[FOOD] Can YOU go vegan for a month?

I was letting CheapLazyVegan’s videos play on autoplay and came across this video. I had seen it before, but something stood out to me this time: Veganuary. For the month of January, people take on the challenge of eating vegan for the whole month of January.

It’s a challenge I actually want to ask my friends and family to take on! Go check out the link and see if you’re interested, even if it’s because I am challenging you.

I went dietary vegan earlier this year and experienced weight loss (!!!!!!), more energy, and happiness. Of course, this mainly has to do with the fact I am on a mostly whole-foods plant-based diet (meaning I eat primarily unprocessed and minimal processed foods). My diet is inspired by The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall. It’s not exactly the same, but I end up feeling full and, usually, feeling good after a meal.

For those considering taking on the challenge for the month of January, I present to you some simple videos and website links.

Before you start, definitely check out the Veganuary website for some ideas on nutrition and *Peta2’s eating out guides. Nutrition in veganism is actually a lot easier than it sounds and lot of the nutrients vegans have trouble getting are no different than the ones omnivores have trouble getting. Eating out can honestly be trickier, but you can do it! (And watch out for those veggie burgers; they are not vegan, usually!! Why are they not vegan? Because they are made with milk and eggs and milk and eggs are not vegan.)

Recipes

If you’re going to be vegan for a month, you are definitely going to need some recipes. While there is an increase in convenient vegan food for purchase, the healthiest and cheapest are going to be the ones that you end up cooking yourself.

YouTube Channels

CheapLazyVegan

Rose is adorable and her recipes really are cheap and lazy. Most of them consist of just throwing things into a pot and a blender. Okay, there is a bit more to it than that, but that’s kind of what it is.

I definitely recommend checking out her whole channel!

TheHappyPear

Run by a pair of twins and owners of a shop of the same name, they share recipes varying from cheap and lazy to complicated and expensive. Above, I embedded their 5-minute (or probably 10-minute if you’re doing it by yourself) dinners. Definitely check out their channel for additional recipes.

Edgy Veg

I recently found out about this channel through her collaboration with CheapLazyVegan. She posts a TON of recipes. The playlist I linked is of her vegan-spins on fast food and other sorts of junk food. For instance, if you are craving a McDonald’s Big Mac during your Veganuary, you can try her Vegan Big Mac recipe. Of course, she has far more than junk food on the channel.

Guilt Free Vegan

While GFV isn’t just a recipe channel, it has plenty of delicious, healthy, and oil-free recipes! Heck, I used his tofu scramble recipe as the basis for my own. Definitely check out not just his recipes, but his channel as well. There’s a bunch of information about nutrition and vlogs of his daily activities and how eating vegan helps him day-to-day (he works out, so if you head to the gym and need some ideas with being vegan while working out, seriously, check out his channel).

These definitely aren’t the only channels out there; go search, explore, and subscribe to more!

Blogs

Minimalist Baker

http://minimalistbaker.com/

A large majority of the recipes are only 10 ingredients or less, making Minimalist Baker a great go-to for relatively quick, easy, and healthy vegan recipes.

Connoisseurus Veg

http://www.connoisseurusveg.com/

It’s kind of hard to go wrong with a vegan recipe blog that uses a T-Rex as its mascot. (Some of their early recipes are vegetarian, so just omit the dairy, eggs, and honey from the recipes, if they are there.)

Peta2’s Recipes

http://www.peta2.com/recipes/

PLEASE DON’T JUDGE ME! I genuinely like their recipes! Many of them are simple and, heck, fall into a sort of junk food category, making it actually a pretty good place to start if you are just coming to veganism. I’ve done both their smashed chickpea & avocado sandwich and breaded heart-of-palm sticks. The former was pretty good and amazing after I threw dijon mustard in it and the breaded heart-of-palm stickers were DELICIOUS. Go take a look!

Nutrition

If you have nutrition concerns about going vegan, whether it’s because someone you know went vegan and had trouble nutrition-wise or you heard some common myths like vegans don’t get enough protein. Take a look at some of these links below to learn more, so you are prepared when you dive into veganism for a month.

With vegan nutrition, some people tell you to worry. I personally don’t agree with that – I believe in being curious and making adjustments accordingly. Honestly though, it’s not as hard as it seems.

If you are still super concerned after getting information, check out the vegan plate diagram to see how to make your plate balanced in nutrients.

