This blog is going to be a little different than most, with a lot less imagery and a lot more writing!
But essentially, just after Christmas, I decided to take part in Veganuary. Not for any particular cause, other than a deep love for all things animal-related, and a curiosity to see if I felt any healthier. More than anything, I’m actually really proud that I have managed to go a whole month without dairy products (apart from one mistaken Yorkshire pudding..).
Below, I’m going to do a quick review of the major diet changes I took to complete this challenge, meal by meal, and my recommendations for anyone trying to go Vegan.
To be honest, I’ve never really enjoyed eating breakfast, it normally makes me feel ill, but after having a blood test a few years ago and finding out I was B12 and folate deficient, and also finding out most of these nutrients are in milk and cereal, I decided to power through.
Almond milk actually isn’t that bad. I’m not a big milk drinker and really, once my choco balls had dissolved into the milk, I really couldn’t taste it anyway! The milk is a lot sweeter, but it has a much lower impact on the environment than dairy milk does – see the chart below if you don’t believe me!
And on the weekends for breakfasts, I’ll normally have toast or a bit of a vegan fry up. Consisting of spinach, hash browns (most supermarket frozen hashbrowns are vegan, just check!), baked beans (do NOT get reduced sugar, as these baked beans are not vegan), spinach, toast and mushrooms – Linda Mccartney has aided me well through this journey, think I’ve gone through at least two packs of her sausages since being vegan!
This was probably one of the easier parts of my diet, normally for lunch, I’ll have a wrap, pasta salad or leftovers from the previous night. Once I’d substituted my pesto for a vegan pesto (which was bloody expensive!), I was pretty much on my way.
One thing I have fallen in love with during this time though is merchant gourmet. I don’t want to be standing around the stove cooking lentils for half an hour if they can do it for me! All of their range can be microwaved and tastes delicious. I’d normally have used my expensive pesto with lentils and then have either kale or spinach on the side.
Again, once I started looking into what I was eating (essentially pasta…), most of my meals were or could be prepared vegan. However, filled pasta was out of the question, so goodbye spinach and ricotta tortellini. However, Kieran’s amazing mushroom risotto was still a weekly highlight for me. For this, I only had to substitute in vegan cheese for parmesan. Just make sure that you use a vegan wine, as many are processed using animal-derived products. Sainsburys own and Aldi are the best place to go.
However, I do now have an obsession with making my own roast potatoes, which are often not vegan from supermarkets, which I am now a connoisseur of. Additionally, aubergine is my new best friend.
Pizza made me most sad during this experience. Throughout the month, I’ve tried around 4/5 different vegan brands and been thoroughly disappointed by each and every one. The Goodfella’s one had to of been the worst. It was just a very sad flatbread, no cheese, no tomato base.
Sorry, I couldn’t write this without adding this infamous meme.
This part started not fun and turned out to be amazing. I miss mozzarella dippers SO much. However, thankfully, and weirdly, Walkers prawn and cocktail crisps are vegan, so we’ve gone through a huge amount of them.
I also had a deep love for Walkers sweet chilli sensations, which are definitely not vegan. Disappointed, I turned to Tyrell’s version of this, I was shocked and excited to discover that they are EVEN BETTER than the Walkers crisps.
Vegan chocolate is good. I don’t care what anyone says, but Sainsbury’s free from range gave me hope through the dark times of veganism. I also highly commend their jam tarts.
If you know me very well, you’ll know chocolate milkshake is one of my all-time favourite drinks. I actually JUST discovered that Alpro does a soya chocolate milkshake and absolutely love them. They are so, so good.
I’m really sorry to all of my vegan friends, but veganism is not something i’m going to be taking with me into February. I love cheese far too much and have been looking forward to frying a whole block of halloumi since the 1st of January.
However, not being a milk fan anyway and being a true enviro-warrior, I’m going to stick with almond milk. I’m also going to (try) and stop eating fish and remain with my dairy-free butter. The free from chocolate is just amazing, but that doesn’t mean I can’t wait to shove a whole box of after eights down my throat. So i’ll be eating a mixture of vegan and non-vegan snacks.
This diet is really not for everyone and requires a great amount of strength, and potentially money – especially if you’re like me and don’t want to eat celery for every meal (bleurgh).
But I do feel healthier, and for every time I’m at the supermarket, I will try to shop in a vegan (ish) way, checking labels and seeing what I’m really putting into my body.
I commend anyone for trying to do this for a month, a year or forever (you’re better than me). But being a vegetarian for 14 years is the only dietary commitment I’m going to stick out