Thinking of Doing Veganuary? Your Top 10 Tips for Success…

We’ve all seen the headlines; “Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet”. But how does one go about making these dietary and lifestyle changes?

Veganuary is a month-long campaign set up to encourage people to try veganism by cutting out meat, dairy, eggs, fish and all animal products, supported by helpful advice and tips to get you started. As well as reducing your carbon emissions, going vegan can also be beneficial for your health, provided you take care to balance your nutrition and don’t resort to just eating chips! Veganism can open up a new culinary world and encourage you to try new foods you may not have considered before.

In an effort to reduce her impact on the environment, WINS Founder Rhian has signed up to take on the Veganuary challenge – going vegan for the month of January! We’ll be following her progress and will post updates on our Twitter page so you can see how she’s getting on. To inspire and motivate any of you who may be considering giving Veganuary a go, we’ve come up with some top tips for success, a little guide to help you prepare and succeed this challenge!


1.    Set yourself a goal for Veganuary; what is it that you really want to get out this challenge? Maybe you want to experience new types of food or try and stick to a fixed budget for your food shops. Find something that will be your key goal for the month to keep you going if things get difficult.

2.    Get Veg-ucated. There are some great documentaries about veganism that provide loads of nutritional and environmental information about the diet. These will also help you know the facts about the impact of a vegan lifestyle. Start with Cowspiracy, What The Health and Forks Over Knives.

3.    Prepare – prepare – prepare! Meal plans and shopping lists will be your saving grace this month. They’ll help you avoid those nights where you’re too tired to come up with something interesting too cook for dinner and ensure you’re getting that variety of meals so the month stays interesting.

4.    Avoid the junk. You may be tempted to reach for the vegan ready meals or simply rely on the vegan options at your local takeaway, but this a great introduction to veganism. They can be expensive, unhealthy and often aren’t that much more environmentally friendly than the meat/dairy you’re avoiding. Best to stick to wholefoods and vegetables and think of the junk food as an occasional treat.

5.    Get social! There is a lot to know about going vegan, from getting the right nutrients to avoiding sneaky animal products in foods, it’s a lot to learn! Follow some vegan influencers on social media who provide information about living a vegan lifestyle and use this as a resource for more top tips throughout the month.

6.    Tell your friends and family. If they don’t know, they’ll probably invite you over for a Sunday roast where you’ll end up with a plate of Brussel sprouts and some pitying looks. Tell them you’re giving Veganuary a go and that you’d love their support and understanding.

7.    Join a community! There are loads of social media communities you can join and ask questions or advice and they will be more than willing to help you out. There are usually local ones, like the Bristol Vegans Facebook page, where you can even get tips on great places to eat out.

8.    Take the challenge with a friend. You’re more likely to stick to the challenge if you have a friend that you can get support from and help each other through the month. You could share recipes you’ve found or let each other know if you find ‘accidentally vegan’ products!

9.    Find vegan swaps for your favourite meals or treats. It’s 2020 and vegan options have never been better, so find a vegan alternative for the food you love and enjoy.

10.    Finally, we advise you to try your best but not get deterred if you have a slip-up or forget to check a label one time. It’s about progress, not perfection!


We spoke to some of the WINS Hub Leads, who are vegan or have a plant-based diet; to find out what advice they would offer to anyone considering Veganuary…


Thalia Carr, Hub Lead for Oxford


What’s your advice for people trying Veganuary?

See it as something to enjoy, and as a way to try out new ways of cooking rather than trying to just replace meat with meat substitutes. One way to make it more interesting, especially if you are cooking for others, is to make sure you have a variety of textures, so don’t just eat bean stew, veg casserole, etc but learn how to roast a whole cauliflower, make bean loaf or nut roast.


What’s one easy swap people can make this Veganuary?

Drink almond milk instead of cow’s milk – it tastes so much nicer – I’d recommend one that is made from just almonds and water without other things added. You can also make it yourself if you have a milk maker or you want to go through the faff of blending and sieving.

The other nice swap is ready-to-eat tofu – you can get it flavoured in lots of different ways – which you can use instead of cheese in a sandwich, or chop into salads or risottos.

Check out Thalia’s recent post on LinkedIn for some festive vegan recipes to try out!


Katy Murdoch, Hub Lead for Glasgow



What’s your advice for people trying Veganuary?

My biggest advice for people doing Veganuary is not to worry if you make a mistake or don’t manage to be 100% perfect. Veganism takes years of knowledge and even now, I’m still learning about how to reduce animal products in options for cleaning. Living in these times, it is really, really hard to avoid ALL animal products.

Also – make sure you eat enough calories. It is hard to go straight to Veganism and many vegans make a slow transition, perhaps becoming vegetarian first. Without the ability to slowly learn about substitutes, you are in danger of being hungry. So make sure you eat plenty of tofu, bananas, potatoes, nuts and dark chocolate to keep yourself satiated.


What’s one easy swap people can make this Veganuary?

As a chocolate lover an easy swap is replacing milk chocolate with dark chocolate (though do check as some dark chocolate contains milk). I never thought I’d say this but I now prefer dark to milk! Tesco do dark chocolate digestives that taste as good as McVitie’s version, but are ‘accidentally vegan’. There are so many vegan chocolate options available (including milk chocolate) that it is possible to be a chocoholic vegan. Oh and it’s not the season but Ben and Jerry’s do a fantastic vegan version of their cookie dough ice-cream!


If you are trying Veganuary, we wish you the best of luck and hope you find it to be a rewarding experience! Please do share your progress with us and join in the conversation on Twitter…