So, this is it. Veganuary is fast approaching and you’re feeling the urge to challenge yourself this new year. There are certain hesitations in your mind, that much is for sure. How will I cope without my weekly Sunday roast to keep me going through this bleak time of year? What will I eat when I’m out with my friends? How will I live without cheese? Do not fear, I will try and impart the little wisdom I have gained as an experienced vegan to prepare you for the coming month.
Firstly, you are going to miss cheese. This was the hardest thing of all for me to let go of - worse than chocolate, worse than ice cream, worse than poached eggs. The initial grief of this is only temporary, though, and it is important to focus on the bigger picture. Remind yourself of what you are doing this for, mental preparation is the best thing I can prescribe for these feelings of dread; give yourself some notice that you want to cut things out, and maybe try to do it gradually. Going cold turkey (if you’ll pardon the pun) is hardcore and can often lead to a more spontaneous attitude, meaning that you might quit just as quickly as you began.
The next point I’ll make is a pretty important one. It’s about the way other people will perceive your choice to go plant-based. While you’re probably sitting there thinking this is a choice you can make for yourself, so why should anyone else care, you’re likely to be surprised by some of the reactions you are going to get. People - and I am quite possibly talking about some of your family members here - are probably going to weigh in on this decision, regardless of how much they know about veganism. The whole lifestyle has become a buzzword due to its recent spike in popularity, and thus everyone now has an opinion on it.
Be prepared to take things they say with a pinch of salt, but don’t feel intimidated. Remember that it is your choice and a worthwhile thing to be vocal about. Importantly, you may need to consider how you approach the subject in conversation. It’s no secret that vegans tend to have a bad rep for being preachy about their views. This stems from a passionate, albeit sometimes frustrated, belief in the cause, but in reality it is best for all vegan-kind if you are a little less heated when talking about your lifestyle choices. Try and engage in the conversation with people who may be more open minded.
Lastly, you’ve gotta keep in mind that you are doing this for YOU. Whether you are in it for the long haul or just testing the water next month, it’s good to be prepared and I’m almost sure the aforementioned will resonate with a lot of you after 31 days as a herbivore.
Good luck and stay strong!