Mark Paling posing with Veganuary sign in front of Prickly Pear

You made it. A whole month without cheeseburgers, and ice cream. Now what? Are you going back to your favourite steakhouse? Or did the vegan life suit you so well that your plan is to stick with it?

Whatever your decision is, here is some top tips that can help you understand better how a vegan lifestyle affects your body and the best ways to maintain a plant-based diet for a longer time or even adapt it permanently.

Veganuary is an initiative created by a non-profit organisation that encourages everyone to try removing all meat and dairy products from their diet. 

The challenge lasts for the whole month, and this year more than 5,000 people joined in to experience the benefits and disadvantages of the vegan lifestyle.

The organisation’s goals are to save animals’ lives, prevent them from suffering and help the environment. 

The Vegan transition for beginners

If you are a big meat eater and just started to think about changing your diet to a plant-based one, you might try buying the replacements that a lot of supermarkets are offering. For example vegan chickens made of soy or tofu, burgers and sausages.

Mark Paling, the owner of a vegan café, Prickly Pear offers hid advise for people who are taking their first steps into a vegan world.

”You can start with great fake meat replacements that will help you with transition.

“After that you can get into a creative side of veganism, get interested in the way that food is cooked and in the more philosophical aspects of it”

Local artist, Pete Spowage enjoying his breakfast at Prickly Pear café

Is this the lifestyle for me?

If staying vegan after the end of the month is something that you are interested in, the best option would be to first think about the reasons why you think veganism is for you.   

Jumping into a diet that is so restrictive without being sure of it, might result in “cheating days’’ or giving it up altogether. 

Writing a list with all the motives can be helpful in making a final decision. 

Here are some of the reasons why a lot of people choose veganism: 

  • Reduced risk of diseases 

  • Better metabolism

  • Compassion towards animals 

  • Care for the environment  

After you are sure that the vegan diet is something that you want to explore, think about new recipes and ingredients that will replace meat or dairy ones. 

Nowadays, there are many more vegan options than 10 or 15 years ago. 

The internet is full of ideas, groups, and YouTube channels that can help with transitioning into a vegan.   

If you just started your meat & dairy-free journey and are longing for a hot dog or a mac n cheese, there are plant-based options like soybean sausages and vegan cheese. 

However, bear in mind that these products are highly processed, so with time, you might want to expand your diet to some healthier choices like tofu, almonds, kale, and seeds. 

Everything takes practice and patience, so don’t give up during your first weeks or even months.

Give it some time and soon you will notice that looking for vegan alternatives will be a pleasure for you and not a burden. 

The effects of a vegan diet on body and mind 

Veganism might seem like a healthy life choice to change to, but without knowing how to supplement the nutrients, this can also be quite harmful.

Especially people who never tried a plant-based diet before Veganuary might discover that their body doesn’t respond in the same way as before. 

A common symptom of beginning vegans is feeling hungry most of the time. 

It happens when people only eat vegetables and fruits, forgetting that they also need other ingredients for them to feel healthy and strong. 

Wiktoria Jędroszkowiak, a young activist took part in Veganuary for the first time and was surprised by how her food consciousness changed and by the difficulty in giving up one habit.

“I stopped eating processed candy or cheese and the whole experience made me think more of what I eat.”

giving up cheese was definitely the hardest!”

wiktoria Jędroszkowiak

Wiktoria plans to continue her vegan diet because she has not experienced any negative symptoms and it has changed her perception of food.

Best places in Nottingham that offer great vegan choices  

Our city is home to many amazing restaurants and cafes which propose plant-based options. 

It is possible to try cuisines from around the world and to not have a limited few options. 

Italian – Bella Italia has some good pasta and desserts options as well as Vegan Margherita 

Indian – Tamatanga located in Cornerhouse has a separate vegan menu filled with delicious curries, biryani, and little extras.

Mexican– Iguanas offers a range of plant-based tapas, burritos, and fajitas that go perfectly with their 2for1 cocktails. 

Universal – Prickly Pear, a vegan café has its own Veganuary menu to try out! It proposes a new burger and lots of breakfast options as well. 

Whether you triumphed or failed with Veganuary this year, just know there are many benefits this lifestyle can bring, and that it is possible to persevere with this change in food diet!