Veganuary: Tips for switching to a vegan diet


Writed by - Andy Gocker
  Veganuary: Tips for switching to a vegan diet
Are dishes with meat or vegan? With a few tricks, even convinced meat fans won't notice the difference. © HelloFresh, SpotOn

Action month in January

According to a survey, almost half of Germans have resolved to eat healthier in 2023. The Veganuary campaign month helps to put good resolutions into practice right at the beginning of the year. The goal of the initiative, launched in 2014, is to live vegan during the month of January. The following must be observed.

motivate yourself

With a clear goal in mind, it is easier to complete the challenge. Before starting the veganuary, it is worth considering what you want to achieve with the change in diet. There are many reasons for a vegan lifestyle, as can be seen from the nutrition report of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture: 75% of those surveyed stated that they used plant-based alternative products out of curiosity. 71% want to support animal welfare and 64% appreciate the taste. 47 percent justify their decision with health aspects.

The latter also raises Dr. Alexa Iwan in an interview with the news agency spot on news: 'The reduced intake of animal fats and the simultaneous increased intake of secondary plant substances and fiber reduces the risk of various widespread nutrition-related diseases - such as cardiovascular diseases, type diabetes 2, high blood pressure or cancer.'

Get informed

Information is just as important as motivation: Knowing exactly which foods belong on the menu and which do not is the basic requirement for a successful vegan diet. The good news first: Little has to be sacrificed. However, meat and fish, dairy products, eggs, honey and animal processing aids such as gelatin are taboo. If you are unsure, look for the 'V' seal when shopping. It identifies vegetarian and vegan products.

Some supporters of the Veganuary initiative even take care of checking the ingredients for you, including the meal kit provider HelloFresh. This offers cooking boxes with exclusively vegan ingredients and brings them directly to the front door. 'Our goal is to make the introduction to a purely plant-based diet as easy, tasty and exciting as possible for all participants and interested parties,' explains Christopher Hollmann, Interim Director at Veganuary. With this and other campaigns, he hopes to be able to inspire even more people for the month of action in the future. Because there is no way around the purely plant-based New Year's resolution this January.

'In retail, in restaurants and in delivery services and cooking boxes, on the train and car, you can see the Veganuary everywhere this January. With Veganuary posters and our prominent supporters, we are motivating everyone to take part in the month of action at the turn of the year,' says Hollmann further out. 'But the points of contact with the campaign are even more diverse: in the office, among friends, in the family, but also significantly in everyday life in the supermarket, in restaurants or on the websites of favorite brands, the idea can arise that participating in the Veganuary It's a great start to the new year. According to a recent survey by YouGov Germany, 3 million people in Germany alone have consciously taken part in the Veganuary.'

Do not rush

Incidentally, by participating, no one commits to eating exclusively vegan. Newcomers are recommended to start the challenge with one or two vegan days per week. This is less overwhelming and more effective than changing your diet overnight.

Dishes that naturally do not contain animal products also make it easier to start veganuary. Salads and soups, egg-free pasta with tomato sauce or vegetable curry with rice are also popular with meat eaters and do not require a major change in eating habits.

Veganize meat dishes

But what if your favorite dish is hamburger, meatballs or spaghetti Bolognese? Also no problem. There are now delicious alternative products that taste almost indistinguishable from the animal original. Patties made from peas, bolognese made from soy or balls made from lentils replace beef. Mueslis or desserts can also be made with almond, oat or soy milk instead of cow's milk. Even cheese is available as a vegan alternative, made from nuts or tofu. For sweetening, agave syrup or maple syrup is just as good as honey.

In other words: Vegan newbies better orientate themselves on dishes they already know and convert them. The next step is to test new recipes.

prevent nutrient deficiencies

Despite numerous advantages, a vegan diet has one major disadvantage: it makes it difficult to absorb sufficient nutrients such as iron, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium or protein. However, preventing a deficiency is relatively easy: Vegans should eat the following foods regularly: spinach, oatmeal, quinoa and flaxseed provide iron, and vegetable oils such as flaxseed oil or walnut oil and chia seeds provide sufficient omega-3 fatty acids. Tofu, chickpeas, almonds and green vegetables provide calcium to the body. Vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts or legumes such as lentils and beans provide enough protein.

The German Society for Nutrition e.V. advises people with increased nutritional requirements such as pregnant women, breastfeeding women, infants, children and young people against a vegan diet or recommends taking dietary supplements.

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