Smashed Veganuary? Fair play, it's no easy challenge
Against all the odds, you made it through a month of Veganuary, forgoing your favourite meat and dairy meals in exchange for all the lovely perks that come with a plant-based diet. Best of all, you can enjoy the smug superiority of telling anyone that will listen that you made it through the 31-day challenge - an essential step in the process, really.
With Veganuary done and dusted, you might be wondering if you can keep the plant-based diet up long-term, whether that's going full-time vegan or simply making an effort to eat less dairy going forward.
And there are plenty of reasons why ditching dairy could be a good idea. The likes of clearer skin, improved mood and better digestion are all linked with reducing your dairy intake, and that's before we discuss the satisfaction of doing your bit to reduce your carbon footprint and protect the planet. We've put together 5 actionable tips on how to keep going with your plant-based resolutions all year round:
5. Forget the labels
Whatever your resolutions may look like, sticking to labels like 'plant-based' 'vegan' and 'dairy-free' can get pretty tough going as the year goes on. A mindset switch might be advisable, and if you look at these labels as more of a guideline and not as a hard and fast rule, your life will probably become a hellova lot easier. Scouring the backs of packets for any mention of non-plant-based ingredients can be time-consuming and confusing, and can often throw people off. As the saying goes 'Perfect is the enemy of good' and this is definitely the case, relaxing the rules and endeavouring to eat 'better' as opposed to 'perfect' is definitely a more achievable goal than being militant with it.
4. Hop back on the wagon
There's a reason why we have been told since we were small to hop back on the horse as soon as we fall off one. The same can be said for any positive change you are trying to make in life, if you stray away from the path try and find your way back to it as soon as you can. Dwelling on what you did wrong will get you nowhere, action is what will get you back to the place you want to be.
3. Go easy on yourself
Living in a world that feels increasingly black and white, doesn't leave much room for the grey areas in which we sometimes find ourselves in. If you are out and there are no plant-based options, or if you have a craving for your once-beloved ice cream or you accept a frothy-dairy latte from a loved one, this doesn't make you a bad person, it just makes you a human who is doing their best. What may seem like a massive defeat to you at the time, will just become a minor blip on the incredible path that you are on.
2. Have fun with it
It's easy to forget about the positives of plant-based food, which is naturally vibrant, fresh and colourful. If you've grown tired of cooking, plant-based food can present a great opportunity to try new ingredients out and to challenge yourself to cook in a whole new way. Thankfully with so many beloved Irish brands like Dairygold bringing out their own Plant Based ranges, substituting ingredients out has never been easier. Maybe your comfort food is a cheesy pasta dish that you can't go without? Simple - you can whip up a tasty plant-based alternative in no time at all, using Dairygold Plant Based Grated. Or is it that you can't function without your milky morning cuppa and need a tasty vegan alternative? A drop of Plant Based M*lk is sure to do the trick.
1. Go at your own pace
Success can mean a variety of different things to different people, figure out what success means to you after the 31st of January and go with it. Success could mean swapping out dairy, sticking to a vegan diet a couple of days a week or endeavouring to reduce your meat consumption. Setting goals for yourself that are achievable is extremely important, building towards something that is within reach of your lifestyle, budget and social life, is so much better than setting unrealistic, regimented and militant goals for yourself. You can always build towards bigger goals slowly, but setting yourself up for an unsurmountable challenge can almost always end in failure.
Whatever you're craving, the new Dairygold range does it like dairy, offering dairy reducers everywhere a quick, tasty and super simple way to enjoy all the perks of a plant-based diet, without missing out on your favourite meals or snacks. You can put it to the test yourself by picking up the Dairygold Plant Based range in your local Dunnes Stores, Tesco or SuperValu.