you think you would struggle with a full month, look at Viva’s seven-day challenge. Or look up Challenge 22 on social media.

All of these organisations have loads of support available for those wanting to change to a plant based lifestyle.

One of the best pieces of advice I would give is, if you have been thinking about doing it, just do it.

I was a vegetarian from the age of 14 until 12 years ago, and the reason I didn’t fully convert to veganism is that I thought it would be too hard.

But it really isn’t and one of the constant things I hear as a long term vegan is ‘I wish I did it sooner!’.

But it is important to do it properly too and for the right reasons.

I would advise following vegan or plant-based groups on social media and getting as much support as you need, and don’t feel daft about asking what you think are silly questions – we have all been there.

Groups like Veganuary will talk to you about how to ensure you are getting all of the nutrients and vitamins.

You can get everything you need by eating plants. Long gone are the days when vegans survived on lentils.

There is a cornucopia of plant based ranges out there now with all of the big supermarkets and restaurants falling over themselves to tempt us.

Having the right reasons for making the change will give you the incentive to see it through. Vegans are vegan for the animals, but some of us changed initially because of our concerns for our own health or the planet.

Whatever the reason you choose we all benefit, so give it a go.

Happy New Year!

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