AVOID THESE TOP 5 MISTAKES WHEN STARTING NEW YEARS PLANT BASED
It’s the first week of the roaring ‘20s, and we couldn’t be more excited! It’s also the first week of Veganuary, the annual challenge sweeping the world. Since it was founded in 2014 it’s been growing rapidly.
Here’s what Rich Hardy, head of campaigns at Veganuary, had to say about it in 2019: “With a quarter of a million participants this year, Veganuary is finishing on an all-time high, I think Veganuary has reached critical mass now – vegan living is growing; it’s here to stay, it’s part of the national conversation and it has credibility. That’s great news for people, animals, and the planet.”
So what is it exactly?
It’s a challenge to start the new year off right, putting the planet, the animals, and your health first.
For 31 days you follow a plant-based diet, and they provide delicious recipes, easy meal plans, and helpful tips. You can sign up here. There’s also a wonderfully supportive Facebook community you can join.
Whether you’re up to the challenge or not, this is a great time of year to focus on adding more plant-based meals into your diet and focus on healthy living. So without further adieu, here are our top 5 mistakes many people make when switching to (or just trying out) a plant-based diet, and how to avoid them!
1. Stress, stress, stress
This is a surefire way to break down the most resolute willpower. Don’t let it creep up on you. Do what works best for you, whether it’s daily yoga and meditation, your morning coffee and a crossword puzzle, or a brisk walk in the chilly winter air.
Keep your routine, and remember all that’s changing is what you’re putting on your plate. It can seem overwhelming, or like there’s too much knowledge you have to absorb right away. You don’t have to! No one starts their plant-based journey without a learning curve and a few hiccups along the way.
It’s super helpful to surround yourself with understanding people and to find someone to ask questions of when you’re confused or unsure. Perhaps your plant-based guide is in the community mentioned above, or one of our very own Real Live Folks. Don’t hesitate to reach out!
2. Junk Food
Vegan junk food is so delicious and irresistible. Indulging in moderation is a necessary part of trying out plant-based. You won’t get the full experience of how great it can be without giving some junk food a try, just ask any junk food vegan foodie!
This doesn’t mean over-indulge, however. If you do – and we get it, it’s so easy to do – then you might end up with a stomach ache or a sugar crash. Try some of your favorite foods in their plant-based versions, just don’t overdo it.
When in doubt, keep your meals as close to the earth as possible. Whole foods are full of vitality and flavor, and they’re exactly what your body needs to thrive. We’d like to share with you an easy, healthy, delicious recipe to make our Baked Falafel Collard Green Wraps at home. They’re a perfect grab-n-go meal packed full of nutrition, and a great addition to Veganuary or #newyearnewme goals.
3. Restricting your diet
Plant-based doesn’t mean restrictive! Cutting out animal products doesn’t change the fact that your body is craving carbs, protein, and fats. Many people have given up simply because they felt starved. Who wouldn’t, if they were on a 10-day juice cleanse or living off salad?
Salad is great, cleanses and fasts have their place, but diving into a restrictive diet can quickly lead to feeling burnt out. This is why it’s so important if you’re new to this lifestyle to check out a few of the endless meal plans and helpful guides all over the internet.
Remember, many countries primarily live off of rice and bean dishes or potatoes. They’re filling, healthy, and easy to throw together. See this as a time to play around with fun, simple recipes on Pinterest. Not as a time to have the perfect Instagram food pics where dinner is some colorful berries, and nothing more.
4. Blindly jumping in
Again, it’s so important when starting out to have some kind of meal plan and to have someone you can go to with any questions that crop up. If you jump in blindly it’ll surely seem like too much all at once. Plant-based groups on Facebook are an endless well of knowledge and resources, so use them! No question is too silly. If you’re wondering something, then chances are someone else is too, so be the one to ask.
You likely know that meat, dairy, fish, and eggs are animal products. But what about gelatin, casein/whey, beeswax/honey, confectioner’s glaze/shellac, and carmine? Have you ever heard of them? If you’re of age, do you know if your alcohol has animal-derived ingredients? Pro-tip: Barnivore is a great resource to check if adult beverages are plant-based.
This is where the stress can set in, and why it’s important to be prepared. ‘Is It Vegan?’ is a great app to use while grocery shopping, and it’s available on the Google Play and Apple stores. Keep an eye out for the little V symbol on many products marking that it’s vegan, and save time by skimming to the bottom of ingredient lists to see where it says “Contains: Wheat, milk, eggs, etc.” This quickly rules out products you may not be sure about. If it doesn’t say contains milk, look through the ingredients for anything sneaky hidden in there.
5. Not knowing why you’re trying this out
It’s one thing to try going plant-based for a day or a week, but sticking it out for a month or more takes some dedication. The holidays may be wrapping up, but you’ll still likely encounter social situations revolving around food. Whether it’s donuts at the office or dinner with the family, keep your why in mind.
There’s plenty of wonderful reasons to go plant-based or take the next step and become vegan. Whether your reason is to transform your health, save 100 lives every year, or do your part in helping save our planet, your reason why is what will propel you through those initial cravings. Yes, even in the face of bacon or pizza.
We can’t wait to hear from you in the month of Veganuary. Share your healthy & indulgent meals, and your wins & struggles with us on Instagram using the hashtag #RealLiveFolks, or tag us on Facebook. Have an amazing 2020!