2016 is still fresh out of the box, and with a new year comes a clean slate — plenty of time to nail down good habits for the months to come.
That habit-changing part isn’t always easy, however, and everyone could use a little support, particularly when it comes to standing firm with your commitment to eating cruelty-free. (Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner, and you don’t want to lose your way due to chicken wings.)
To help you on your path to cruelty-free living, here are 10 easy ways to kick off that vegan diet in 2016:
1. Buy some cookbooks.
Still have Barnes & Noble gift cards leftover from Christmas? Use them to buy The Taco Cleanse; Eat Like You Give a Damn; Street Vegan; or any number of other delicious anthologies. For more ideas, check out our list of five cookbooks we love.
2. Purge your fridge.
If you haven’t already, now’s the time to ditch any meat, dairy, or egg products you’ve got lying around. Going through your fridge, freezer, and cabinets is great way to practice those label-reading skills. Toss (or donate) anything that has animal products in it, and you’ll make room for lots of delicious new replacements.
3. Join a Meetup Group.
January is resolution time, which means Meetup group numbers are probably on the ups. Increased attendance means lots of opportunity to meet awesome people you can connect with. It’s an easy way to build a plant-based support system.
4. Visit a sanctuary for farmed animals.
Nothing says incentive like a cuddly cow or precocious chicken. In the words of Jon Stewart, “It’s harder to eat meat when you know the animal’s name.” Wherever you live, there’s probably a sanctuary nearby, from The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita, Ca. to Kindred Spirits Sanctuary in Ocala, Fla. Pay a visit and reaffirm your commitment to a compassionate lifestyle.
5. Use HappyCow to scope out some local eateries.
Unless you’re Martha Stewart, it’s unlikely you have the time or energy to cook gourmet meals at home on the regular. Eating out is a necessity with our wildly busy schedules. Use the HappyCow app to find restaurants around you that offer appealing vegan options. That way, the next time you’re rumbling stomach demands delicious eats, NOW, you’ll be ready.
6. Find your favorite substitute products.
Meat, dairy, and egg substitutes can make the transition to veganism a breeze. And lucky for you, this is 2016, and options abound. Do some experimentation and decide which products are your faves, then stock your fridge for the weeks ahead. For guidance, check out this list of vegan foods substitutes from Vegan Outreach!
7. Treat yourself to some goodies.
Veganism isn’t all celery and quinoa. There are tons of delicious indulgence foods, from chocolate truffles by Sjaak’s to cashew milk ice cream by So Delicious to candy bars by Go Max Go. Everyone needs a treat now and then, so build a stash to beat those cravings.
8. Sign up for a meal delivery service.
If you’re clueless in the kitchen, have no fear — that’s what meal delivery is for. There are lots of companies who’ll deliver three squares straight to your door. Try The Purple Carrot, Forks Fresh Meals, 22 Days Nutrition, or one of the many others out there. New ones are popping up every day, and there’s an option for every price point.
9. Try a kickstart program.
If you need resources, guidance, and motivation, consider a pre-planned program. These package deals give you everything you need to get going. Try the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart by the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, or the 14 Day Health Challenge.
10. Download our starter guide.
TryVeg.com has lots of helpful free goodies that’ll make the switch to vegan eating easier than you’d imagined. Check out our downloadable guides here!