Food & Drink’s Beth Sadler gives us a comprehensive run down on how to go Vegan this New Year

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Whether you are trying ‘Veganuary’, attempting to make a permanent change, or even just want to eat less meat in general, the transition into a plant based diet can be difficult. As someone who has been through the process twice, I know how hard it can be to adjust to the vegan lifestyle. However, since veganism has increased by 360 per cent in the last decade in Great Britain, this herbivorous diet is becoming more and more popular, meaning you are not alone in your battle to become a plant powered person. With most chain restaurants offering vegan options or even dedicated menus, you will quickly find that the adjustment is not as big as expected. However, just in case you find your eyes wondering towards the left-over Christmas cheese in the fridge, here are a few easy steps to follow in order to guarantee success.

Veganism has increased by 360 per cent in the last decade in Great Britain

  1. Do Your Research- Whilst veganism is growing in every aspect, this does not mean that just because Miley Cyrus or Leonardo DiCaprio chose this diet, so should you. Making an informed decision is crucial to success, as you must understand the consequences of cutting out some major food groups from your everyday dishes. Whether it be for health, environmental or animal rights reasons – make sure you have one. Acting on impulse will only lead to regret, and so you must be sure this is the right decision for you.
  2. Staple Dishes- Even before I went vegan, I was looking for and exploring plant based recipes that I knew I could cook and enjoy. Perhaps begin with ‘Meat-Free Monday’, using this scheme to discover some vegan dishes that, once you make the full transition, will become staple meals in your diet. BBC Good Food will become your best friend, with the internet being a source of thousands of ways to ‘veganise’ all your old favourites.
  3. Alternatives- Despite the vegan minority who stick to a ‘whole foods diet’, most of us miss tucking into a Domino’s on a Friday night without having to reluctantly ask the pizza man for a vegetarian without cheese. However, the increase of veganism has seen the increase of alternatives, with many companies offering cruelty free replacements to meat and dairy products. Iceland’s ‘No Bull Burgers’, Quorn’s ‘Fishless Fingers’ and of course Linda McCartney’s notorious sausages (renowned amongst vegans) all became regulars in my fridge. Even Ben and Jerry’s have a vegan alternative, meaning you can indulge guilt-free.
  4. Nobody Is Perfect- Let’s face it, there are bound to be minor slip ups along the way. If you wake up in the morning and realise you may have ordered cheesy chips with mayo last night – do not fret. For most people turning vegan doesn’t happen over-night, and it will take a while before you stop craving animal products entirely. So, if you find yourself ridden with guilt or regret, remember that life-style changes take time.

Hopefully, if you follow these steps you will soon come to realise that veganism can be both very exciting and easy. With the help of Oreos, the vegan aisle in Sainsbury’s, and frequent visits to Falafel Munch in Selly Oak, by the end of January you will have well and truly conquered veganism.