15 Ways To Stay Meat-Free Even After Vegan January is Over
Wondering what on earth Veganuary is about? It’s exactly what it says on the tin: a campaign that focuses on eating vegan all January long. The first of January is when many New Year’s resolutions start anyway, and many find it easier to switch to plant-based food by starting it out for just a month. Veganuary isn’t about staying vegan forever; it’s just about trying out a meatless diet, discovering vegan products, and paying more attention to your eating habits and their environmental impact. The first Veganuary took place in 2014 so it’s still relatively new!
All you have to do to take part is eat vegan for the whole month of January. Doesn’t matter if you choose to do it alone or as a family. Many vegan organizations, as well as the initiators of Veganuary themselves, have newsletters and blogs with inspiration and lots of helpful tips to help you stay vegan.
The Veganuary campaign is bigger than it sounds at first: in 2021, more than half a million people from over 200 countries shared their experiences with plant-based diets on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok under the hashtag #veganuary. Adding some star power to the campaign, its official ambassadors include Alicia Silverstone, Joaquin Phoenix, and Paul McCartney.
Many supermarket chains, delivery services, and other companies in several countries support their customers with recipe ideas and special offers for January. And if you want to focus on staying vegan, we can help! Check out all our vegan products, including our unique Vegan Protein shake.
For your health, animal welfare, or the climate. There are several reasons to reduce your meat consumption and stay vegan.
Plant-based foods …
- require fewer (food) resources.
- lead to fewer CO₂ emissions.
- save water.
- involve fewer pesticides, because feed for factory farms is often heavy on the pesticides.
- contribute to less rainforest being cut down for agricultural use. By the way, soy for tofu usually does not come from rainforest deforestation. Read more about this in our article on soy.
- prevent animal suffering.
- contain (as part of a healthy diet) fewer saturated fats and trans fats.
- are packed full of many vitamins and minerals – as part of a balanced diet.
Find out more about vegan nutrition in our myth-busting article about veganism.
Veganuary makes plant-based nutrition easier by keeping the commitment small: staying vegan for a month. A limited timespan means you can experience what a purely plant-based diet feels like without committing for life, while trying out all kinds of vegan recipes in a relaxed way.
See Veganuary both as an opportunity to discover something new and a challenge to break some old habits like snacking on milk chocolate when you’re stressed. New flavors, new recipes, and a new feeling in your body. Like meatless Mondays, the Veganuary campaign is all about reducing your meat consumption in an easy yet effective way.
15 Tips for Staying Vegan After Veganuary
Pulling off a challenge for a month is one thing. But if you want to stay vegan or flexitarian and reduce your consumption of animal products forever, it’s a significant life change.
Because, at the end of the day, our shopping and eating habits are habits. And changing our habits can be difficult but, with these 15 tips, staying vegan even after Veganuary gets much easier.
#1 Do Veganuary right
Following through with a strict diet for a month can be difficult. But when you think about sneaking some cheese, grit your teeth and stay vegan instead! And sure, you can make your pasta bolognese just without adding meat or parmesan, but that’s no fun in the long run, and it’s not healthy either. A purely plant-based diet is not about eating your usual recipes with fewer ingredients, but about eating completely differently.
Take time to learn about new recipes, vegan products, and different foods. Put your focus on all the things you can eat now, instead of the ones you’re giving up.
For some healthy vegan inspiration and fitness recipes, check out our free recipe database.
#2 Eat your favorite foods – in vegan versions
What’s your absolute favorite meal? And what childhood dish have you been meaning to eat again? There are excellent vegan options for just about everything, with either vegan ready-made products or fresh ingredients as a base for sauces, meat alternatives, and desserts. Like our vegan Protein Brownies! You’d never know they’re purely plant-based!
#3 Vegan daily routine? Of course!
Start incorporating plant-based meals into your daily routine by analyzing your habits: What do you eat and when? When can you keep your usual foods and still stay vegan? Where do you need equivalent alternatives? Use Veganuary to find and test out these alternatives.
#4 Vegan on the road? No problem!
Classic to-go snacks aren’t usually vegan and let’s be honest, they’re often unhealthy. Vegan Meal-Prep saves time and makes sure you always have something ready to go. If you don’t have time for that, a good supply of healthy plant-based snacks is also a good idea for staying vegan wherever you go.
#5 Use Veganuary to learn about plant-based nutrition
Not just about food and recipes, but also about the nutrients you need. The first step is getting to know your personal nutrition needs. Once you know those, you can find the foods that fit into your fitness plans while still allowing you to stay vegan.
