Things I learned from doing #Veganuary

Anyone who knows me will attest that I have a joyous relationship with food: I definitely live to eat, as opposed to eating to live. So back in December I decided to set an interesting challenging to myself: the Veganuary challenge.

I already have a dedicated vegan friend who often blogs about being a vegan and looks amazing for it. Great, I thought, after the annual seasonal Christmas binge I will cut out meat, dairy, eggs and seafood and go vegan!

My main motivations were:

  • To lose weight
  • Generally improve my health
  • Test my strength of will

You could say I succeeded. I did a whole 30 days of veganism - and you have no idea how much chocolate I consume on a regular. But I didn’t exactly feel any different.

They say it takes over 60 days for you to become fully vegan and adjust to the dietary lifestyle. In the first week I felt great - the challenge was completely new; I bought avocados, white peaches, coriander and lots of chips. This is great, I thought. A week later I was super sick for 24 hours. I don’t if that was anything to do with my new diet, but I almost gave up and had chicken soup. It was awful.

A probable candidate for causing my sickness was my homemade spinach and tofu lasagna, another (more likely) cause was a bug that was going round. Either way, I’m over tofu rn.

After that the challenge became much more difficult. I began to crave banoffee pie, eclairs, pizza and chocolate - ALL THE CHOCOLATE. It did get me thinking about how and when I eat. My guiltiest pleasures include adding a slice of cheddar cheese to nearly every meal, breaking up biscuits and putting them in my cereal for breakfast and having as many condiments as humanly possible. I know, it’s bad. So it felt good to not do those things for a while and eat more healthily.

Some meals I had were amazing: my friend made a sensational quorn chilli for me, I had bruschetta a lot, leek and onion tart (puff pastry is VEGAN) and plantain tacos. Here are some pictures:

My January catchphrase became: is this vegan? My personal saviours throughout the month were oreos, biscuitoff spread, chips, coriander, jalapeño peppers, edamame beans, dried pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, ciabatta bread, avocados, red cabbage and crumpets. A big thank you to you all.

Now it’s over I’m back on everything and I’m so glad. I understand the ethical considerations that are being made when someone commits to veganism and I support them, but I could not continue being a vegan. A) because I don’t actually believe it’s a very healthy lifestyle and B) I enjoy eating a wide variety of food way too much!

My foray into veganism was definitely fun and it got people talking! I liked thinking more about what I was eating and being creative with flavours. I will definitely start interspersing meals that are vegan with my non-vegan meals, now I that there actually is a variety of amazing options out there for vegans. But for now, I’m going back to goat’s cheese, pork belly and prawns.

Sam Cleal1 Comment