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8 Tips to Survive Veganuary (Even if You're Dialling KFC as we Speak)

Past you has a lot to answer for. Getting that questionable fringe that took years to grow out in year 9, leaving study prep to the last minute, and now having the genius idea to go vegan for January.

Whether you’ve always wanted to try going vegan or made the decision at 11.58pm on New Year’s Eve, now is the time when your saintly decision to help animals the world over is seeming more like a prolonged way of torturing yourself.

With only 8% of people actually seeing their new year’s resolutions through to the end of Jan, you deserve a pat on the back for having made it a third of the way through already!

If you’re longing for a cheese sandwich and thinking of throwing in the towel, here are eight tips to get you back on track that will see you completing (even enjoying!) the last few weeks of Veganuary.

8 Tips to Survive Veganuary by ireadpastbedtime.com

1. Stop trying to cook vegan versions of the same meal

A common mistake people make when embarking on Veganuary is to just cut meat and dairy from their diet, without really thinking of a replacement. Who wants to eat a Sunday roast when you can’t have the meat? Or go out for dinner and have a salad and chips? Vegan versions of your normal food choices suck, so you have to think outside the box with this one.

Do a quick google for vegan treats and there are SO many mouthwatering recipes online that have nothing to do with replacement bacon. Here are some of my favourites:

2. Embrace convenience food

We automatically associate going vegan with eating like some kind of primitive goddess, drinking green smoothies and harbouring a general hatred of sugar. You absolutely can go down this route if you want to ruin your whole life get the most health benefits from Veganuary, but if you’re struggling to make the habit stick, it’s worth remembering that there are a ton of vegan-friendly convenience foods out there. Here are some of my favourite life-savers:
  • Baked beans
  • Spaghetti Hoops

  • Nakd bars

  • BOL pots

  • Lots of tinned soups (perfect for speedy lunches)

  • Pasta

  • Peanut Butter

  • Hummus

  • Porridge

  • Bagels

  • Pringles

  • Bourbon biscuits (most brands)

A typical day in the life of a lazy vegan could be porridge made with lacto-free milk for breakfast, a peanut butter bagel with pringles for lunch and a huge bowl of pasta with tomato sauce for dinner. Sound vegan? Not really.

3. Join a support group

Ideally you’ll have roped in a pal to suffer through Veganuary with you, in which case start texting them/tagging them in memes for your daily dose of motivation. If you haven’t done this however, it’s a bit late in the day to get recruiting.

No fear, thankfully the internet is choc full of support groups designed with you in mind, so get joining and get inspired! Search Facebook or Pinterest for beginner vegan groups and boards, follow mouth-watering vegan instagrams like Yvonnes vegan kitchen, wtfveganfood and nomyourself, and get yourself some inspiration.

4. Prep, prep, prep.

We’ve come a long way in the providing for vegans stakes, but unless you indulge in at least some prep before setting off on another day in the life of a vegan, you will probably fail. Always check restaurant menus in advance of meeting pals (see the next point), pack a tasty vegan lunch (oh hi peanut butter bagel) and make sure to check out pesky areas of confusion like alcohol before hitting the pub.

Failing to plan is planning to fail, my friend. Don’t trip yourself up where you don’t need to.

5. Visit these restaurants

Not all restaurants are created equal where vegans are concerned, and you might be surprised about which offer the best food. Make sure to check out these options next time your mates suggest a meal out in Jan:

  • Wetherspoons

No joke, this is some of the tastiest and cheapest vegan food I’ve found. There’s a choice of chilli, curry, noodles and salad (as well as chips, yum), all for the prices we know and love.

  • GBK

I’ve ordered their Dippy Hippy burger even when I’ve been eating meat - so tasty!

  • Pizza Express

My personal experience of vegan pizza is that you’re far better off avoiding vegan cheese at all costs and opting for a tasty cheeseless variety. Pizza Express is my personal fave.

  • Wagamamas

You wouldn’t expect anything less, would you? Their yasai itame will send you to heaven.

  • Yo Sushi

Hang on, isn’t Sushi raw fish? Think outside the box, my friend! Their gyoza dumplings and firecracker rice are to die for. Plus edamame.

  • Las Iguanas

All hail the dedicated veggie vegan menu! Alongside curries galore, Las Iguanas offer a tasty veggie chilli and mushroom enchiladas.

6. Tell everyone you know, especially your most cynical friend

Science says that when you share your goals with others, you’re more likely to achieve them. That’s because telling people you’re plans makes you more accountable.

The problem with telling friends and family, though, is that most of them want to support you no matter what. So, while you’re mum will happily prepare you a vegan snack, she’s just as likely to be thrilled for you when you decide to go back to your carnivorous ways.

That’s why you need to find the most cynical, disbelieving miser out of your friends and family, and make sure they’re the one you tell. Wanting to prove that mother f wrong will be an extremely powerful deterrent next time you want to flake.

7. Make it fun

If you see going vegan for a month as a chore that you can’t wait to get over, you’re way more likely to fail. Embracing the challenge and making it fun will stop you getting bored and help you actually see this mother through to the end.

Don’t just stop at cooking vegan food, experiment with out-there treats like these dark chocolate avocado truffles, invite your friends over for an all-vegan dinner party, why not even join a vegan protest march? Embrace your vegan identity, and the time will fly.

8. Cut yourself some slack

I get it, you’re only human, and chances are at some point you’ll fall off the vegan wagon. Maybe you drink some wine and then realise it’s not the vegan kind, your Mum makes a delicious veggie curry but used butter to fry the onions, or you have a drunken mad one and accidentally eat a box of 20 McNuggets. Whatever it is, don’t beat yourself up, and definitely don’t throw away a month’s good effort over one teeny slip up.

Use the tips in this guide to get back on the horse, and enjoy your exploration of veganism. You got this!