The climate crisis is one of the biggest concerns of our time. It can be all too easy to feel powerless in the face of such a colossal issue, but little lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, animal agriculture is responsible for around 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions, while the International Livestock Research Institute estimates that livestock covers approximately 45% of the earth’s land. Forgoing animal products can be a great way to reduce your climate footprint, and with the start of the new year, why not join in? Give Veganuary a go! Here are five tips to make it easier on you:
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE HELP AVAILABLE
Let’s be honest, Veganuary sounds daunting. Whether you’re an omnivore, pescatarian, vegetarian or flexitarian, making the decision to abstain from all animal products is a hell of a commitment. But fear not, help is at hand! Your first port of call should be to sign up at Veganuary.com. They’ll send you an email with a 30-page guide containing a plethora of celebrity-approved vegan recipes of all types, so you’ll already be in a great starting position. If you find yourself struggling to prepare lunch at the beginning of the year, you’ll have somewhere to turn. Not only that, but Veganuary will email you every day of January with tips, recipes, guides and information, including substitutes and help for dining out.
FOLLOW RECIPES AND MEAL PLANS
If you’ve been eating meat, fish, and dairy for most of your life, odds are you’re dependent on them for your meals and snacks. It can be tough to prepare meals without these ingredients, so don’t be afraid to rely on recipes and meal plans for help. Veganism is becoming increasingly popular, so these are now easier to find than ever. BBC Good Food have a dedicated section for vegan recipes, as does Jamie Oliver’s official website. One of the most popular destinations for vegan recipes, however, is Bosh!. The Bosh! Website and cookbooks are home to some of the most exciting and creative vegan recipes out there. If you’re worried about missing meat, Bosh! is definitely going to be your friend. Many of their recipes, like ‘beef’ wellington and pulled ‘pork,’ aim to recreate the taste of meat.
FIND VEGAN ALTERNATIVES FOR YOUR FAVOURITE FOODS
Believe it or not, going vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up all your favourite comfort foods. If there’s a particular meal or snack you just can’t forfeit, shop around for alternatives! Replace your beloved Chicken McNuggets for vegan nuggets. For spaghetti Bolognese, consider swapping out minced beef for diced mushrooms or a soya-based mince. If you regularly make curry or stir fry, substitute your usual meat or fish for tofu. Chocolate or ice cream? You’re in luck – Galaxy, Magnum, Ben & Jerry’s and Cornetto all now produce vegan alternatives. Veganism is on the rise, and companies are taking notice, so you can expect more substitutes like this to appear in the near future.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO EXPERIMENT
Arguably one of the biggest challenges of going vegan for the first time is dining out. Previously, vegan options at restaurants were few and far between, but they’re becoming more common. These options, however, are generally not as abundant as we’d like, meaning you might have to order something a little different to your regular order. If your choices at a restaurant are limited, don’t be afraid to give something new a try. You might just find a new favourite.
DON’T LET SLIP-UPS STOP YOU
Here’s something you might not hear too often: slip-ups can happen to anyone. Whether you accidentally eat something that, unbeknownst to you, contains an animal product, or you just have a moment of weakness, don’t let it get in your way. The effort you’ve put into veganism for the sake of your health, the planet and the animals is still extremely important and highly valued. Some undetected milk powder or a drunken kebab won’t undo all that you’ve done, just keep trying your best, and remember that your actions can make a real difference.
Brighton Peace and Environment Centre is a non-profit, educational charity. It delivers projects which teach and tackle issues of peace and the environment, inspiring action through learning about the world.
Find out more at www.bpec.org
Words by Rachel Hughes