It’s time to eat more plants! At the start of the new year lies a unique opportunity. This year, instead of making it a goal to lose weight or fit into a certain size pants size, why not make it a goal to improve your health in other ways?
One option many people try each January is to embrace Veganuary. You may or may not have heard of Veganuary, the January challenge that encourages others to try eating vegan and plant-based to save more animals, the planet, and support various health goals. While many people embrace a fully vegan diet for the entire month of January, others just try to eat more vegan foods throughout the month. The point is to show how simple it is to eat vegan and plant-based while focusing on whole foods with the intention that hopefully, these trends will carry out throughout the rest of the year, even if it’s only some of the time.
Whatever you decide is best for you and your health goals, eating a plant-based diet that consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), heart-healthy nuts, and seeds is a great way to improve your intake of more whole foods in general. While many shelf-stable processed foods are technically vegan, the most benefits lie in unprocessed whole foods.
What are the Benefits of Plant-Based Foods?
Plant-based diets consisting of whole foods are some of the top-rated lifestyles that can support longevity, gut health, and heart health. Eating lower on the food chain has many benefits, including lowering cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and even weight management. Plant-based foods are low in fat or contain healthy fats, and they consist of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and gut-friendly fiber. January is a great time to embrace these benefits and participate in Veganuary!
Other Food Options That Can Support Health During Veganuary:
While fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds are some of the most beneficial foods you’ll want to include in your diet, they’re not the only options on the table.
Non-dairy milk alternatives, fermented plant-based foods like sauerkraut or miso, herbs, spices, and whole grain products like whole grain pasta, cereal, and unsweetened dried fruits are other options that can add variety to meals during the month of Veganuary. These foods also contain their own set of unique benefits that can make the process of eating more vegan foods more enjoyable.
Lifeway Oat, our organic cultured oat milk, is a great option to use in place of our dairy-based kefir in cereal, smoothies, or to drink on its own. With 25-30 billion units of probiotics, it provides gut-friendly cultures to the gut as well as prebiotics (fiber) from whole-grain organic and gluten-free oats. Prebiotics and probiotics in Lifeway Oat support the growth and maintenance of gut-friendly bacteria that we need to thrive. Studies have linked a healthy gut to regularity and better digestion, along with an improved mood, better heart health
Lifeway Oat provides 2 grams of fiber per serving (prebiotic fiber) so you can be sure you’re getting the best of both worlds without any pesticides, GMOs, or gluten. We’re also the only cultured oat milk on the market!
How to Get Started:
If you’re interested in embracing Veganuary this year, below are some ways to get started! While you can go full-force and eat vegan for all your meals this month, here’s another approach that might be easier to start with.
1. Make it a Goal to Eat Vegan at Breakfast the First Week
If you’re not ready to go fully vegan, then start with breakfast. It’s a great time to eat vegan since so many breakfast foods are naturally plant-based and vegan. Whole grain oatmeal with Lifeway Oat and fresh berries, brown rice cereal with banana and Lifeway Oat, whole grain toast with avocado, or a fruit and veggie smoothie made with Lifeway Oat and some chia or flax seeds are all great ways to start the day.
Or, have a piece of whole grain toast with some nut butter, sliced banana, and a glass of Lifeway Oat. As you can see, breakfast is an easy time of the day to eat completely vegan and not even realize it!
2. The Next Week: Add a Vegan Lunch to Your Day
The next week, why not go vegan at lunch? Easy options are a bowl of vegetable soup with veggies, beans or lentils, and whole-grain pasta. If you’re gluten-free, you can even find gluten-free and chickpea or lentil-based pasta! Or, have a salad with some nuts, seeds, greens, and cooked sweet potatoes or roasted carrots. Whip up a salad dressing with Lifeway Oat, some apple cider vinegar, lemon, soy sauce, and spices of your choice. Have some fruit on the side and lunch is done. Or, eat a tempeh (fermented soy) sandwich in place of bacon on a BLT. This is known as a TLT with many vegans and is a winner every single time.
If you’re more of an “eat-on-the-run” person, just have a smoothie if you didn’t have one at breakfast. Try it with Lifeway Oat to get in some healthy probiotics and fiber! Or, have a peanut butter, banana, strawberry, and whole grain sandwich with a side of veggies (cucumbers, carrots, and celery) to add a serving of vegetables to your day.
3. The Third or Fourth Week: Try Eating a Vegan Dinner
Should you find yourself lacking in energy, re-evaluate your day to make sure you are getting enough protein and other nutrients. Add in more fruits, vegetables, and plant-based sources of protein as needed. Embrace a vegan dinner and add healthy starches from root vegetables (potatoes, beets, squash, parsnips, carrots), beans or lentils, and greens to your meals to add more nutrition. These foods keep you full, support a healthy gut, and can serve as a base for many meals. Other popular options are brown rice, cooked quinoa, millet, or wild rice, and vegetables with tofu as a stir-fry. You can find many delicious sauces and condiments that are vegan and plant-based at the grocery store. Or, keep it simple and have a bowl of oatmeal with some Lifeway Oat and a side of veggies if you’re busy. It doesn’t have to be a freshly cooked meal from scratch every single night. Keeping it simple is often the best way to stay consistent and on track.
It’s easier than ever to eat vegan with all the options at the store today, so for the month of Veganuary, we encourage you to try more of them! Pick up a bottle of Lifeway Oat near you, and try eating a few vegan meals with it this month. It’s not all or nothing when it comes to Veganuary, the point is simply to try eating more vegan foods to support your health, save the planet, and reduce the harm to animals. Whatever reason you have, we are here for you! Sign up for our newsletter and stay connected with us on Instagram and Facebook so you don’t miss any recipe updates!
For more resources on Veganuary, check out the official Veganuary website.