beyond veganuary: staying vegan for life

Starting off the new year, you’re on a high of fresh opportunities and motivation. This makes January the perfect time to start a new lifestyle like veganism, especially when so many others are doing the same as they participate in the annual Veganuary.

But once January turns into February…what then? Are you still as motivated as ever? Have you lost your mojo and lack inspiration required for staying vegan long-term? Today’s post is for you and even for those who have been vegan for longer than a month but feel a tad stuck or drained. We’ve all been there: it’s just about how we address it and move forward from there.

Here are my top tips for staying vegan, today, this week, month, year and beyond.

Do your research.

How did you come across veganism? Was it piquing your curiosity as you walked through the grocery aisles or scrolled your Instagram feed? Maybe you were just finding a new diet to try to get healthier. If you haven’t already, do some digging into what impact veganism has on the world and yourself. If you have the intention of advocacy in your actions and choices, staying vegan is much more likely than if you have a single goal and achieve it.

Knowledge is also power when it comes to properly giving your body the energy and nutrients it needs to thrive. Being veganism comes with amazing health benefits, but you should also keep in mind certain vitamins and minerals that aren’t as prevalent when eating plants (but really most people are deficient in these minerals as well). They include Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and iron as the main nutrients that might require an extra supplement in your diet.

It’s also hard to adjust to eating veganism because plant foods are more calorie dilute than eggs, meat and dairy. That means to meet our daily quota of energy, we need to eat more than our fellow omnivores. So don’t deprive yourself! Recognize that you’re making a difference with every meal you eat, and go ahead and grab seconds if you’re still hungry. You might realize that adding in some daily supplements or eating more can be jolt of energy you need when staying vegan.

Meet other vegans.

If you live somewhere that isn’t yet caught up with the growing vegan population, that doesn’t mean staying vegan is a lost cause. Personally, I live in the small-town Midwest, and I only know two other vegans in person. My family isn’t vegan, and many local restaurants don’t cater well to my preferences. It’s discouraging, but it’s not impossible.

Seek out other vegans in person, if you can, or online. The online community of vegans can admittedly at times be aggressive about their beliefs, but there are so many people who are kind and welcoming of new friends and will be more than excited to help in your transition. Others can also hold you accountable for sticking to your beliefs, even when it gets difficult, and help one another stay informed and inspired when staying vegan.

Get creative.

One of the most fun parts about being vegan is trying new foods and recipes you might have never found otherwise. I’m guilty of spending my free time scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest, as well as watching a marathon of YouTube videos featuring vegan daily eats and recipe ideas. Not to mention all the blogs, websites, cookbooks, and other resources available offering awesome options to try.

Especially if you feel like you’re missing out on the foods you love but choose not to eat anymore, find a vegan version of it. There are tons of recipes out there for burgers, macaroni and cheese (a personal favorite), desserts, even fried “chicken.”

Don’t give up.

Most people cannot go vegan overnight. It’d be great if we just all flipped a switch in our heads and made staying vegan easy as (plant-based) pie, but that’s not how it works, and that’s okay.

The only “wrong” way you can transition to veganism is if you’re doing so for the wrong reasons. If you’re masking an underlying problem with food and dieting, you’ll misuse veganism and ultimately harm yourself. Be honest with yourself, and if you’re not going vegan right now to nourish yourself and/or support a healthier, more empathetic world, then don’t make any rash decisions until you can find that peace within yourself to make veganism an act of kindness for all, including yourself.

We all make mistakes. Even people you have been vegan for years make mistakes. Not all living situations are equipped to healthily support veganism. Some people’s bodies just don’t function best solely on plant foods. Again, it’s all okay. Allow yourself to make mistakes, especially when you’re just starting out. Rather than omitting foods, replace foods with vegan alternatives. If you can’t completely ditch your conventional diet, just eat more plant-based foods and have meatless days each week.

Ultimately, it’s your intention that matters. Staying vegan isn’t a one-size-fits-all lifestyle. As the vegan community continues to grow, we’re bound to see greater diversity and, with it, more recipes to share, more information to learn, and more people to support one another in this awesome mission.

You can do anything you set your mind to, including staying vegan. Nourish your mind, body and soul. Seek out health, and if you come across a vegan cupcake, eat it.

Mindful meditation: Holy Father, thank You for the abundant, beautiful world, one full of richly colored and nutritious plants. For those who set their intentions on becoming more compassionate through veganism, help us stay invigorated in our goals and live a healthier, more sustainable life. In Your Name, we pray. Amen.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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