After a month of sticking to her Veganuary pledge, HFG’s editorial assistant, Niamh Leonard-Bedwell, looks at why more of us should be seeking a vegan diet long-term.

Popularity of the vegan diet is on the rise and doesn’t seem to be showing signs of stopping any time soon. More than 250,000 people from 193 countries took the Veganuary pledge this year, (myself included) to follow a strictly vegan diet throughout the month of January. This compared to 168,542 pledges in 2018 shows a massive growth of interest in the last year alone.

What’s more, with fast-food chains including McDonald’s and Greggs now offering vegan menu options, veganism has truly hit the mainstream.

A recent survey conducted by GlobalData found that for 51% of vegans, the primary motivation behind their diet was ethically motivated, whilst 47% said they had adopted the diet as they wanted to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Concerns about the environment are also a major factor for many vegans. Earlier this month, a proposed ‘planetary health diet‘ to help avert global environmental catastrophe suggested we ought to be eating far less red meat, less dairy and much more fruit and veg.

Even if veganism (the complete eradication of animal-derived products from our daily lives) seems a stretch, there are moves we can all be making to enjoy a more plant-based way of eating.

Here are some of the tips I found helpful during January, which I hope to take with me after Veganuary:

Swap scrambled eggs for scrambled tofu

As a brunch-lover, eggs are probably one of the ingredients I’ve missed the most since going vegan. However, our recipe consultant Phil Mundy recommended that I tried scrambled tofu instead of scrambled eggs and I was sold.

Try this delicious Asian-inspired tofu scramble from Ching-He Huang.

Change parmesan for nutritional yeast

I spent the first couple of weeks of Veganuary mourning the loss of cheese. It takes a while to get used to the flavour and texture of vegan cheese and I’d still say it’s a work in progress for me. However, I did enjoy this delicious plant-based pizza from Purezza, Camden which struck the balance just right. Topped with aubergines and vegan sausage ‘Parmigiana Party‘ had a tasty cheesy topping that wasn’t too gloopy. The secret was a little bit of their homemade vegan ‘mozzarella’, plus a sprinkling of nutritional yeast to give a stronger flavour. If you want to try nutritional yeast yourself, our editor Mel recommends Marigold Super Engevita Yeast Flakes, £3.99/100g, Ocado.

Get your chocolate fix with a vegan-friendly treatImage of Seed & Bean bar

I often have a couple of squares of chocolate with my coffee and was anxious about giving it up completely. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised by the wide range of vegan-friendly options available, including this delicious Coconut and Raspberry bar from Seed & Bean.

Check out more of my favourite chocolate treats when sticking to a vegan diet here.

Try a plant-based burgerImage of Leon's Love Burger

For days when those meat cravings really do hit, there are a range of convincingly meaty plant-based burgers on the market that are sure to do the trick. I especially enjoyed Leon’s The Love Burger (above). For £5.75 you’ll get a moist beetroot soya patty, served in a bun and topped with vegan burger sauce, mustard mayonnaise, sliced tomato, pickles and gouda-style cheese. You get bang for your buck in terms of toppings and it still comes in at under 500 calories per serving. Just watch the fat and salt content with this one…

Per burger: 482kcal; 25g fat; 7g saturates; 8g sugars; 2.6g salt

Try out new products with a subscription service

Image of vegan subscription box

Attempting to make a straight swap to veganism is tricky. The ingredients lists of many food and beauty products are extensive and it can be hard to pinpoint animal derivatives if you’re not yet sure what you’re looking for. Luckily there are a range of subscription services that now deliver vegan-friendly products straight to your door which can keep you inspired.

Find out which vegan subscription services we think are worth trying here.

Use a milk-alternative

If you can’t stomach black coffee, or are ruled by a daily cereal regime, you will probably want to find an alternative to milk, rather than ditching it completely.

Check out our guides to oat milk, almond milk and coconut milk here.

Looking for vegan cooking inspiration? Check out our archives for healthy vegan recipes to try at home.