Just in case you live on the moon and haven’t yet heard of Veganuary: it’s where folks like myself give a plant based diet a bash for the month of January.
There are so many different reasons for becoming vegan – preventing animal cruelty, sustainability, health reasons and weight loss. My reason is a combination of them all, but also to push myself out of my habits*. I do have a sense of guilt about using animals and I do try to choose free range and local products, but ultimately I will happily eat anything and I don’t always pay attention. So I want to reduce my animal consumption as much is realistic for me, starting with a complete overhaul.
* habits: standing slicing cheese in the fridge and chain-eating it, specifically.
I want to eat more fruit and vegetables and pulses, experiment with meat alternatives and generally kick my diet in a better direction. I know in my heart I won’t be vegan or vegetarian on a permanent basis, but my plan is that in the long term I’ll be vegan until dinner time Monday – Friday, and vegetarian most evenings.
This blog post will detail how I ate for the first week – I’ll start by saying it was a huge adjustment, so I enjoyed repeating safe options to ease me in! It was probably harder than any other time of year I started whilst still on holiday for Christmas – and Holiday Me wants all the animal products, all the time. Steak. Chocolate. Bacon. Cheese. All of the things.
First up, let’s have a cuppa!
A shocking start: I LOVE soya milk. I’m so shocked because I honestly thought it was going to be gross. I bought 3 plant milks and took a ‘save the best til last’ approach, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever go back to cows milk again now. I’ll need to try it in cereal etc and report back, but I don’t eat much cereal anyway.
One of my favourite breakfast/brunches is hash browns or waffles with beans, crispy bacon and Schwartz Season All, and maybe a wee poached egg. This was easily adapted!
Another favourite is my beloved fish finger sandwiches. I swapped the mayonnaise for Tesco Free From Salad Cream and swapped the fish for Birds Eye Vegetable Fingers. Salad leaves, cucumber, tomato, a little red onion and a hearty dollop of Sriracha – perfect! The salad cream adds a nice mustard taste, but I’m going to hunt down other mayonnaise to try it! The veggie fingers are brilliant though, I really like them.
I stupidly let myself get hangry on day one, and I was just about to scream profanities about Veganuary and phone a pizza with 6 animals as ingredients when I remembered that I had Good Life Smokey Bean Sausages in the freezer. Even the name sounds tasty. So I had breakfast for dinner – hash browns, sausages, beans and some mushrooms fried in garlic oil. Easy peasy! They are sausage shaped and are lovely but bear no real resemblance to a sausage so I don’t recommend them as a substitute per se. But they are really well flavoured and delicious – I really like them.
The Linda McCartney ones are made with a soya meat alternative rather than a bean and lentil mix, so texture wise they are much more similar to real sausages. They tasted great too!
Getting drunk when you’re newly vegan is a risky game, but I persevered with my cause even when the munchies hit. I wasn’t in the mood for chips and I was actually going to leave the Indian takeaway empty handed and depressed *gasps heard across the world* as I thought I had no options, when the lovely owner heard me say I was vegan and told me the vegetable pakora was suitable! I nearly kissed the lovely chap! Thank you to Spice of Life.
I am a massive pizza lover – if you keyword search ‘pizza’ on this site it’ll probably explode! I was going to totally avoid pizza in general but for some reason this one caught my eye and I’m so glad it did – it’s truly delicious! It’s absolutely crammed with toppings and everything is so well flavoured. I can’t recommend it enough! I didn’t even miss the cheese. ME! NOT MISSING CHEESE ON A PIZZA!
I think the lack of cheese attracted me – I chose it because the ingredients list read like a really flavour-filled and tasty pizza with none of the fake yuck loser cheese to try to make it something it’s not. And it was!
I haven’t taken pictures, but I’m a total snacker so just in case any of you are wondering what my snacks have been, they are:
- Pickled onions/beetroot/gherkins. I love these anyway, but as a vegan their importance in my life has changed!
- Olives – current favourites are Aldi Chilli & Garlic.
- Houmous (Aldi is the best) with cucumber
- Toast with Dairy Free Flora
And this is where I’m going to leave you all with my first week! Items which I’d recommend to people whether they’re vegan or not, based on taste and enjoyment alone!
I have repeated meals a fair amount this week for comfort zone and taste reasons while I get to grips with what I can and can’t have, and mourn the loss of the things I crave. My brand new freezer is being delivered today so I will be batch cooking up some meals now that I’ll have somewhere to store them, and I’ll share with you some other products I bought but haven’t yet tried out!
If you’re doing Veganuary or are in fact a vegan, please hit me up with any helpful hints or tasty recipes!