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Veganuary? What’s that? It’s actually quite simple: Veganuary = Vegan + January. The idea is, to try to eat completely vegan for the month of January. After January, there is no further obligation and a complete change of lifestyle isn’t necessary. Veganuary is just a kind of challenge to test the vegan diet for 31 days, to test recipes and to try new things.

On Instagram (you can also always contact me there), 95% of you were actually interested in Veganuary. As promised, today I will give you all the tips that could help you in the Veganuary!

1. Preparation: Read and Research (helps to make informed decisions and stay motivated!)

Many who are new to Veganuary may wonder what is the point of Veganuary?

I will try to be as undogmatic as possible, but I still want to share some facts with you. Integrating more vegan dishes into everyday life and significantly reducing animal products is better for our environment. The amount of animal products that we consume, especially in the industrial nations, damages the environment and animals. I already laid of some of the facts in my last blog post, but here they are again because they are so important:

  • If we continue with our western diets, greenhouse gases will increase 80-90% from food production by 2050 (sources here and here)
  • More than 80% of farmland is used for livestock, but it produces only 18% of the calories and 37% of the protein intake we consume in the world (source)
  • Overall, food production accounts for 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions and consumes about 43% of usable land, which is non-ice-covered land or not desert landscape (source)
  • Regarding Health and Climate Change: ‘We project that health and climate change benefits both contribute to the lower the fraction of animal-sourced foods in our diets.’ (source)
  • And if we want to limit deforestation, which is necessary to preserve biodiversity in the world, then a mainly vegan diet is the only truly feasible form of nutrition to achieve that, if we also want to adequately feed the world’s population (source)

 

Questions about a Plant Based Diet: I’ve already answered 100 questions from you guys from Instagram about vegan nutrition in these two blog posts, here and here, . Maybe that will help you a bit, or maybe your biggest questions will already be answered. In any case, I think these two articles are the perfect jumping off point.

Other books that I can recommend, but not a must: Skinny Bitch, How Not To Die, Eating Animals, and Vegan Cliche Ade

Documentaries: I prefer read than watch when I want to inform myself, but documentaries are always very memorable! e.g. What The Health, Dominion, Earthlings, or the Tomatolix YouTube video

 

2. Shopping List

I’m probably unpopular with some super vegans, but first finish all of the non-vegan products that you already have that do not last long or give them to friends or neighbors. I hate it when food is thrown away, vegan or not! You do not have to be 100% vegan from January 1st. It’s about the transition and the challenge and the journey is the goal!

And maybe your next step in veganuary will be to visit the supermarket. I have been vegan for over 7 years, so I can only give my personal tips on how to do it in the supermarket. You need to know that I try to eat as much whole foods as possible. I don’t forbid myself from eating anything, eat packaged or processed products, white bread and normal sugar, but in moderation and try to cook at home using only whole foods. I also do not buy everything at once from the list below, but usually have 1-2 products from every category at home:

  • Vegetables:
    • I try to bring in as much variety as possible during the week to cover all the nutrients and vitamins that I need! That’s why I do not have an exact list, but I buy a mix of:
    • Green vegetables such as lettuce, spinach (mostly frozen), kale (mostly frozen), zucchini, etc.
    • Paprika (high vitamin C content)
    • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage etc.
    • And of course standards like potatoes, onions and garlic, ginger
    • Etc.
  • Fruit:
    • Here I try to buy whats in season, but mostly I always have:
    • bananas
    • apples
    • Blueberries (mostly frozen)
    • Lemons
  • Pasta & other cereals / carbohydrates:
    • I try to buy wholewheat whenever I can: wholewheat pasta
    • millet
    • Brown rice
    • Wholewheat, some may not like this, so other whole grains is also an option, e.g. Greens, wholemeal wheat, buckwheat, millet, etc.
  • Breakfast cereals:
    • Oats (great whole grain product!)
    • Crunchy granola
    • Etc.
  • Nuts & seeds (I snack on them, add them to smoothies, or make sauces or pesto):
    • cashews
    • walnuts
    • hemp seeds
    • pumpkin seeds
    • Sunflower seeds (pretty cheap)
    • Flaxseed (I always have it at home and eat it every day!)
    • Sesame seeds
    • almond butter, peanut butter, tahini and cashew butter in a jar (without salt or other additives, relatively expensive!)
    • Etc.
  • Canned goods:
    • Of course, you can also buy these dry and cook them yourself, but for beginners or if you need to whip something up fast canned products are the easiest
    • beans
    • Chickpeas
    • canned tomatoes
    • coconut milk
    • Etc.
  • Other protein sources:
    • Green peas – I usually buy them frozen and then use them spontaneously, just add them to sauces, for example
    • Tempeh – I LOVE tempeh and swear on it! I usually buy turmeric tempeh from the company Tempehmanufaktur (unpaid advertising, haha)
    • Tofu: Phew, there you have to try out different types for yourself, I often buy nature, organic and from Europe, and marinate it myself, but as a beginner I recommend one of the flavored typhoon tofu – these are the best (unpaid advertising)
    • Lentils, I like to buy red lentils, they cook the fastest
    • Then my personal preference, but not a must: soy granules (eg for Bolognese)
  • Spices, vinegar, oils and similar:
    • Nutritional yeast – a MUST for the vegan kitchen 🙂 I like the nutritional yeast from Dr. Ritter, which can be found in the health food store, the most
    • turmeric
    • Cayenne pepper, pepper
    • Holy Veggie spice by Sonnentor (advertising without commission, I just love)
    • Miso paste
    • Tamari
    • Kala namak salt
    • vegetable stock
    • balsamic vinegar
    • mustard
    • And of course spices that you like, basil, oregano, etc.
    • I cook without oil, just with some water, and usually bake without oil, e.g. oven potatoes, which is why I have few tips for delicious oils or vegan butter
  • Vegan Milk Alternatives:
    • Here you have to honestly try out what you like the most, here are my favorites:
    • Oatmilk, almost any, my absolute favorites are: Joya oatmilk unsweetened (in the Rewe), because it’s delicious, foams great and the price is ok for me (1.99 Rewe online), as well as Oatly Barista, added vitamins, tastes good and also foams very well (but quite expensive !!!) – advertising without commission
    • Soymilk – almost doesn’t really matter which brand, as long as it is organi
  • sweeteners:
    • I also have normal sugar at home, as I said, I’m not so dogmatic, but I try to use it as little as possible
    • Maple syrup – great for baking and pancakes 🙂
    • Dates – great for smoothies!
    • rice syrup
  • protein powder
    • Only for gym rats, haha, not a must, but I’m often asked which protein powder I recommend, and the products of Vivo Life (unpaid advertising) are by far my favorite
  • Supplements:
    • In 30 days, you do not have to worry about it (if you’re sick or pregnant or any other special circumstances then talk to your doctor before you do this challenge), but if the question comes up: I supplement vitamin D and vitamin B12 regularly and sometimes take a 100% natural multivitamin preparation

