January. The start of a new year, and with it many pledge new year’s resolutions or take on a monthly ‘challenge’. 2019 has seen the best Veganuary to date, with ‘500,000 people across the world have now taken the ‘Veganuary pledge’, and judging by what past participants tell us, for every 10 who took part in the challenge, 6 will stay vegan’*. People have many reasons for signing up to live a plant-based lifestyle, but no matter your reasons, 2019 saw the ‘rise of the vegan’, with many many main-stream chain restaurants launching vegan menus and media mentions – who hasn’t heard of Gregg’s vegan sausage roll?!, making it much more accessible, whether starting your journey or a vegan veteran. 

If you wish to carry on living vegan, help is on hand. Esteemed blogger, VeganOlive shared with us her tips for continuing a vegan lifestyle:

“I know people feel challenged when partaking in Veganuary, worried about what you can eat, how will family and friends feel, how easy is it. As a vegan of over 30 years I can honestly say 2019 has never been a better time to turn to a vegan lifestyle, information is readily available, there are so many ingredients and products to buy and recipes to follow.

My advice to those continuing after Veganuary is, do not beat yourself up if you slip up. Whether caused by confusion in a restaurant, or you misread a label, it happens. Food labelling is much better these days, but understanding the various names for different ingredients takes time. I used to carry The Vegan Society Animal Free Shopper with me everywhere I went, as there was no internet back then, but now I can read a label easily and determine if a product is vegan or not, so it does get easier.

If family and friends have concerns about your health, do some research and explain a well balanced vegan diet provides the necessary nutrition needed. If you like cooking, offer to make dinner one night and WOW them with variety of vegan ingredients. People’s impression of vegan food is brown, bland and boring, when in reality vegan food is vibrant, interesting, eye catching and delicious. Or if cooking isn’t your forte, dining out is a doddle these days, with restaurants offering vegan options or even vegan specific places popping up nationwide.

If you’re concerned about clothing, leather shoes and wool clothing for example, start small. Not everyone can afford to throw everything away and buy brand new immediately. Look at alternatives and make gradual changes to your everyday beauty and household products too.

Look for support online or local vegan groups to talk with like minded people who can help with any questions and learn something new.  One of the best apps I use is Happycow, an online resource to help you find places to dine. Or if you find a place not listed, share it so others can visit it too!

Remember no one is perfect, there are no rules about veganism, just do your very best, the animals and the planet will thank you for it.”