With one week to go of my Veganuary challenge, I thought I’d share my highs and lows of a month eating vegan.
Why I did it
I have been thinking about going meat and dairy free for a while, but never got around to taking the plunge. The Veganuary campaign challenges anyone to give up meat and dairy for the month of January. I thought it would be the perfect time to try veganism as there are so many others doing it at the same time.
I’ve never been a big meat lover, so didn’t think that part would be hard, but when it comes to cheese, you’ll never find me far from a block of brie. So why go vegan?
My main reasons for joining in Veganuary are the environmental advantages a vegan diet has, along with improving my personal health. I’ve gotten to a stage in my life where I want to reduce my impact on the planet and make a difference. A vegan diet is one of the easiest ways to do this. Even if it does mean sacrificing my beloved brie. Added to that, I was intrigued to see how my body would react to a new, all plant-based diet.
Ok, I might as well start with the single best highlight of this whole experience… finding out Hobnobs are vegan. Gamechanger!
But seriously, hobnobs aside, I have been pleasantly surprised at how much I could eat during this challenge. I love food and this experiment was all about learning a new way of thinking, not restricting myself. I started researching into veganism over the Christmas period and making notes of everyday items I already eat. Accounts like Accidentally Vegan on Instagram helped me realise that a lot of products in supermarkets are already vegan. And with a little more attention paid to labels and keeping an eye out for certain brands, I was well on the way to a vegan diet.
Over the month I tried a variety of non dairy milks and pretty much loved them all. I found soya milk tastes the best in teas and smoothies, whilst oat milk is the dream in porridge. But finding a cheese alternative was a little harder…
You know those days when you just want a giant slice of cheesy pizza? Yeh, that wasn’t happening. But you know what, as the month has gone on, I’ve found myself craving it less and less. I’ve been cooking a lot more fresh meals and enjoying a variety of different tastes that cheese has slowly become less of a staple in my diet. That extra handful of cheese I used to sprinkle on top every meal hasn’t had a second thought.. (ok maybe a third or fourth thought…)
Naturally I have found cheese alternatives that work, such as Violife cheese on top of bakes and pizzas and nutritional yeast flakes stirred into a soya cream linguini to give a cheesy taste.
Sticking With It
The biggest question I’ve been asking myself as I come to the end of Jan, is whether I’ll stick to the vegan way of life. And you know what, in some ways I will…
One of the best things about this challenge has been cooking fresh everyday with a variety of ingredients. I’ve loved being a bit more creative in the kitchen and planning ahead. This is a habit I want to continue after January, as the effect on my health, wellbeing and daily routine has been so positive.
What Veganuary Taught Me
I think I’ve definitely said good bye to meat for good. But when it comes to dairy, I think I’m going to see how it goes. I’ve enjoyed finding alternatives and will be sticking to soya milk, dairy free butter and cheese when cooking at home. But I’m not going to be too hard on myself when it comes to eating out, and hidden packaging labels.
I’m treating it as a running experiment. I love that this month has made me a little more clued up and taught me to try new things but I don’t want to restrict myself too much. Instead, allowing myself to get to know what I like and what I don’t, without putting too much pressure on myself.
My goal for this challenge was to make my diet more sustainable and reduce my impact on the planet. And I’ve done that, in a big way. Not to mention dragged my family along for the ride too. For that, I’m pretty proud.
So, if you’re thinking of doing Veganuary, (p.s you can do it any time, not just January) find out more and sign up here. I hope I’ve given you a little insight into my Veganuary journey, feel free to get in touch or leave a comment below if you are thinking of giving it a go and have any questions.