Having a wobble on your vegan journey? Here’s how to get back on the vegan wagon
It’s near impossible to be a perfect vegan. In fact, we’re not even sure if the ‘perfect vegan’ exists. Veganism is about doing the best we can to minimise harm, but it’s difficult to avoid all animal products because they’re everywhere.
From the medicines we need to the transport we use, many everyday things contain animal-derived materials. Does this make our ethical efforts pointless? Nope. Does it make us any less of a vegan? Absolutely not.
But choosing a plant-based diet is a fantastic step that anyone can make for their health, the animals and the planet. It’s the easiest way we can reduce animal suffering, but we know it’s a huge commitment to make.
So what happens if you fall off the vegan wagon? Here are our top tips to get back on track with your plant-based diet.
1. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
First of all, don’t stress. As a new vegan, you’re on a steep learning curve to discovering new recipes and foods. Sometimes it can be really easy to slip up, whether you accidentally ate some crisps containing milk, or you gave in to your cheese craving.
Remember that you’re only human. The odd mistake doesn’t mean you need to give up completely on your newfound lifestyle or 31-day vegan pledge.
Accept that you’ve fallen off the wagon and move on. You’re doing a great job, and with a support network in place you can receive the encouragement to keep going on your journey.
2. Remember Why You Signed Up
If you signed up to Veganuary to reduce animal suffering, you could watch documentaries like Earthlings, Dominion or Seaspiracy to remind yourself why you decided to remove animal products from your diet.
Likewise, if you signed up for health reasons, What the Health and The Game Changers have some great insights into the benefits of a plant-based diet. Or, if reducing your carbon footprint is your main driver, check out Cowspiracy.
3. Try Some New Recipes
If it’s pizza you’re missing, or you have a craving for spaghetti Bolognese, there are endless vegan recipes available to keep you going.
It’s possible to veganise almost any dish, and luckily most supermarkets now stock a range of vegan convenience foods if cooking isn’t for you. Check out our best vegan cookbook recommendations or visit the Veganuary recipe section for inspiration.
4. Be Patient
They say it can take up to three weeks to break a habit, and most of us will have been brought up eating meat, dairy and eggs.
Quitting a habit of a lifetime cold turkey (or should that be… cold tofu?) can be tough, and for some people it can take time and several attempts. A bit like giving up smoking.
Just because you’ve fallen off the wagon this time, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep going.
5. Make Sure You Eat Enough
Meat, dairy and eggs are calorie-dense foods, so when switching to a plant-based diet, you need to make sure you’re eating enough. For example, if you’ve switched to a whole-food, plant-based diet you may find that you need to eat more to obtain the same amount of calories that you were eating previously.
Yes, we’ve given you an excuse to eat more grub! Check out Dr Greger’s Daily Dozen for guidelines on meeting your nutritional needs and getting the benefits a plant-powered diet has to offer.
6. Find Vegan Friends
Everything in life is easier with the right support network and going vegan is no different.
Most towns and cities in the UK and Ireland have local vegan support groups to help you find like-minded people who will keep you on track, share tips and show you the best places to eat.
Fancy trying vegan with us this month? Sign up to our free 31-day email series, and we’ll help you every step of the way with recipes, tips and useful info.
PAGE UPDATED FEBRUARY 2022