Whether you are a Veganuary veteran or just starting out, Charlotte Willis explores the best activities to try this January.
Every year, the 31 days of January become jam-packed with reasons for vegans, and the veg-curious alike, to celebrate all things plant-based and ethical.
Whether you’re a first-time Veganuary participant or an experienced plant-based foodie, if there are 10 activities you need to do this Veganuary, these are them.
1. Whip up a feast for friends
The first and most delicious of the Veganuary activities to try this January is to take culinary ventures into the unknown and push yourself out of your day-to-day cooking routine.
You’ll soon discover anything you can eat, you can eat vegan. Once you’re comfortable, experiment with healthier alternatives such as tofu.
Vegan Veteran: It’s time to try a new dish! You already know how to master the basics, so take things a level up.
Experiment with novel ingredients such as aquafaba, and try recipes that require a little more time, ingredients, or effort than usual. Challenge yourself!
2. Get active in vegan groups
Meeting like-minded people is what the global vegan community is all about. We’re a friendly bunch (honestly!), here to offer support and guidance at every stage of your vegan journey.
Beginner: Vegan meet-ups happen quite regularly for some plant-based groups, especially during the month of Veganuary. If you’re a student, look out for veg-themed events at your student union groups, while other vegan groups can be found on Facebook.
Introduce yourself, and ask questions. The community is here to help make Veganuary easier and more exciting.
Vegan Veteran: Not your first Veganuary? Why not become a virtual mentor? With more and more people trying vegan every January, there’s likely to be a whole host of members and questions pouring into online communities.
3. Try vegan food from another culture
You might be surprised at how many dishes from around the world are accidentally vegan (or easily veganised).
Beginner: Many cuisines contain naturally vegan dishes, such as Ethiopian, Thai, Jamaican, Japanese, and Southern Asian foods.
Find a restaurant near you, and enquire about their vegan options before you go to avoid disappointment.
Vegan Veteran: Take yourself off to a street-food market and explore different cuisines and dishes you’ve never tried before.
Alternatively, use Instagram and blogs to find a vegan recipe from another culture, and help support your local markets by shopping for the ingredients.
4. Diversify your feeds
Veganuary is an ideal time to diversify the accounts you choose to follow on social media, increasing the number of plant-based influencers from different backgrounds, with different abilities and orientations.
Beginner: Whatever your preferred social media app, there are plenty of resources to help diversify your feed.
Pages such as Veganuary and BlackVegansUK are great places to start and can direct you to different accounts of plant-based creators, businesses and chefs around the world.
Vegan Veteran: If you’re already following a variety of influencers, go further this January by purchasing their brilliant books or e-books and engaging more with their content.
Offline, you can also support by changing shopping habits, and buying from LGBTQIA and BIPOC-owned businesses.
5. Veganise your home
A cruelty-free home is a significant part of maintaining a vegan lifestyle, and January is an ideal time to take a fresh look at your household cleaning products.
Beginner: Start by looking at the products you’re already using. Are they Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free (if you’re not sure what this is, have a Google!) or Vegan Society approved?
There are animal products and hidden animal testing practices in many common household cleaning products. A list of vegan brands (for all budgets) can be found online.
Vegan Veteran: Your Veganuary challenge is to become a kitchen alchemist, and whip up your own natural cleaning products from scratch.
There are plenty of blogs and recipes for simple kitchen cleaners, natural disinfectants, and even polish. Grab your essential oils and get creating.
Hungry for more?
6. Take a look at your cosmetics
Much like cleaning products, animal ingredients can be found in common cosmetics. Luckily, finding vegan, cruelty-free alternatives is simple.
Beginner: Take a look at your toiletries and cosmetic products and research as to whether they are suitable for vegans using the company’s website. If you’re unsure, use an ingredient checker. Not vegan? Don’t waste it. Instead, use these up first before sourcing ethical alternatives.
Vegan Veteran: Challenge yourself to go plastic-free this January, using ethical toiletries that are zero-waste. Some brilliant examples of this are Ethique and Beauty Kitchen.
Zero-waste toiletries are soaring in popularity and are even easy to make at home.
7. Upgrade your shopping
Next, break out of old shopping habits.
Beginner: You may start your journey by choosing to buy plant-based like-for-like swaps of favourite foods, but it can be expensive, and not always the healthiest option.
As you become more comfortable with veganism, tilt your diet towards more whole food plant-based foods, such as beans, fresh produce, wholegrains, nuts, and seeds.
Vegan Veteran: Could you go supermarket-free for a week? Source from your nearest fruit and vegetable market, zero-waste store, and independent health retailers to support your local community this January.
Second hand shopping is a great way to find bargains and reduce your fast-fashion consumption.
8. Get educated!
Out with the Christmas movies and in with the education on animal agriculture, the environment, and plant-based eating.
Beginner: Start by watching documentaries such as What The Health, Cowspiracy, and SeaSpiracy, as these will help you learn more about the effects of eating animal products on the environment. There are also plenty of educational blogs and YouTube channels for you to use during January.
Vegan Veteran: Dive a little deeper into topics such as fast fashion, seasonal eating, and proactive anti-racism within the vegan movement in order to expand your own horizons.
9. Go greener
Now is a great time to make conscious swaps to sustain throughout the year.
Beginner: Once you begin to settle into veganism, consider how your everyday habits can affect the environment.
Simple sustainable swaps, such as buying second-hand clothes more regularly and taking your own reusable coffee cup into work, can make all the difference.
Vegan Veteran: Why not encourage your place of work to make more ethical or sustainable swaps this January.
Challenge a colleague to try Veganuary, sign your office up for the Veganuary Workplace Challenge, or ask to swap out cow’s milk for oat milk in the office fridge.
10. Reflect on your why
For beginners and vegan veterans alike, January is the perfect month to reflect on the reasons why you decided to try veganism in the first place.
Take advantage of Veganuary as a timestamp, and journal, blog. Alternatively, you could take some quiet contemplation to think about all of the benefits, challenges, and purposes of being vegan.
This can really help cement your attitudes, increase your willpower (particularly for new vegans), and clarify your decision to give veganism a go.
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