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How to be the Perfect Veganuary Coach

Know someone who's taken the vegan plunge this January? We can help you help them!

In the world of vegans, January is not just January… It's Veganuary! The time where people around the world pledge to be vegan for the whole month. At the time of writing, over one million people have signed up to the challenge, and thousands more are expected. With the number of people pledging to Veganuary growing year on year, it's highly likely that you will know someone taking part. And if you don't, why not encourage your friends and family to do so?

To help make Veganuary the best experience possible, offer to coach the pledger through it, acting as a guide and support team all-in-one. Here are some top tips on how to be the best Veganuary coach you can be, showing your friend how amazing veganism is, and encouraging them to stick to it once the 31 days are long over.

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If you are worried about your friend sticking to Veganuary, offer to sponsor them. Challenge them to try veganism with a charitable incentive and encourage those closest to them to donate 50p per day to a vegan charity of your coachee's choice. This not only helps them to stay on the straight-andnarrow, but it gives their journey even more purpose and sense of accomplishment upon completion.

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Send and swap photos

Whenever you make a meal or tasty snack, capture and send a photo of it to your newbie vegan pal. Ask them to do the same. The exchange will give them ideas of what to cook, eat and buy, and will help them to talk about how things are going. If you find a brand-new vegan treat or an exciting new cruelty-free beauty product, send them a picture of it. Sharing your excitement will help to get them also feeling celebratory and involved in the ever-growing world of veganism.

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Show them a good time

Take them to your favourite vegan restaurant (COVID-19 permitting…), order from your favourite vegan takeaway or cook them your best dish or sweet treat. Show them just how delicious plant-based food is and eliminate any worries or concerns they might have about not being able to enjoy food during Veganuary - it's the exact opposite! Cook food together - show them that plant-based meals can be simple to prepare. Teach them how to make a tasty and hearty dish, so they can go back to it if they are struggling.

Take them to an animal sanctuary, so they can witness first-hand how amazing animals are. Show them that it will bring them much more joy to see animals alive, than on their plate. You could even see if they would like to volunteer together for a day. This will help them to directly connect with animals, giving their journey meaning beyond health or environmental reasons.

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Start early

Talk to them in the lead up. Listen to their concerns, thoughts and decisions coming up to their vegan journey. That way, you can help early on to alleviate any worries, easing them into veganism and putting them in better stead for when they begin. Let them know that you will be there for them throughout, for as much or as little support as they would like - and just a phone call or message away if they have any vegan emergencies (like how to stop plant-milk from curdling in hot drinks!).

Ahead of January, gift your friend or family member a vegan starter kit or 'basics' hamper, to help them begin Veganuary and show them a few foods and products to look out for. Include things like vegan milk, butter, yoghurt, chocolate, cheese and a honey-alternative, like agave, and meatreplacements, such as tofu and plant-based sausages. If you want to go further, gift them some vegan health and beauty goodies, too.

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Bring the information to them

Instead of setting them off on their own headless search for more information about vegan eating and living, make them an easy-to-read list of top tips, as well as recipe cards. Include names of vegan-friendly supplements they might require, vegan baking and cooking hacks, food and product swaps, and note down a few plant-based recipe and lifestyle websites (how about veganlifemag.com?!).

Gift them this magazine once you are finished reading it, along with any old issues of Vegan Life you have. Reading will help them to feel part of the vegan community and provide them with tonnes of pages of useful recipes and information. You could even cut out tasty dishes from old copies or email them recipes from our website. Remind them that the Veganuary team will continue to send them lots of supportive emails featuring advice and meal plans throughout the month.

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Take them shopping

The next time you go shopping take them with you. Physically show them foods you eat each week; what the tastiest vegan treats look like, and how easy and cost effective it can be to live a vegan lifestyle. If you can't go to the shops together, send them your shopping list, or video chat or voice call them whilst you are in the supermarket. You could talk them through what you are getting and show them where to find items of interest. Provide them with all the knowledge they need to be able to shop effectively and happily as a vegan.

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Encourage them to seek community

Invite them to join vegan groups on Facebook, like Veganuary's, and encourage them to like and follow plant-based influencers, athletes, chefs and bloggers on Instagram. Being a part of an online community will give them support almost 24/7 and show them that they are not alone. Inspire them to attend vegan meetups or markets - virtual, or, COVID-19 permitting, in person. You could join them if they'd like a friendly face.

VeganLife

The lifestyle magazine written by vegans for vegans.