After all those mince pies, you might be considering adding some more fruit and veg to your diet this January.
But changing your diet can feel like hard work, so why not do it with the support of others? Enter Veganuary - a movement that encourages people to try a vegan diet for the month of January. You'll see lots of people posting on Instagram and Twitter using #Veganuary and you might come across some great recipe ideas by others using the hashtag.
To join in the movement, you'll have to avoid eating animal-products for the month. That includes all meat, dairy, eggs and yes - even honey! It might sound like a lot of hard work but with a bit of support and a lot of foodie inspiration, you may find that it's not as difficult as you thought!
For starters, try stocking up on nut milks, or soya milk for your tea and cereal, tofu to use in place of meat, and fill your cupboards with lots of pulses and lentils to give you protein. Plus, did you know that you can now get vegan CHEESE? Yes, really.
Still not convinced? Discover six reasons to try Veganuary below...
1. Vegan food is delicious
Yes, it's true! From cakes and bakes to salads and soups, you CAN enjoy tasty food while following a vegan diet. And if you're worried about missing out on some of your favourite foods, then try one of the many delicious substitutes. From soy milk to coconut yoghurt, you may find that you actually enjoy the animal-free products more!
2. Getting your five-a-day will be a cinch
The National Diet and Nutrition Survey has demonstrated that only 27% of adults aged 19-64 years achieve the recommended intake of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
Registered Dietitian and Consultant Nutritionist Hala El-Shafie says, 'It’s often easier for those on a plant-based diet to reach the recommended numbers of fruit and vegetables every day, and the health benefits of this are undeniable.'
3. It's so trendy, don't you know
With celebs like Beyoncé and J-Lo dabbling in the diet, you'll be in good company. Not to mention the fact that a new vegan fried chicken shop is opening in London soon. Isn't it fabulous to be so in-the-know?
4. It could benefit your health
The research on how exactly a vegan diet could benefit your health is a little unclear, however what researchers DO know is that a diet that's high in red and processed meat is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
5. You'll add to your cooking repertoire
Now, we're not saying that you need to suddenly master a cheese-free soufflé but by increasing the amounts of beans, pulses, and veg that you eat you'll likely learn some new cooking techniques and recipes along the way. Wow friends and family with your new skills!
6. You can still get your fill of nutrients
Many people who embark on Veganuary worry about getting enough of what their body needs. However, with some planning it is possible to get all the nutrients you need when forgoing animal products.
'As long as a varied diet is consumed, vegan diets can provide all the nutrients needed to be healthy,' says Hala. The exception is vitamin B12, which can only be found naturally in animal foods. Hala recommends vegans include foods fortified with Vitamin B12 and other nutrients, such as some cereals, plant milks, yeast extracts and nutritional yeasts to help you meet your needs.
'Though protein is often perceived as an area of concern for vegans, most vegans do in fact get enough protein from their diets. But is important to incorporate a variety of protein sources to keep your diet interesting and satisfying,' says Hala. Try adding pulses, nuts, seeds and grains to your diet to get your protein fix and tantalise the taste buds.