The start of 2021 brings Veganuary, an annual effort by many to try a vegan lifestyle for the duration of January. In previous years, Veganuary helped to kickstart my own transition to veganism and is a fantastic opportunity to expand your knowledge of vegan food and the vegan lifestyle without commitment.

There are many misconceptions about the vegan lifestyle and what it entails. Here I attempt to debunk some of these myths and offer a more accurate view of veganism as a philosophy.

Veganism is Strict
There is a common misconception that vegans are red-paint throwing, rabbit-food eating fanatics. In my experience, vegans are more often than not a warm, welcoming, and helpful bunch. Though people become vegan for many different reasons-the most common being environmental and ethical-, the Vegan Society specifies that veganism is a practice of avoiding animal products as far as is possible and practical. With potential limiting factors such as location, health conditions, or economic capacity, you can decide how strict your veganism is based on your own circumstances. Whatever you decide, adopting any aspect of a vegan diet is a step in the right direction.

Veganism is Unhealthy
A vegan diet includes a range of fruits, vegetables, pulses, seeds and fortified foods, which means that those that follow a vegan diet can live a very healthy lifestyle. In my experience, a vegan diet can be really healthy and satisfying. There is an abundance of vegan (and ‘accidentally vegan’) convenience foods and ready meals available in UK supermarkets, as well as a wide selection of vegan content creators online that share healthy and cheap recipes. My personal favourites include Rachel Ama, Gaz Oakley, and Madeleine Olivia.

A Vegan Diet is Expensive
I can see where this concern comes from - vegan alternatives of meat or dairy products often come with a considerably inflated price tag. However, with a bit of creativity, a vegan diet can be just as rewarding and fulfilling for cheaper than the average. Pulses and legumes are considerably cheaper than meat and dairy products and tend to last a lot longer too.When prepared correctly, they can be just as protein-rich as their animal-derived counterparts. Soups, chilli, salads, and many more dishes use these fantastic ingredients.

A Vegan Diet is Pointless - one person can’t change anything!
A vegan diet has been found to be the number one way a single person can reduce their environmental impact. Though immense systemic and structural changes are needed to slow down climate change, knowing that I’m making healthier choices for the planet, and being part of a community which shares my beliefs in animal welfare is really comforting.

If you’re thinking of giving Veganuary a chance this year, check out ecoeats for the many vegan dishes our partners have to offer.

If you’re in the mood to cook, check out The Stingy Vegan’s Easy Vegan Recipes for People Who Can’t Cook, or Rachel Ama’s video Easy Vegan Meals Under £1 for inspiration.We even have some of our own recipes on the ecoeats blog, and will be posting more this month - keep an eye out!