While for many the holiday period is an excuse to consume vast quantities of alcohol and food, it’s also a good time to pause and reflect on our lives and make choices about how we want to proceed over the coming year. New Year’s resolutions are often scoffed at, but just like being a vegetarian in itself, they’re far more effective when viewed as a complete lifestyle change rather than a fad or temporary effort. Undertaking a new goal and being realistic about ways to achieve it is an excellent way to find personal and spiritual direction for the new year.
Resolutions Beyond Being Vegetarian
Spread the veggie-love. Raising awareness of the vegetarian diet, animal rights issues and ethical food is a long process, but it’s much easier when everyone makes it their business to help out. You don’t need to start handing out brochures if you don’t want to – simply starting the conversation is a good first step. Share delicious vegetarian food with friends and family and show them how satisfying the diet can be, and raise questions about where their food is sourced and how they really feel about that.
Try new recipes. Being vegetarian, it’s possible to sometimes get stuck in a rut within your own kitchen. Expanding the pantry can be expensive – especially if you aren’t sure whether the results will pay off! But with so many options available, it makes sense to broaden your horizons and hopefully fall in love with vegetarian food all over again. For the wary, stick to the guidance of blogs that are simple and straightforward, and specialise in a certain type of cooking so that you can use the same new ingredients over and over again.
Support local vegetarian causes. Local youth groups, community gardens and specialty shops all rely on the support and participation of the vegetarian population in order to flourish. Research what kinds of groups operate in your area (such as animal rights groups, vegetarian cooking classes, environmental concern groups etc.) and dedicate some time to them. It’ll also put you in connection with other vegetarians in your area, with whom you can swap tips, thoughts and restaurant recommendations.
Live well. Many conflate a vegetarian diet with being super healthy, but it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough iron, protein and Vitamin B12 in particular. Think about your regular intake – is there anything you could improve on?
Try going vegan for a month. Many vegetarians think that veganism is a bridge too far, but it’s really not that difficult at all once you get used to the concept. A balanced vegan diet is often a healthier road to travel and further reduces animal suffering.
With a new year comes new opportunities to improve yourself and the world around you. Keep the momentum going by being active, conscientious and establishing practical ways of achieving your goals.
Just like the first two weeks of the New Year are crowded at the gym, watch those making the resolution to go veggie gradually give it up… Switching to a vegetarian lifestyle is not just a flash in the pan trend, it needs to be a decision that every individual arrives at on their own terms.