#Veganuary – the results!
My thoughts on going vegan for a month.
You may ask yourself why a food blogger would want to limit the types of food they eat. Having been a meat eater for most of my life, my friends and family really struggled to understand this when I switched from being a flexitarian (someone who is consciously reducing the amount of meat they eat) to a full time veggie in autumn 2018. They were even more baffled when I decided to try being vegan in January 2019.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the taste of meat. I didn’t go veggie because I can’t palette the taste or textures. The main reason was my health with concerns about the impact of the meat industry on the environment and animal welfare also influencing my decision. All of these reasons equally apply to being vegan so I wanted to push myself and see if I could sustain a vegan diet for a month and possibly even longer.
For more information on why I took up the #Veganuary challenge, you can read my post here.
Am I staying vegan? The short answer…
In some ways going vegan was easier than I thought – because I was already eating a vegetarian diet I just had to ditch the eggs and dairy. Given that they were my main sources of protein it did worry me a little but I soon learnt to live without them. There’s also much fake meat out there now which is packed full of protein so I really didn’t have to worry.
That being said, I’ve decided that I’m not going to stay vegan. My plan going forward is to keep enjoying plant based milk, cream, ice cream and cream cheese. I’m also going to massively reduce the amount of eggs and cheese I eat but I’m not going to give them up altogether. Who knows, maybe this will be a slow burn like the vegetarian thing and one day I might cut it all out entirely.
To properly understand my reasons for going back to being a veggie, check out my summary of the good, the bad and the ugly of my #Veganuary journey below.
Normally around 3 or 4pm I snack on a couple of hard boiled eggs (slightly weird I know…) I thought I’d miss these a lot but swapped them out for nuts and seeds and if anything, I think I prefer them as a snack! So far so good for veganism.
I was also mega impressed with a lot of the dairy swaps we made. Vegan mayo as well as the OATLY range of milks, cream and custard all deserve a shout out. They are AWESOME. I genuinely don’t see myself going back to cow’s milk or cream any time soon. There were also lots of tasty vegan cream cheeses. Once I’ve cracked vegan cheesecake I think we can say goodbye to regular cream cheese as well.
I maintained my weight for the whole month and day-to-day fluctuations were much lower than normal. The reason this was particularly impressive is that I normally go to the gym 5 days a week but in January I only went 3 days a week on average. I also drank A LOT of alcohol and ate out loads so I would’ve expected to gain a few lbs. (For context I’ve already gained 2lbs in the 6 days I’ve been eating eggs and cheese…)
On the point of eating out… how lucky are we in London?! I know it’s not the same everywhere but I ate some SERIOUSLY good vegan food this month and I will definitely pay more attention to the vegan options on menus going forward.
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Sadly not even #Veganuary could convince me to get my arse in order and start meal planning/prepping again (maybe that’s just a lost cause). The problem was that if I didn’t meal plan I’d find myself aimlessly wandering around the Tescos Extra next to work looking for something to eat for lunch. I HATED looking at the back of packets. I’d pick up something that if made in a normal home kitchen would have no milk or egg in only to find it had one or other, if not both. It really sucked the fun out of food shopping and made lunch times quite boring.
My skin was also pretty bad all month. Now I don’t know whether or not this is a result of my change in diet but I don’t normally have spots all month round. As a general rule I’ll get some massive horrible red thing pop up at that time of the month and then it goes away. I’ve just had low level shit skin for all of January and nothing I do can make it clear up. Let’s hope it goes back to normal in this month (so far so good on that front!)
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I ate a TONNE of processed food. Although my average daily calorie intake was lower, I wasn’t eating as many wholefoods and that really surprised me. Yes it was great that Gregg’s bought out a vegan sausage roll, and yes it was delicious, but does anyone need to be chowing down on one while waiting for their dinner to cook? No.
Also, me and vegan cheese just don’t agree with each other. It tastes good. It melts surprisingly well. But it really messed with my digestion. (The less said on that the better!) The funny thing is one of my main reasons for thinking veganism would be good for my health is that I’ve always suspected I am lactose intolerant. So now I can’t have cow’s milk cheese or coconut based cheese either. Lucky me…
You might not think that the bad or the ugly are good enough reasons to go back to being veggie but I just don’t think I’m ready to cut out two (rather delicious) food groups. So, for the foreseeable future I’ll continue to eat and, of course, post recipes for dishes that use dairy and eggs. Though I’m sure more and more of the content will be “accidentally” vegan.
Did you do #Veganuary this year? Or perhaps you’ve tried it in the past. I’d be interested to hear about your experiences and whether or not you were able to ditch all animal products for good.
Either way, I wanted to share some of the resources which I found most helpful during the month:
- Accidentally vegan products (UK) – there are more than you might think!
- Vegan label reading guide – seriously why isn’t it the law to just label something vegan if it is?!
- Vegan baking guide – very important if (like me) your birthday falls during Veganuary!
- Veganuary Facebook Group – people are so supportive and regularly share recipes.
- Dr Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist – if you’re eating everyone on this list every day you can be sure that all your nutritional needs are covered!
If you’re after plant based recipes then head over to the vegan recipe archive. Make sure you check back regularly as I try to post a new recipe every week.