If you follow me on social media, you may already know that I’m participating in Veganuary this year. It’s something I’ve been meaning to undertake for several years running but have never quite found myself committing to.
Veganuary is a registered charity that encourages the public to try going vegan for the month of January. Of course, if January doesn’t work for you, you can do it any month of the year but I guess Vegune or Vegtember just don’t have the same ring to them. Plus, January is often the month of new diets, personal goals, or health kicks and Veganuary could fall under any one of those umbrellas.
Why was 2018 different? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. I suppose I’ve been gradually leaning more and more towards veganism for the past year or two and eat around 80-90% vegan already, so it seemed more achievable this time.
Plus, my housemate set herself some health challenges for the New Year as well and although they were entirely different to my own (give up alcohol? Yeah, right!), it helps to have someone else undertaking a diet change at the same time so we can cheer each other on.
I also purchased the official Veganuary book How to Go Vegan*. It’s all about the hows and whys of going vegan and it’s a handy little guide, whether you’re an omnivore who doesn’t know where to start, or a vegetarian looking to make that extra step towards a cruelty-free lifestyle.
For me, Veganuary is the latter – it’s about seeing if I could actually commit to a completely vegan diet. As I said, I already eat mostly vegan but I’m not super-strict on milk products if a vegan version is not available and I can’t seem to stay away from cheese for too long.
Now, I know vegans hate it when us vegetarians say “but cheese!” But… CHEESE! It’s not just that I really bloody love cheese, it’s also the convenience of it; it’s often in the only vegetarian option on a menu, in a supermarket’s food-to-go section, or at catered events. It’s the easy go-to snack or lunch on the run. It pairs perfectly with wine…
But to my complete surprise – and with the exception of one particularly strong cheese melt craving during a hangover – I have missed cheese less than I expected.
Maybe it’s because I know my hiatus is only temporary, maybe it’s because I’ve actively avoided the cheese aisle in supermarkets, or maybe it’s because I’ve made some pretty delicious vegan “cheese” dishes (looking at you mac & cheese and vegan nachos!). Whatever the reason, it’s been quite a relief!
The above mac & cheese was far tastier than it looks! It’s just not a particularly photogenic dish, especially with London’s current miserable non-photo-friendly weather conditions.
I’ve eaten out several times throughout the month and it hasn’t actually been a challenge at all. Some places have actually put more vegan options on their menu this month and others have been happy to adapt dishes for me. Here’s a few of the vegan meals I’ve enjoyed throughout the month so far.
Cauliflower steak from Bill’s restaurant:
Vegan sushi from Planet Organic:
Pizza by The White Rabbit Pizza Co:
Smashed avocado toast from Cafe Plum:
Roast veg & baba ganoush foccacia from The Temperance pub:
Mixed salad plate from Foodilic:
So will I carry on after January? Honestly, I’m not 100% sure yet. But so far, I am leaning towards yes. These three weeks have been easier than expected, even if it takes a little more thought or research now and again.
I have a few non-vegan items in my pantry and freezer that I plan to use up after January as I don’t want to be wasteful. But then who knows? Stay tuned to find out!
Are you doing Veganuary this year? Do you have any helpful tips for transitioning veggies or omnivores?
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