Are you taking part in the Veganuary challenge this January? Last year, the number of people signing up to the challenge rose by 183 per cent compared to the previous January, with over 168,000 of us committing to a plant-based diet for the month.
Veganism is growing in popularity all the time, as more and more people recognise the benefits of a plant-based diet for health purposes and animal welfare reasons.
Many embark on Veganuary as something of a detox after the indulgences of the festive season, but others do it to see whether they could actually cut meat, dairy and other animal products out of their diets for good. Official Veganuary statistics from last year show that almost 29,000 existing vegans signed up to the January challenge to receive extra support, as there are so many brilliant vegan ideas shared throughout the month.
But if it’s your first time trying out a vegan diet, you might be worried about how you’ll make it through the month successfully, and without going hungry. Here are our top Veganuary tips:
Let’s Bust Vegan Food Myths
Firstly, you need to get over the misconception that vegan food is just ‘rabbit food’. Yes, it’s primarily plant-based, but that doesn’t just mean salads. From vegan burgers to a vegan roast with vegan gravy and from vegan nuggets to hearty vegan pies, there are so many indulgent and comforting vegan food options available nowadays, both to make yourself and to order when you’re out and about.
There’s no need to worry about whether you’ll be getting enough protein when eating a vegan diet either, as it can be consumed through nuts, beans and other pulses, and soy-based products like soy milk and tofu.
Meanwhile, vegans can continue to take in calcium from unsweetened soy drinks or rice milk, sesame seeds, tahini and bread, as calcium is added to white and brown loaves in the UK by law.
How to Substitute Those Hard-to-Give-Up Foods
A common barrier to people going fully vegan is that they worry about how they’ll cope with giving up the likes of cheese, bacon and their favourite burgers, but this doesn’t have to be an issue.
More and more vegan cheeses are cropping up in supermarkets, while vegan street food stalls and even vegan restaurants are now commonplace in most UK cities.
Nutritional yeast is a great cheese substitute that’s suitable for vegans too, while there are plenty of tasty recipes for more indulgent-tasting vegan food, like coconut ‘bacon’, which has a gorgeous smoky flavour, and dirty vegan burgers. Make sure you’re using non-stick frying pans for all your cooking, and you’ll be able to cook up your bacon and burger substitutes without losing any to your pans.
Tasty Vegan Recipes for Everyday
Vegan cooking doesn’t have to involve a lot of time and effort every day though. Simple one-pot dishes like our Circulon favourite mixed vegetable paella, which is packed full of different textures, or recipes that can be batch-cooked - such as our protein-filled African peanut stew and warming harira soup - are ideal midweek vegan meals for when you don’t want to spend too long in the kitchen.
Make sure you have a good-quality, large non-stick saucepan, and you’ll be able to cook up all kinds of variants on vegan soups and stews for office lunches and meals to put in the freezer for a quick reheat in the future.
Vegan Secrets You Need to Know
We’ve already touched on a few vegan hacks like nutritional yeast, but there are more vegan secrets you should know about before embarking on Veganuary.
For example, aquafaba, which is the water that tinned chickpeas come in, is often used as a substitute for eggs to make vegan meringues, mousses, mayonnaise and aioli.
Acquaint yourself with where you can get vegan chocolate from, and check the labels of your current favourite snacks, as you may be surprised to find that they’re actually vegan. Firm favourites like Cadbury’s drinking chocolate, Warburton’s crumpets, Bisto gravy granules, HP Brown Sauce and Lotus Biscoff spread all fall into this category.
Ultimately, Veganuary is an excellent opportunity to experiment in the kitchen with new ingredients and new flavours. Gourmet-standard non-stick cookware will support you with these experiments, and you can get 20% off selected products in the Circulon range with the code WINTER19 until the end of January! Shop our collection here.