If embracing your inner vegan is already feeling a little tricky, don’t reach for the cheddar on buttered toast with a side of chocolate milkshake just yet. Ami Deane’s here to help!
The first few days without cheese, after you’ve spent December rolling around on a cheeseboard with your mouth open, were always going to be easy. It’s almost harder to carry on eating it than to have a breather.
And sure, herbal tea is an absolute treat when it still gets filed under the heading of ‘novelty hot drink’.
But you’ve just spotted a rogue piece of Wensleydale at the back of the fridge, which was hiding behind the crowd of sprouts you’ve just made a green juice out of. And, while your flatmate is being supportive, they simply can’t get on board with pouring rice milk into their breakfast cuppa.
So, what’s a temporary vegan to do? We thought we’d ask lifelong vegan Ami Deane to offer some tips for Veganuary survival.
She’s had her whole life to know where to find/how to make the best vegan stuff. She’s even invented some award-winning vegan ‘chease’ which she can’t make quick enough for her ever-increasing army of non-dairy-eating fans.
SHE’S A PROPER VEGAN GURU, PEOPLE. She’s also a lovely lass into the bargain, and went ahead and put together this list of pointers to help Veganuary devotees nail it. Who knows, you might even end up making next month Vebruary.
Here are Ami’s tips (which probably include a better vegan name for February):
1. Make sure you eat enough. This is no time to scrimp when it comes to scoffing.
2. Practise – and eat – at least three vegan fall-back dishes. So have a go-to brekkie, lunch and dinner, which you know you love and can knock up quickly. A treat of a porridge, a packed pasta dish and a tasty salad would be my three suggestions.
3. Research vegan meals at your nearby restaurants using the app and website Happy Cow – lots of pizza places have vegan options. Scope out your area and you may well find you’re surprised at how many eateries are realising the value of offering vegan choices.
4. Find the dairy substitute that you love. If you like milk in your tea and coffee, spend some time working out which of the non-dairy milks you like best. Coconut, soy, almond, oat and rice are all ones to try.
5. CHEESE! There are plenty of melty and more artisanal ‘cheases’ in the UK, so try some out. I launched Tyne Chease in 2015 and now supply shops all over the UK and Europe with my range of nut-based cheases, including the ever popular Pink Peppercorn and Ethiopian Spice flavours and a new collection of creamier versions.
7. Whatever it was that inspired you to go vegan, keep motivating yourself by researching. Nutrition information, including some great short videos, can be found at www.nutritionfacts.org. Meanwhile, it’s a good idea to join social media groups where you can ask questions and get loads more tips and tricks to keep going.
8. Watch some vegan documentaries – Earthlings, Forks Over Knives and Cowspiracy would be three to get you started.
9. Sign up at www.veganuary.com for continued information, inspiration and lots of advice.
10. Veganise your best-loved dishes, focusing on your family faves. So if you all like to tuck into a burger, keep doing it (without the meat, obvs). If you all love sitting around to share a big lasagne, then learning to make a corking vegan version should be a priority. If becoming vegan ballses up the things you like to do best, you’ll end up resenting it.
11. Follow some vegan YouTubers who can give you regular motivation: for a start, Hot For Food offer guides on how to make amazing dishes that are vegan and there are plenty of other vegan vloggers offering tips and advice.
12. Give yourself some special vegan treats – this is a time in your life to celebrate. Amy Cooke-Hodgson’s Vegan Cupcakes would be a great place to start. You also might like to know that Oreos, Hobnobs and Jelly Tots are just a few of the ‘conventional’ treats which are vegan. Meanwhile a trip to your local health food shop will lead you to loads more vegan versions of marshmallows, hot chocolate and other loveliness.
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Lifelong vegan Ami Deane was raised from birth around the world on pure plant. She has somehow reached 24 and landed in Newcastle, with an uncanny resemblance to a human being, but an obsession with cashew cheese. She recently launched @TyneChease and vegan Sara Pascoe thinks she's a 'genius goddess'.