 

3. Dr Greger Daily Dozen Checklist & Peta Checklist

I do not want to give any health recommendations, or any health advice. I do not believe that you have to exclude certain foods for health reasons (unless you are allergic). My personal opinion is “All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; but it’s all about the dose.” (Paracelsus). That’s why I do not say that you can only live well with the Dr Greger Daily Dozen checklist. But it helps me personally to bring variety into what I eat, to think of new dishes, and if I can’t decide what to cook then I just think what I am missing from the Dr Greger checklist and cook it! Here you can find a picture of the list (you can print it yourself, there is also an app). In the checklist you will find:

  • beans
  • Berries
  • Other fruits
  • flax seed, ground
  • nuts
  • spices
  • cruciferous vegetables
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • More vegetables
  • whole grain food
  • Drink enough
  • Workout, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.

 

I also find the Vegan Food Pyramid from Peta helpful. As I said, as a guideline and help, if one can not remember what to cook and eat!

 

4. Vegan Cookbooks

I am old school and I like to cook from books. You do not have to buy a vegan cookbook library for the 30 days. But you should get a book (in my opinion, haha) in any case:

“The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook” by Jo Stepaniak – I know it’s not super cheap, but worth it for all cheese lovers. In this book, you will find light and delicious vegan recipes from Mac’n Cheese, to solid cheeses, spreads, pizza cheese, nacho cheese to fondue! With many cheap variants!

Other books that are not a must, but that I like because they have simple and delicious recipes are:

The Vegetarian Kitchen by Mellissa Bushby
The Ohsheglows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

 

5. Vegan Food Blogs

You can also easily find so many recipes online for free. There are SOOOO many, where I do not understand how they function for the cook, because they do not work for me. Again, there are ups and downs. For beginners I can recommend (there are of course many more, but I do not want to overwhelm you):

  • Ohsheglows (I started cooking vegan 7 years ago with this blog!) The old recipes were all so easy and I actually found 99.9% of the ingredients in the regular grocery store which was great because there was no vegan trend at the time)
  • The Minimalist Baker (super simple recipes with as few ingredients as possible)

 

 

6. Easy & quick recipes that I love

This was your biggest wish and I will just try to share my dishes with you over the course of the month. As a start here are my favorite dishes on my blog:

 

My “magic formula” in cooking actually always looks like this:

I start with vegetables or with a protein, e.g. Potatoes or tempeh, and create a dish around it. For example, Baked potatoes with salad and chickpeas. Or fried tempeh with pan vegetables, tomato sauce and rice. Or whole wheat pasta with almond sauce and peas. Or mushrooms with spinach, zucchini and tofu in a soy sauce with polenta or millet. A super easy option that just always works, no matter whether in the middle of the day, in the evening, or on the go: Buddha Bowls! Simply combine a carbohydrate with various vegetables, healthy fats and protein and a dressing in a bowl. Just google it!

If something does not taste good enough, I will pep it up with:

  • Nutritional yeast
  • Almond butter
  • Holy veggie spice
  • Soy sauce / Tamari
  • some sweetness (for example a teaspoon of maple syrup)
  • mustard
  • and / or miso paste

 

 

7. Veganized Dishes

This was also one of the main things you guys asked for! I’ll try to share the best veganized recipes here during the month. Here are a few that I can already share with you:

 

Write in the comments what you would like veganized!

 

8. Experiment

At the beginning of my vegan transition, I cooked a recipe from cookbooks or from Ohsheglows every day. Pretty soon you have the basics of the vegan kitchen down and then you can starty to experiment! If you are looking for alternatives, google, but also test yourself! So far I have been able to cook a vegan alternative for EVERYTHING (or at least almost everything)! Even for vegan macarons, lasagna and fondue!

 

9. Eating out as a vegan

I already have a blog post for this! Have a look over here!

 

10. Vegan on the Road / Traveling as a vegan
  • Let me know if you need special tips (go vegan out of the post via the blog post)
  • Take a look at the Vegan Passport app, which could be handy for you on the road as well, this app is for free, is a bit simpler, but works well too!
  • Just like the Facebook group Vegan Travel! There are great tips shared here!

 

11. Vegan Support-Groups

 

I hope I could help you a bit and did not overload you with too much information! Leave your feedback, your requests, etc.! I am looking forward to the conversation!

PS: You can read about why I started eating vegan here!

PPS: You can also always contact me with feedback or questions on Instagram!

PPPS: Photo credits: Edgar Castrejon via Unsplash, as well as Charlotte KarlsenAnna Pelzer & rawpixel 

 

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