Are you looking for a resolution to help animals?

Have you seen talk of ‘Veganuary’ in the media, but are unsure what the hype is all about? Perhaps you have signed up for Veganuary, but with February soon approaching you are unsure whether to continue to eat vegan?

Girl with sheep in field

At OneKind, we promote compassionate, animal-friendly living, and that includes through our food choices. That is why we support Veganuary, a charity that inspires people to pledge to go vegan for January and beyond. We understand veganism can seem a little daunting to begin with which is why our Campaigner, and vegan of 8 years, Eve, debunks some of the most commonly heard myths about eating vegan!

1. Vegans don’t get enough protein

Ah yes, this old one! ‘Vegans don’t get enough protein’ is likely the phrase that irks vegans the most. And that’s because getting protein on a vegan diet is actually very easy. In fact, a 2013 study found that, on average, vegans and vegetarians get 70% more protein than they actually need.

There are many plant-based protein sources that are available in supermarkets across the UK. Lentils, chickpeas, beans, tempeh, tofu and meat alternative, seitan, are all excellent sources of protein for vegans.

2. Eating out is difficult

Vegan food has become so mainstream that I struggle to think of a time in recent years where my dietary requirements were not catered for. Most restaurants in the UK have vegan options on their menu, or even a whole dedicated vegan menu, and those that don’t will usually be happy to cater for you if you call ahead.

Vegan cafes, restaurants and food vans are commonplace in most cities now. Edinburgh, where OneKind is based, has an incredible 19 vegan eateries, and a whopping 229 marked as vegan-friendly!

Many cuisines will also naturally cater for vegans- Indian, Italian, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese and Middle Eastern restaurants tend to be vegan-friendly.

3. Veganism is expensive

While it may be true that some vegan alternative meats, cheeses and milks are more expensive than animal ‘products’, as veganism has become more mainstream more affordable options have become readily available in supermarkets. Most supermarkets in the UK now offer their own brand vegan options, which tend to be cheaper than branded options (although we would encourage those who can to support the independent vegan businesses that are passionate about the cause!).

Staples in vegan diets, such as beans, pulses, fruit and vegetables are also relatively inexpensive. Eating out can also be cheaper for vegans, as vegan wholefoods meals will usually be cheaper than meat and dairy options.

4. Vegan meals are boring

On the contrary! I credit veganism for making me the foodie that I am. Going vegan introduced me to many different cuisines and flavours that I might not have tasted had I not made the transition from vegetarianism.

When I became vegan in 2014, supermarkets and restaurants were still lagging behind when it came to vegan options and so I learned to make many things from scratch and, as a result, fell in love with cooking. Of course, veganism is much more accessible now, but I still choose to cook most of my meals from scratch and love scouring the internet and cookbooks for vegan recipes or non-vegan recipes that I can veganise. Anything others can eat, I can eat vegan!

Up and down the UK, many cities and towns also host popular vegan festivals, which showcase the versatility of vegan food. In one afternoon you could enjoy satay tempeh skewers, a vegan big mac burger and an ice cream cookie sandwich!

5. It’s hard to travel as a vegan

Sure, travelling as a vegan may require more preparation, but I guarantee you that it is probably not as difficult as you think it is.

When it comes to vegan travel HappyCow is your best friend! HappyCow is an online search tool that provides listings and reviews of vegan, vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants around the world. It is an invaluable resource for travelling vegans and I use it every time I head to a new city or country. I love supporting the local vegan independent eateries and trying the vegan versions of their local dishes.

Of course, some countries are more vegan-friendly than others. While many of Europe’s cities are vegan havens- Krakow, Berlin and Florence are some of my favourites- things can become trickier in countries where veganism is still an unfamiliar concept and there is a language barrier. In those situations, come prepared with a couple of phrases to communicate your dietary requirements, set realistic expectations and be open-minded when it comes to the vegan offerings. I’d also recommend securing accommodation with self-catering so you can make your own meals- it will be cheaper too!

Have you signed up to Veganuary yet? Veganuary offers support to participants throughout the year, and not just in January, and you might be surprised by how easy it is to live an animal-friendly lifestyle! You can also learn the many benefits of a vegan lifestyle in our blog, 20 reasons to go vegan in the new year.