Sunday, September 6, 2015

21 Days Vegan Challenge | My 8 best tips

The first three weeks of August were all about my little vegan challenge. I tried a plant-based diet for 21 days, mainly just for fun. I wanted to know how I'd feel if I stopped eating animal products and I wanted to try out and create recipes which didn't require any animal (by)products. I learned a lot in those three weeks: how to have a little self-discipline, the wonderful things you can create with vegetables, grains & a little imagination and above all, how easy it actually is to eat vegan. I did stop eating 100% vegan after 21 days, but even now it still affects my daily choices of what I put into my body. I can recommend everyone to try eating vegan for 21 days, you might love it or you might hate it, but I'm convinced that either way, you'll learn from it. So here are my best tips for how to start and stick to the 21 day vegan challenge. 
The Vegan Deli Munchen Banana bread

⇛ First of all, do this challenge ONLY if you really WANT to do it. If it feels like a 'must' or a 'diet' then it won't be any fun since you'll feel restricted etc. If you have a good set of reasons why you're doing it, it will be so much easier to start with it and especially stick to it. You're doing this for yourself, no one else. What's the worst that could happen?

⇛ Stop eating meat/fish/poultry a little while before starting the challenge. I was eating meat only twice a week max. when I lived in Munich, so that made giving up meat a lot easier. Meat, fish and poultry were also the things I "missed" the least once I gave them up. 

⇛ Make sure you have the vegan alternatives of your everyday staples. For me, that was milk since I use it in my coffee and oatmeal. Just try to make it easy for yourself! In cities like London and Amsterdam there are shops (such as Whole Foods, Marqt & Planet Organic) where you can find a lot of good vegan food and alternatives which makes eating vegan more easy going. 

⇛ Instead of doing it alone, get someone to do the challenge together with you (especially if it’s someone in your household). My parents also ate vegan for three weeks and my sister ate vegetarian, so that made it easier to cook for everyone. It's not a competition but the extra little pressure also didn't hurt;) 

⇛ Try to vary your meals as much as possible. Don't eat the same meals over and over again. Because you are limiting yourself to only plant-based foods, it's important to mix it up so you get all the nutrients you need. Also check beforehand which vitamins are recommended for vegans and vegetarians, such as vitamin B12, and make sure you take those daily. 

⇛ Continuing on the previous point, search for good (vegan) recipes before starting the challenge. Make a little list of ideas on your phone. Think about your favourite meals and try to veganise them? What about plant-based brownies? There are TONS of vegan recipe blogs out there, inspiration is all around, trust me:)

⇛ Follow people who inspire you. For me, a big source of inspiration for vegan food is Instagram. You'll see the most delicious looking colourful meals which will inspire you for sure. 

⇛ Treat yourself. Just because it's a "challenge" and yes, you are restricting yourself, doesn't mean that you shouldn't treat yo'self. Find a good vegan restaurant near you (ahhh the Vegan Deli in Munich, my favourite ever!) or try to bake something good, like banana bread or cookies. French fries are also vegan when fried in vegetable oil!

If you can't commit to doing it for 21 days, then why not try 7 days? Or even 2 days? Once you give it a go, the idea will grow on you more and more and 21 days won't seem so long anymore. I will definitely repeat this challenge again, even though I can't fully commit to 100% vegan eating just yet. However I'm making a bigger effort to eat vegan meals more often, and I'll definitely be sharing some recipes soon. Would you try this vegan challenge? 

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