Eating plant-based is fast becoming a ‘normal’ in South Africa. This January, many South Africans will be taking on the Veganuary challenge to try plant-based for 31-days. Veganuary was started in the UK six-years ago and has grown into a truly global movement. In 2020 South Africa was in the top 10 for number of sign ups with a whopping 80% increase in sign-ups from 2019.
If you are keen to incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet, here are some tips from plant-based nutritionist Tammy Fry. Her book Made with Love and Plants published by Penguin Random House is out in January and is full of useful advice and recipes for people making the transition.
GO EASY ON THOSE CARBS!
Carbo-loading is just not going to cut it when it comes to getting in all the macro and micronutrients your body needs. Pasta, bread and potato chips, are easy but won’t sustain you throughout the day. Making sure you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains is the key to sustaining your energy levels and keeping things exciting!
Top Tip: Make every plate a festival of colour.
Planning your meals ahead of time, including your shopping is key to a smooth transition. Trying to think on the fly when you’ve got the hangries is just going to result in panic-buying frozen chips at the petrol station store. Realistically though, life is unpredictable! Make sure to factor in convenient, tasty, grab-and-go plant-based products to your shopping list - essential for busy lifestyles.
Top Tip: Don’t think of it as time OUT of your day for doing a chore, see it as time you are factoring IN for your health and wellness. Find joy in the little things.
STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR ‘WHY’
You may find that going plant-based is easier than you expected, however, there may come a moment when you hit a wall and that’s ok. Celebrate the wins. Take note of the benefits you’ve felt since making the choice and come back to the fact that every time you choose plant-based, you’re making a positive choice for your health, for the planet and for all those you share it with, from fellow humans to the smallest of critters.
Top Tip: Stick a note of praise to yourself on your bathroom mirror and check out these inspiring doccies to help renew your resolve: What the Health, Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, Meet your Meat, Earthlings, Eating Animals, The Game Changers and Dominion.
DON’T TAP OUT ON YOUR TREATS
Going vegan does not mean a life of salads and sad side veg, nor does it mean forgoing your mid-week favourites. Boss out on burgers and sausages, ice cream and pies – there is a whole world of alternatives on the market!
Top Tip: A lot of alternatives are often fortified, so you’re maxing out on those critical nutrients.
LET SOMEONE ELSE COOK FOR YOU FROM TIME TO TIME
Great vegan restaurants are popping up everywhere, as are non-vegan ones with terrific vegan offerings – support them when you are in need of something different or just a night off. Game changer!
Top Tip: Head over to this handy Eating Out guide for a list of restaurants and take-outs in South Africa that have vegan options.
COMMUNITY IS KEY
Having a community by your side supporting you can be incredibly comforting with the added bonus of benefiting from shared knowledge. Our We LOVE Veganuary Facebook Group is an inclusive space with people from all walks of life at various stages of their plant-based journey.
Top Tip: Join before the end of January for a free Plant-Based 101 Guide and 31 day meal-plan.
LET OUT YOUR INNER ARTIST!
Paint your plate healthy. Use this as an opportunity to experiment with new ingredients and cooking methods. Snap pics of your colourful creations and have fun with playful plating. There are thousands of online recipes packed with inspiration.
Top Tip: Join the We LOVE Veganuary Facebook Group for insider alerts on new, local vegan ingredients.