We may already be near the end of the month but it's never too late to be a part of the amazing Veganuary challenge.
Being vegan means choosing to refrain from 'using any animal product for food, clothing or any other purpose'.
This notion might seem shocking at first, especially given how routine it has become to eat animal products and how normal it is for them to be used as ingredients in what we eat without most of us even being aware of it. Part of being vegan is to question the need for this 'norm' and to explore the many alternatives that we can use instead.
Before we do this let's get rid of all the preconceptions. Veganuary isn't about judgement for anyone, food should never be a source of guilt or punishment, it is the fuel we need to run our beautiful bodies. Veganuary is about being open to new ideas and hopefully making changes. It's about encouraging you to really think about your health, the welfare and treatment of animals and the effect our eating habits have over the environment.
We are creatures of habit so making big changes to our diets can be difficult to undertake and to be honest quite daunting. No one likes to think that we can't have something we want but being vegan isn't about being denied delicious food it is about us really thinking about the choices we make and to challenge ourselves to use a plant-based alternative instead. With Veganism growing in popularity there is now such a huge variety of food and support available, there really is no excuse to not try it for yourself.
The aim of the Pretty Local Challenge this month is for you to really think about what food you eat and where it has come from. It would be unrealistic to imagine a world where everyone is vegan, however it isn't unrealistic to imagine a world where people have more care and respect for what they choose to eat. In order for this to happen people have to be willing to change, whether that change means that you stop eating animal products altogether or you only eat meat twice a week instead of eating it everyday or you pay more attention to food labels and choose not to buy a product using unnecessary animal ingredients. It might just mean that you start to cook and bake more of your own foods. Whatever that change may be it is a change for the better
The key to implementing any change is research and preparation. Luckily the internet is a wonderful source of inspiration and has a lot of advice and recipes but to get you started here are some Pretty Local ideas on how to Vegan.
There is a lot of information out there waiting for you, some of it is upsetting to read but it's important that you do, spend time educating yourself and take responsibility for the choices you make, try and make better ones.
Think about your food habits throughout the day. Sometimes people are put off by veganism because they do not understand what there is to eat, we have become so used to animal products that we assume food can only be made in one way or that we won't like the taste of something else. Ask yourself are you doing things automatically just because you have always done them? Such as using cows milk in your tea or coffee - Are you willing to try something new? Why not swap it for one of the many plant-based alternatives available such as soya or almond.
You don't need to rush it and cook complicated meals. Start by looking at what you eat throughout a normal day and think about how to change it. Get organised with a meal plan so that you aren't struggling to think of meal ideas during the day. You could start by thinking about your favourite foods to eat and go from there. Experiment with different textures and flavours.
Check food labels. Animal products can be found in the most unusual items for the most unusual reasons so check the labels on food. You'll be surprised by what you find.
Get your 5 a day and then some. Really amp up that fruit and veg. There are so many easy ways to have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner- the more the merrier.
Just because you are eating Vegan, doesn't mean you have to miss out. There are so many amazing recipes for all of your favourite cakes, biscuits and sweet treats.
But are you getting enough... The answer is YES.
Here are some examples of where to get all the Protein, Calcium and Iron you need:
Dark Leafy Greens