THREE Glasgow-based vegan lifestyle influencers and bloggers revealed their tips for those taking on the month-long ‘Veganuary challenge’.
A record-breaking number of people across the globe signed up to be vegan this January and Glasgow has a welcoming community ready to greet them.
More than half a million people signed up for the 31 day challenge through the charity Veganuary for 2021 but it does not need to be difficult.
“It’s just about like finding a way to make it enjoyable for you,” said Charlotte Queen, a vegan influencer living nearby Glasgow.
The 25-year-old became vegan in 2016 after being vegetarian for an entire year and for the choice is about “living in a compassionate way”.
But the key to the switch was not a complete overhaul to her diet, she said: “I’d been trying so hard to change my whole diet when I went vegan.
“But when I actually managed to stick to, it was when I just kind of decided I’m just going to ‘veganise’ the meals I actually enjoy and the things I eat every day, and it just made it so much easier to stick to.”
Charlotte encourages her audience to be kind to themselves and embraces a self-love message. With January often being the month of diets, she adds: “In general diets do tend to fail, and it’s not that you’ve failed, it’s that the diet has failed you and doesn’t work for you.
“You need to find something that complements your lifestyle and the same goes for the vegan thing – it needs to be sustainable for you.”
Charlotte’s tip for new vegans: Take it slowly
“You could maybe try just cutting out one thing every few weeks,” she said. “I think it’s important not to try and overhaul your whole life overnight, like you really do just need to stick to eating the things that you enjoy and make it work for your lifestyle.”
While she believes vegan options are now accessible at most venues, Charlotte highlighted some of her favourite places in Glasgow for food, albeit takeaway at the moment.
Restaurants with the best vegan options: Mono, Serenity Now, Down to Earth cafe, Stereo and Loop and Scoop.
The 27-year-old grew up just outside Glasgow, and gained a huge following on her social media platforms ‘Naturally Stefanie’ by sharing tips to become stronger and happier.
Stefanie believes it is the “blend of veganism and fitness” that appeals to her audience, because it did not exist “eight years ago” when she went vegan.
Which motivated her to launch Vegan Aesthetics which combines the two in a series of 12 week fitness challenges.
“The idea was just to have a community and to help people realize this can be fun and you can change it often, it doesn’t get stagnant and boring,” she explained.
“I think it’s important to not view it as a diet and view of the lifestyle and realise that, you know, that there is a change, and that there’s so many benefits and positives to it.”
Stefanie believes now may be the “easiest time” to be vegan with substitutes ranging from eggs to ice cream, but also beauty brands actively striving to be cruelty free.
Stefanie’s tip for new vegans: Educate yourself first
There is no need to go “absolutely crazy and have to know everything about it”, she said. “But I think as long as you have an understanding and have a ‘why’ as to why you’re doing it.”
For those hesitant of missing key nutrients, she adds: “It’s just a case of making people aware that they know of their macronutrients, just having a protein source, a carb source, and a fat source.”
Best restaurants for vegans according to Stefanie: Zizzi, Red Onion and Wagamama.
Glasgow’s range of vegan restaurants, makes the switch easy even for the biggest foodie, according to Kathi Kamleitner.
The 32-year-old lives in the South Side of Glasgow, after moving to the city from Austria more than seven years ago.
She started a vegan food blog Glasgow Vegan Guide in 2018 to show “how easy it is to be vegan” in the city.
“Almost every restaurant in Glasgow has begun offering vegan options, whether it’s a separate menu or not. And I just really wanted that to come across.”
The change to veganism for Kathi came as an ethical choice, with both environmental reasoning and a care for animals motivating her.
However she also believes vegan cuisine “unleashed so much creativity” in her cooking and the food she eats.
Speaking to those trying out Veganuary, she added: “I think you should really think about how much creativity you can channel by cooking more plant-based. That is something people think the complete opposite, because they think it’s boring.”
While it has been difficult to update the site due to the pandemic shutting down hospitality repeatedly over 2020, she hopes she can expand the guide this year.
Her hope is to create a directory of cruelty free businesses that Glasgow-based vegans can use.
Kathi’s tips for new vegans: Plans in advance and stay adventurous
“It’s just about planning your meals in advance so you don’t get into a position where the easiest option is to order something that isn’t something vegan,” she said.
“It’s okay to make mistakes,” the blogger added. “You’re still doing the right thing the majority of the time.”
Best vegan restaurants in Glasgow: Mono, Stereo, The 78 and Nippon Kitchen.