Is anybody else ecstatic that January is finally over? Probably. Now I usually enjoy the first couple of weeks of the month as I’m counting down to my birthday (I turned 26 on the 20th btw) but once that is over with I’m wishing the winter away and craving spring sunshine.
This year has been a little different as I have had more than just my birthday to focus on in January. Now let’s just ignore the fact that as a whole the month has been quite lacklustre. My aim to start the year as I meant to go on was a bit of a flop – but speaking to a lot of other people they seem to have felt the same, which is very reassuring.
But anyway, for me January was more than just about my birthday this year, as I mentioned in my ‘Saying goodbye to 2017’ post, I decided to take part in Veganuary. And guess what guys? I did it! I managed an entire month eating a vegan/plant-based diet (with one hiccup at the end but we’ll get to that later)
WHY DO VEGANUARY?
Firstly let’s have some context. In July of 2017, I made the decision to stop eating meat and fish and become vegetarian. This stemmed from binge-watching a number of Netflix and animal activist documentaries. Something clicked, it was almost like a switch was flipped and I physically couldn’t bring myself to carry on consuming meat and fish.
Before I began Veganuary I was a fully fledged vegetarian, I drank plant-based milk at home, used dairy free butter, rarely bought cheese and I ate one egg in the space of 6 months. Outside of the home, I did consume foods with dairy in them as they were often the only vegetarian option available.
When turning vegetarian my final aim was to eventually become completely Vegan, so this seemed like a perfect way to dip my toes into the world of Veganism. So I felt Veganuary was naturally the next step for me.
MY THOUGHTS DURING VEGANUARY
Everybody is suddenly a nutritionist.
I found this when I first went vegetarian, but it’s 10 times worse when you tell people you’re vegan. Everybody is suddenly super concerned about if you’re getting the right nutrition. If I had £1 for everytime somebody asked if I was getting enough protein I could afford to holiday in the Maldives.
The most ironic part of all of this is that those who are suddenly concerned about your nutrition are consuming diets full of processed foods, laden with fat, chemicals and sugar. Yet they are so concerned about whether or not you’re getting enough protein.
Note: the reason meat is full of protein is because animals are fed with foods that are full of protein. Protein comes from plants.
People are mean.
There is the cliche that Vegan’s are always telling you that they’re Vegan and pushing their ideologies down your throat – which in some cases is true, you do get judgemental folk in the vegan community who look down on those who are not ‘Vegan enough’.
But I’ve found most of the negativity and forcefulness has come from non-vegans. I choose not to eat meat but if you choose to eat meat that’s your decision. I may not agree with it, but I won’t try and shove my hatred for it down your throat. Yet as soon as you tell anybody you’re Vegan or even Vegetarian you get beef burgers waved in your face and get bombarded with the phrase:
‘but bacon though’
Why are animal products in everything?
The one thing I struggled with a little during the month was having to double check the packaging of everything I buy. There are so many products that have milk, egg, and animal products in that you really wouldn’t expect to.
Why do my vegetable stock cubes have milk in them?
Why does my wine have to be filtered using animal products?
WHY ARE CONDOMS NOT VEGAN?!
SO WHAT NEXT?
So Veganuary is over with – whats next for Alice? – I am not going to become Vegan…yet.
The month has taught me I have a way to go before I am 100% vegan. Over the month I managed 29 days without consuming any animal products – a tiny slip up on the second last day where I ate some bread that I didn’t realise contained honey. I spent the month focusing more on the food I was eating than the other aspects of a Vegan lifestyle. I still have beauty products that contain beeswax, honey and non-vegan ingredients. I have coats, jumpers and hats that contain wool. Hell, I wear leather shoes, although I no longer purchase leather and I refuse to throw away perfectly good clothing when they’ve plenty of wear left.
My aim for the future is to be as Vegan as possible and continue to follow a plant-based diet at home. However, if I’m out and the only option available is vegetarian then that’s fine with me. If I’m at a friends house and they only have cows milk available I’ll happily have a little dash in my cuppa. After all, it’s all about taking one step at a time, and I’m doing the best I can.
If you’re interested in Vegetarian and Vegan recipes I have a Pinterest board where I share my favourite meals.