So you signed up for Veganuary but are struggling to keep up with all the changes? Keep calm, there is no need to panic, feel disappointed or lose hope! Just like so many things in life, Veganuary doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and a setback doesn’t equal failure. Perhaps you couldn’t resist that cheese platter or salmon fillet, or maybe you were on autopilot in the morning and ordered your flat white with dairy milk. Does that mean that you failed and should give up on Veganuary altogether? Absolutely not! Just dust yourself off, explore your options and get ready to tuck into a delicious plant-based dish when meal time comes around again. Need some inspiration and tips to keep going? We got your back.
First of all, we want to make it clear that plant-based eating or vegan diet is not about restriction and you’re not doomed to be eating boring salads and going to bed with a growling stomach. Quite the contrary. Many of the things that you’re probably already eating are vegan - think hummus, guacamole, falafels, ratatouille, bean chilli, PB&J and, of course, chips… Also, don’t forget about the multitude of vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds and nut butters, as well as grains and pulses!
Our main advice would be to focus on all the foods you get to eat, and then get excited about the new, delicious things you’ll probably start adding to your diet. Don’t focus on all the things on the ‘NO’ list. There is so much delicious food to be eaten when following a plant-based diet so don’t waste your energy by thinking “Now I can’t have this and I can’t have that..”. Trust us, there is plenty of yummy veggie food out there, so no need to throw in the towel! How does, for instance, oven roasted veggies, with some pesto pasta and a creamy cashew cheese sauce sound? Pretty delicious, no? And completely Veganuary friendly. (Some tempeh chunks wouldn’t go astray in that dish, either - or in any dish for that matter…)
So, what are the best alternatives out there?
When it comes to reducing or eliminating animal products from your diet, the low-hanging fruits include things like swapping dairy milk in your coffee or tea to oat milk, for example - and ditto for porridge, pancakes, smoothies and creamy veggie soups. Oatly is our fave - their barista version is perfect for coffee!
Vegan cheese is also becoming tastier and tastier - Sheese, Violife, Follow your Heart, I am Nut Ok & Kinda Co are some of our favourites! And there are some incredible vegan yoghurts out there - our personal go-to’s are the Coconut Collaborative (made from coconuts) and Nush Foods (made from almonds). So delicious and creamy!
If you’re used to cooking pasta sauce with minced meat, swap the minced meat to, for instance, red lentils or to our tasty tempeh mince that has a lovely, meaty bite to it. (You need to try the recipe for vegan tempeh lasagne on our website - it’s utterly delicious!) Moreover, our tempeh rashers can be used instead of bacon and are guaranteed to give that satisfying, salty fix you’re after.
Veggie stir-fries are an excellent way to use up some wilted veggies and they can be made more fulfilling by adding some beans, tofu or tempeh into the mix. Easy peasy! Curries can be made with coconut milk and instead of chicken or meat, why not let tofu or tempeh soak up all the flavours of the sauce. There’s nothing wrong with just a vegetable curry and some rice either!
Basically, whenever you want to bulk up some dish (e.g. a curry, stir fry, soup, pasta sauce or chilli) and keep it vegan, lentils, beans, peas, tofu and tempeh are some excellent choices to go for. Additionally, nowadays many shops have various meat substitutes / “fake meats” to choose from if that’s your jam. Some of our favourites are by Linda McCartney, Moving Mountains, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods (not launched in the UK yet, hurry up pls!).
If you’re into baking or like an omelette, eggs can also be replaced with plant-based options. Chickpea flour can be used to make omelettes (it’s like magic!) and in baking, depending on the recipe, eggs can be replaced with anything from chia seeds, flax seeds, banana, fruit pure or plant-based yogurt. My Darling Vegan has created a create guide on how to replace eggs in baking and cooking. Check it out and get ready to hop back on that Veganuary train! You got this!
PIZZA & ICE CREAM (because, priorities?)
Don’t worry, you don’t need to give up your pizza nights either. Numerous pizza places now offer also vegan cheese, including Franco Manca (our favourite), Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, Zizzi’s, Papa John’s - just to name a few. One Planet Pizza also makes delicious vegan frozen pizzas. So, your pizza nights both in and out are secured. What about dessert? Fear not, vegan ice-cream is no longer a distant dream but reality - and it comes in various different flavours, prices, ingredients and brands. Think Ben & Jerry’s, Magnums, Booja-Booja, Cornetto... There is something for everyone, that’s for sure. And if you’re a fan of chocolate (who isn’t?), you can easily indulge in copious amounts of vegan chocolate. Some of our favourite brands include Vego, Ombar, Rhythm108, Seed & Bean (check the flavour to make sure it’s vegan) and Booja Booja. Plant-based eating and Veganuary sure ain’t about restriction and bland flavours!
P.S. More vegan, tempeh recipes can be found here!