Written by Phoebe Douglas
Illustrated by Katie Rhian
Veganuary is over, meaning you can say goodbye to quite a few of the fancy new dishes you’ve been seeing on menus. While the catering community may only value veganism in January, veganism is a year round commitment for many. If you’ve loved every minute of veganuary and are planning to stick to it now that February’s hit, here are my top tips for keeping Veganism exciting, cheap and sustainable.
- Follow vegan pages that inspire you
We can all get stuck in a rut with food. Sometimes you end up cooking the same meals week in week out. When you’re vegan this can become even more of a common problem because you are already restricted on what you can eat. Following some amazing vegan food pages on Instagram can remind you just how inventive and creative you can be. My top picks are:
Shiso Delicious – Sara makes the most beautiful Bento boxes and Asian fusion dishes. She is low waste and talks a lot about how she uses up her leftovers to make fabulous lunches for her and her husband.
Rachel Ama – Rachel is an incredible recipe creator, her food always makes me hungry. She has a YouTube channel where she chats food and shows you exactly how to make her banging recipes.
The Food Rhino – Matt is a food wizard! He creates super gorgeous but recreateable food. He’s also a great baker – in need of a vegan cake? Look no further. He posts his delicious food on Instagram and you can find his recipes on Facebook.
Aletheas Plate – Alethea is a nutrition MSc student and works for the NHS as an enteral feeds dietetic assistant, hence she knows a lot about nutrition. Her Instagram is a great mix of delicious home cooked food, vegan beauty and lifestyle and important nutritional information. You can trust her posts are based in science and not wildly misguided assumptions.
The Dopey Vegan – That’s me! I focus on recipes, which I hope you’ll find creative and inspiring, and living a sustainable and ethical lifestyle in all areas.
- Join a local vegan group on facebook
Any exciting vegan deals or new restaurants opening near you will be all over these groups. They often promote deals so you can save on eating out. Most of them are full of friendly people who care about animals and the environment. However, do avoid the never-ending discussions over whether honey and figs are vegan (hint: honey isn’t, figs are).
- Cook in bulk
Batch cooking is a great way to keep food cheap and sustainable. Cook big pots of curries, stews, soups or anything else and then freeze the leftovers. That way you will always have cooked food in so on days when you’re feeling stressed or lazy, you have something quick to heat up. It also saves you money and saves on food waste.
- Cook from scratch
I know the vegan ready meals are tempting and at this time of year, supermarkets go all out to produce plenty of new offerings. For sure, treat yourself every now and then, but honestly home cooked food is always so much better and more exciting. The mark up on meals labelled vegan is ridiculous and you’ll quickly notice veganism becoming very heavy on your pockets if you always choose store bought.
- Shop at fruit and vegetable markets
Shopping at a fruit and veg market means you can shop in bulk and keeps costs down. A bonus is that it often means avoiding unnecessary plastic packaging. Just avoid the fancy ones where everything’s marked up!
- Eat seasonally
Eating seasonally is the best way to ensure you are eating sustainably. While veganism is the biggest step to reducing your carbon footprint, buying vegetables imported from halfway across the world won’t help. Look into what’s in season and try to pay attention to origin labels when shopping. Eating seasonally also keeps your diet exciting. A few of my favourite seasonal meals for January and February are:
Jerusalem Artichoke soup – This creamy warming soup is the perfect use for a much underused Winter vegetable.
Ultimate Vegan Winter Stew – It’s not winter without a few good stews, right?
Swede Carbonara with Shiitake Bacon – Nothing better than a big bowl of pasta on a chilly day.
Crunchy Thai Peanut and Quinoa Salad – Salads can totally be a winter dish, especially if you stuff them full of wintery vegetables like cabbage and carrot, just like this one.
I hope you’re now feeling inspired to keep up veganism year round!
Phoebe is an ethical and vegan blogger with her main interests being in sustainability and mental health. You can follow her vegan recipes and lifestyle at @thedopeyvegan on Instagram.
Edited by Stephanie Kleanthous