Before You Do a Vegan Resolution in January: Eight Steps to Set Yourself Up for Success
Lots of people will be embarking on vegan resolutions and challenges this January 1. Maybe someone you know? Maybe yourself? Here are some tips on how anyone can set themselves up for success in January starting with some simple steps now, actions I have learned as a vegan of nearly 25 years who has helped many others through the process. Please check out my free Guide for New Vegans for more depth on things you can do to remove blocks and barriers to your vegan goals. Keep in mind that resolutions are famously difficult to maintain: thinking of veganism as something you are transitioning to adopting for life rather than forcing yourself through is probably an attitude that will lead to better long-term results.
1. Start weaning yourself off dairy now.
I think many people underestimate how much dairy they’re consuming because they’re not sitting down with a big glass of milk at every meal like so many of us grew up with, but how much are they really still consuming — like creamer in coffee, dairy-based cheeses, yogurts, butter, ice creams, as ingredients in products, at restaurants and so on — when thought about it in those terms? My guess is it’s more than you would think, perhaps significantly more.
While fluid milk has lost market share, statistics show that products like butter, yogurt and cheese are being consumed at record high per capita rates today. Dairy can be one of the hardest animal-based foods to quit — again, think of all that cheese people perhaps legitimately say they are addicted to — so I recommend that you start the process of noticing and reducing your consumption of animal-based milk products starting in December. That will give you a good head start into making your January resolution a success.
I think many of the non-dairy milks and butters are easy to use in a direct replacement of dairy, but animal-based cheese can be harder to leave behind, at least at first. I recommend giving yourself a good three-week complete break from cheese, dairy and otherwise, to reset your taste buds. After this time, you can start to experiment with the growing non-dairy cheese sector or enjoy your own vegan cheeses with somewhat more of an open-minded palate. Be patient…