#6 Think about your habits during Veganuary
What were your favorite non-vegan snacks? Where did you tend to get your burger or fish and chips? Make an alternate plan about where and what you’re going to eat in advance to stay vegan and keep you from falling back on old habits in the heat of the moment. And: if in doubt, just ask! Most restaurants offer vegan options on request.
#7 Stock up
Make sure you always have your favorite vegan foods at home. That way, when you have a sudden craving, you can just grab something right away instead of staring at an empty fridge and frantically ordering pizza. If you don’t live with meat eaters or vegetarians, staying vegan is easier if you don’t keep non-vegan snacks around.
#8 Let your family and friends know
If you’ve been invited for dinner or a longer visit, it’s best to talk about your dietary needs ASAP. Be accommodating if they feel overwhelmed or aren’t immediately excited about adapting their plans for you. Offer to help with recipe development or cooking, or contribute to the menu yourself!
Make sure you take time to listen to any questions they have and explain why you’ve chosen to stay vegan, without proselytizing or getting caught up in your own enthusiasm, so you can all understand and share on equal footing.
#9 Find allies
Committing to Veganuary with a friend or in a group not only makes staying vegan easier, but also more fun! Share ideas for recipes, cook for each other, and go to vegan events together, The #veganuary campaign not only has tons of inspiration for your plant-based diet but also the opportunity to network and connect with other people trying it out.
There are various regional networks and groups and even some online! In many cities, and even in smaller towns, there are regular vegan meetups. The perfect opportunity to meet new people and learn from each other.
#10 Remember the big picture
If you’re wondering what the point of all this is anyway, think again about how much impact each decision can have and remember the values you want to live by.
The less grain grown for feed, the more acreage is available for food for people who often go hungry because the food grown on their doorstep is reserved for livestock. The climate is also better off, and the planet may stay livable a little bit longer for future generations. All because you eat fewer or no animal products!
#11 Subscribe to vegan newsletters
Newsletters have two benefits. First, they remind you that you’re not alone. Second, they make it easier to stay vegan with inspiration and tips for vegan cooking. If you can find newsletters from local groups or vegan restaurant databases, you’ll also be the first to know about new openings and happenings in your area. There may even be post-Veganuary social events around you.
For extra post-Veganuary inspiration, check out the foodspring 7-Day vegan challenge!
#12 Discover some vegan restaurants
The number of purely plant-based restaurants and those offering vegan options has been steadily increasing since 2013. In 2021, there were over 6,000 restaurants offering plant-based options across the UK. When you ask for purely plant-based dishes in your regular restaurants, that lets them know that there’s a demand, which sends an important message of support for climate-friendly and sustainable cuisine and makes it easier for everyone trying to stay vegan.
#13 Stay in the moment
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when something is meant to be forever, or even just for 10 years. That’s why it’s better to decide to stay vegan for a month first. Then maybe for another month, another week, another meal. Find a rhythm that works for you. That way, you get to decide again each time, rather than just submitting to external restrictions.
#14 Remember why you started
When you just can’t muster the energy to find something plant based, remember why you started Veganuary and why you wanted to stick with staying vegan afterwards. Is your little slip in motivation or that cheesecake really important enough to give up on your commitment?
#15 Imperfect is the new perfect
Every animal product you don’t eat has a positive impact on climate, animal welfare, and our natural resources. Think about it: if just half of the UK’s population eats one less steak a week, that’s about 132 million fewer steaks a month and 1.5 billion fewer steaks a year. That makes quite a few cows pretty happy and saves tons on feed, water, and transport routes and – if you weren’t eating strictly organic – on pesticides, too. Your decision makes a difference. Always. Remember these reasons for staying vegan whenever you have a craving and can’t stop thinking about milk chocolate, a fried egg, or a burger.
If you want to stay vegan after Veganuary, it helps …
- to want to change your habits in the long term.
- to understand vegan cuisine in all its variety instead of just the restrictions.
- to remind yourself of your values and the massive positive impact of plant-based nutrition on climate, animal welfare, global hunger, and your own health.
- to understand what’s in a healthy vegan diet that meets your needs.
- to network, inspire, and share with others.
More vegan healthy living tips from foodspring:
- 9 Tips to Turn up the Heat on any Vegan Grilling Experience
- Our Best Vegan Baking Tips and Tricks – and 10 recipes!
- Plant Protein – The Best Vegan Protein Sources
Sources for this article
We at foodspring use only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.