The new year is a great place to start if you want to make a change in your life…. which is why Veganuary exists. Whether you are doing it for health, sustainability or animals rights reasons, a fresh year is very popular time to try veganism. New year new you… but also you are decreasing your carbon footprint (even just cutting out red meat will help with this)!
Living a fully plant-based lifestyle can be intimidating in the U.S., so I wanted to share some ways that can help you towards a goal of eating vegan for one whole month or maybe ever longer (especially in Salt Lake!)
Find Full Plant-Based Restaurants
Or at least some that have separate vegan menus or have multiple choices. It can be very hard to continue to go to restaurants that have only one vegan option (that you have to ask for no cheese to make good to go). Having a wide variety of options can make trying veganism feel less constricting and less like a strict diet.
If you are in Salt Lake City Area check out: Lucky Slice for pizza and breadsticks, Buds for sandwiches, Bombay House for curry, Ice Haus for German-inspired brats, Boltcutter for Mexican, Long Life Vegi House for Chinese, and Piper Down for brunch/bar eats.
Don’t Forget The Sweets
Being vegan has significantly cut down my sugar intake because most sweets have some form of dairy or eggs, but that doesn’t mean vegans shouldn’t have to cut out all buttery and cream-filled desserts forever. There are so many vegan options for ice cream and cakes and donuts and candy. And honestly, stuff made with coconut milk is so much better than made with regular milk.
If in Salt Lake City, check out Normal Ice Cream and Monkeywrench for cold sweets, Passion Flour for luxurious pastries, City Cakes and Cafe for gluten-free baked good options, and Big O donuts for the best cake donuts ever. Also notice that many sweets are accidentally vegan like Swedish Fish and Skittles.
Join a Local Facebook Group
It feels so much better to be a part of something bigger than yourself. To be totally honest, sometimes these people bother me, but it’s a fantastic resource if you want to keep up to date with local vegan news, good grocery sales, and little-known vegan menus. It makes me feel better to know that so many people are trying to better themselves and the planet through changing their eating habits. Plus, you are able to converse with others and comment on posts in a discussion setting.
If in Salt Lake, check out SLC Vegans on Facebook. Before I go to a restaurant, I always search the name to see if there are options that others have tried.
Host a Dinner Party
To go along with how to slow down and make the most out of the week, host midweek dinners with friends or family. You can choose to tell them that everything will be plant-based and instruct them to bring items accordingly, or cook large portions of easy plant recipes to share with everyone. Either way, it’s a good way to spread the word of eating plant-based, and it’s a plus that you also are spending time with friends.
My favorite affordable recipes to easily make a lot of include vegetable pasta, cauli tacos, and pretty much any sort of soup like minestrone or chili.
Try New Recipes
Sometimes, vegan sites suggest veganizing your favorite food when you first go vegan. But I think the exact opposite. It’s very disheartening to try and make vegan mac and cheese when you are expecting the creamy buttery Kraft noodles of your childhood(or college years), because you might be disappointed and want to quit. So take this time to branch out to different recipes that you’ve seen on Instagram and Pinterest and explore all the yummy things that plants can make.
My personal favorites have been any sort of risotto, marinated mushrooms, and interesting salads.
Focus On Buying Whole Foods for Your Health, Wallet and Sustainability
It’s great to splurge and let loose when going out, but veganism can also be expensive and unhealthy (and unsustainable!) if buying processed meat alternatives or soy products. Head to the fresh veggie aisle to help your body get all the colorful nutrients it needs, while also decreasing your plastic consumption. I can’t emphasize it enough that this is one of the ways to keep your veganism going for longer than you think.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About It
In marketing classes, I have learned that it’s not the who, what, where, or how that is the core of business, it’s finding out the why. The why is what helps lead you to how you do it. It leads you to the people that you interact with. It helps establishing exactly what you’re doing. So please feel comfortable telling your family, friends, coworkers, followers, fellow plant-buyers at the grocery stores, etc. about your choices and why you chose them.
And lastly, remember that making a choice to be a conscious consumer is the number one priority. Cheers to Veganuary!
Your full-time Veganuary and year-round plant-eater,