Ethics/Environmental/Health

Most people are familiar with the animal reasoning behind someone going vegan. Many don’t quite know what goes on behind the scenes through of places such as factory farms that drive people to become vegan. Nor do they realize the amount of damage animal agriculture is having on the environment. Or that consuming animal products may be the root cause of many health issues.

Bite Size Vegan

I mentioned her channel above due to her nutrition concerns playlist, but the bulk of her channel has to do with the ethics of veganism. I linked to her kid’s playlist above as it’s not graphic, but definitely informative as to why vegans don’t consume or use certain things. Her videos are well-thought out, respectful, and she does a great job at delivering the facts.

Mic. the Vegan

Another informative YouTuber who lays down the facts, although in a different way than Bite Size Vegan does. His videos cover all aspects of veganism, although much of it is the health aspect (probably because that is what got him interested in veganism in the first place). He also has some pretty good humorous videos as well, like his Overrun: After Math of a Vegan World fake video trailer or his “Veganisms Extreme” rap music video.

Gary Yourofsky

If you are a sensitive person, I actually do NOT recommend this channel unless you know how to “shield” yourself; Gary has a way of speaking that sounds very angry and may upset you otherwise.

That being said, Gary Yourofsky is one of the most well-known voices in veganism and is strongly for the ethical side of things. If you want to know more about why people go vegan, check out his speeches. To start, I would recommend watching the speech he did with a friend of his that isn’t as harsh as some of his other ones (warning though: graphic footage). After that, continue your way up.

For documentaries, I would recommend Vegucated for young adults and Forks Over Knives for older adults. There are numerous other documentaries as well (Cowspiracy, Earthlings), but I have not seen them. See them if you would like to.

Hopefully, this is all enough to get you started on Veganuary!

However, before I end this post, I want to talk about what I am going to try to do for Veganuary! I am already a dietary vegan and try and make efforts where I can for the ethical portions (although some of the stuff, like removing the leather from my car, will take a while because moneh moneh moneh), so I’m going to be trying to post recipes all month long! Heck, I’m going to start on New Years Eve, just so you guys can get a head start in trying out my recipes!

Whatcha Gonna Need

If you plan on trying my recipes, heck, if you plan on trying Veganuary, here are both my recommendations and my necessities. Take a look!

Food Items

Spices

  • Nutritional Yeast – a chalky, cheese-like substance made out of dried yeast; make sure to get a B12 fortified one, such as Red Star’s Nutritional Yeast (recommended!!!). I find Nutritional Yeast can be kind of difficult to find outside of health food stores. These tend to be on the more expensive side (just over $5), but you get quite a bit. Nutritional Yeast can be AMAZING depending on what you combine it with and I personally recommend it. You should eat it even if you are not vegan because reasons oh ho ho ho ho
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Iodized Salt (I’m just going to assume you’re not having a sea vegetable of any sort, so you’re gonna need that iodine)
  • Black pepper

Actual Food

  • POTATOES; preferably golden/yellow potatoes, although red potatoes and russet potatoes may be okay too
  • Sweet POTATOES
  • Whole wheat pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • Brown rice (or rice of your choice)
  • Onions
  • TOFU (both regular tofu and silken tofu)
  • Plain beans of your choice (MAKE SURE THEY ARE NOT COVERED IN PORK OR SOME OTHER ANIMAL PRODUCT)
  • Veggies of your choice, either frozen and/or fresh (I recommend carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale at the very least)
  • Fruit of choice, either frozen and/or fresh (I recommend frozen for smoothies)
  • non-dairy milk (almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, etc.)
  • Flax seed (either ground or whole to grind later; these can potentially be expensive, but they are worth it; good source of omega-3’s!)

Obviously, this isn’t everything, but just something to start. Check back tomorrow to see the first recipe!

Another thing to make sure you have for Veganuary is storage containers for food. Leftovers can be your friend!

If you are already vegan and/or vegetarian OR an omnivore who doesn’t eat too much meat, I recommend a B12 supplement. Look for the cheapest vegan-friendly one or make sure that your foods are fortified with it and you are having them all day long.

Omega-3 supplements and Vitamin D may be recommended as well. If you are unsure, go to a doctor and get checked out for your nutrient levels.

I hope this was enough to start you guys off! See you tomorrow for some delicious recipes.

*Yes, that Peta! While I am not a fan of some of their tactics, I can genuinely say they have helpful guides and recipes on their website.

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