Vegans have had quite the week. First Beyoncé and Jay-Z offered a lifetime’s worth of tickets to US fans who fully committed to a plant-based diet. Now Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, has been offered a $1m charity donation by environmental campaigners if he goes vegan for Lent.
The Million Dollar Vegan campaign is led by 12-year-old called Genesis Butler from California and supported by an unlikely constellation of celebs including Paul McCartney, Chris Packham and Moby.
It’s unclear whether the pontiff will take up the challenge but just in case Pope Francis (or indeed anyone else) is keen to go green, we’ve rounded up top tips on how to give up animal products from people who smashed Veganuary last month.
1. Get On Instagram.
“Use Instagram to your advantage – follow @nowyouknowitsvegan and #veganuary tags to give you some inspiration,” advises 28-year-old Chloe Lillywhite, a publisher from Oxford. “It also helped me find some amazing local vegan restaurants and cafes which I may not have discovered otherwise.”
2. Do Meal Prep.
Ursula Runacres, 24, says she survived Veganuary by always cooking for the week ahead. “I found meal prepping on the Sunday night saw me through most of my work lunches – would roast off trays of sweet potatoes, courgettes, peppers and aubergines drizzled in olive oil, chilli flakes and crushed garlic and whacked it in my Tupperware with salad and avo,” she says.
“Definitely plan meals in advance,” agrees Hannah McGurk, a 20-year-old Edinburgh University student. “I made a lot of curries so make sure you have your turmeric, garam masala and fenugreek on hand.”
Meanwhile, Jasmine Granton, a 25-year-old PR executive from Bedford suggets the Pope buys a tofu press: “I spent a lot of time refusing to pay for one and stacking it between books in a strange tofu balancing act. It’s far more delicious and takes on the flavour of your marinade far better when pressed.”
Meal prep doesn’t just mean making your own food, either. Check out which of your favourite restaurants offer good vegan food – or try some of the new vegan chains. “Most of the time I actually preferred cooking my own food rather than eating out,” says Runacres. “But the highlights for me were the Vegan Pizza at Zia Lucia and the Jackfruit Bites at TYFL. The Pope should definitely be checking out Temple of Seitan [a vegan fast food restaurant in London].”
3. Enlist A Friend.
Sometimes going it alone can make it harder for you to stick to a pledge. So pair up with a friend. “I was lucky enough to have my sister and her husband take part with me,” says Chloe Lillywhite. “Having some support when you think you’re craving a bacon sarnie was really helpful. We also shared recipes to make sure my dinners didn’t just look like the same old salad.”
4. Stock Up On Snacks.
If, like many of us here at HuffPost UK you love snacks, then make sure you stock up. “I lived off McCoy’s, vegan dark chocolate and Haribo giant strawbs,” says Hannah McGurk. (Be aware that not all sweets may be strictly vegan, as they contain beeswax derived ingredients.) “I ate my body weight in potato waffles after discovering they are in fact vegan!” adds Runacres.