Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Veganuary: What I Learnt from a Month Being Vegan

Lessons Learnt in Veganuary

Lessons Learnt in Veganuary

The vegan way of life was first introduced to me by one of my lovely friends at work. On first meeting her (and ever since) I have asked her a million and one questions about being a vegan. Admittedly, also asking all the really annoying questions like 'what would you do if you were on a deserted island'. But mostly, I was asking questions because I was so interested in learning more. The word Veganuary was being banded around the office and the next thing I knew, I had signed myself up for the Veganuary challenge. It quickly dawned on me how much of a challenge this was going to be. Could I really go a whole month without Dairy Milk chocolate?

But guess what? I did it! 
And more importantly, I didn't hate it. 

I wanted to share with you some of the lessons that I learnt throughout my Veganuary challenge. Just to note, I won't necessarily be focussing on why you should be vegan, as I think that is a decision you make for yourself. More focussing on the lessons that I learnt about myself and my diet over the last month. 

Lessons Learnt in Veganuary

1. I don't have to have meat/animal products with every meal
I grew up in a 'meat and two veg' household. When I told my Dad about this challege, he said that he would never be able to do it - he's right, he couldn't. This is because my Mum has always cooked in this way, so I've grown up having meat or some form of animal product with every meal. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this way of living, we had balanced and healthy meals the majority of the time. So, to take on Veganuary, this meant that I was going cold turkey (or tofurkey should I say). I didn't hate it! I actually enjoyed it. I've had some really lovely, nutritional meals - and some not so nutritional meals, on to this later. But most importantly, I will be taking forward more vegan/plant-based meals into my future diet.

2. Vegan food can be so tasty
This lesson follows nicely on from the first one. I cannot lie, I did have the (totally wrong) preconception that vegan food would be dull and just vegetables. On New Year's Eve,  my friends joked that I would be eating air for the month. Again, another wrong preconception of vegan food. I had a lentil cottage pie, chilli with soya mince, naan bread pizzas, mushroom spaghetti bolognese.... I could go on. All these meals were completely vegan and so tasty, which made the transition easier.

3. It's a myth that all vegan food is healthy
In lesson one, I alluded to some of the not so nutritional vegan meals that I have had this month. A chip sandwich and dry toast being some of them. When I hadn't prepped or pre-planned my meals, this is when it became hard and I reached for the frozen chips. What I learnt is that vegan food requires work and thought. Day one of Veganuary wasn't the best, I was hungover and at my friend's house - my fridge at home was full of vegan-friendly food, but I didn't think about taking any with me. Great start. Fast forward to dry toast for breakfast, McDonald's chips for lunch and (thankfully) a trip to the Harvester for dinner. At least it ended better than it started. But, it all shows that you can be just as unhelthy has a vegan - espeically when you google 'accidentally vegan foods'.

4. Google/recipe books are your best friends
On my own, I knew I wouldn't have a clue how to make tasty and nutritionally balanced meals. So, I purchased Lucy Watson's Feed Me Vegan after seeing it was reduced on Amazon. This book has been my lifeline this month. I have cooked a number of meals - some good, some bad - but ultimately, it gave me some ideas and direction. Google and Pinterest have been equally as useful for finding recipes or finding those accidentally vegan sweet treats.

5. Vegan cheese doesn't melt
It's a fact, or at least it doesn't melt like dairy cheese does. Also, vegan cheese isn't the same as dairy cheese, but Violife cheese is bearable.

6. I can go out to dinner with my friends and still be vegan
This Veganuary it seems like so many more restaurants have been getting on board. Prezzo, Pizza Express, Wagamama, Pizza Hut - I've all seen of them adding more vegan options to their menus. I joined my friends for a Pizza Hut this month to try out their vegan cheese pizzas (they use Violife cheese too). The pizza was so great - not the same as what my friends were eating - but it was a really nice alternative.

7. I can do anything I set my mind too
I really didn't think that I would be able to do it. I always say that I don't have any willpower, but I really do. And actually, I need to stop putting myself down.

So, what are my plans for the future? The honest answer is, I don't really know myself. I'm not going to throw any labels on myself, but I want to be more conscious. I plan to up the amount of plant-based meals that I am eating in the week and when I do eat animal products, I want to try and be more conscious about where I am buying it from and getting the best quality that I can afford.

Did you try Veganuary this year? Or maybe you're considering going vegan? I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments - or find me on on Instagram and Twitter
Love, Kate xx



  1. I'm fully veggie, but I'm not sure I could ever go fully vegan. I like to try and eat at least 4 vegan meals a week however I am not too strict with myself! xx

    1. Good for you - being a veggie is still a big commitment! I think it's good not too be too strict with yourself. You're already doing lots of good for the planet and life is all about balance. xx


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