6 things I learnt from Veganuary

My flex vegan diet approach was first inspired by veganuary – “Veganuary’s vision is a world where veganism is a mainstream lifestyle choice, with positive action at all levels of society and government to promote the benefits of plant-based eating.

I felt really motivated to give it a go when I began reading up about it, and in an overfed, post-Christmas slump decided to sign up.

So here are some of the things I learnt…

1. ‘Accidentally vegan’ foods are abundant!

The main thing I learnt is that following a vegan diet day-to-day was not a challenge for me; I switched to plant-based milk (oat, soya, rice…whatever was on offer that week in Sainsbury’s!) which sure, tastes very subtly different in a cuppa (FYI – I find Oatly the least offensive milk alternative in a cup of tea), but actually enhances the taste of other foods such as porridge (recipe for the most delicious overnight oats ever here mmmmmmm). I was pleased to find that a lot of the food I eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet is ‘accidentally vegan‘ anyway, so no big changes required there.

 

2. You will get used to cheese withdrawal surprisingly quickly

What I did have to change was grating reduced fat cheddar cheese over EVERYTHING but I soon got used to this, and now enjoy cheese so much more on the occasions I do eat it. Plus Sainsbury’s have an oddly delicious vegan alternative to salad cheese which kind of works (I would not recommend the ‘cheddar style’ one though – it is devil’s spawn and I had to throw the pack away, and I HATE wasting food!!!).

 

3. The stigma is real, but…

The food itself is not the difficult part, what is challenging is every second person asking ‘So are you vegan now?‘ as if the ‘v’ word is a dirty one. Admittedly, as an individual I am conflict-averse and avoid a debate if I can help it, so tend to shrug off the question with ‘…giving it a go‘ or a similar response. What I did find is that the vegan community is full of inspiring people a lot more loud and proud about their lifestyle choice than I am; and anytime I felt challenged this is where I looked to for support. Instagram is full of inspiration at every corner!

 

4. Increased fibre intake is amazing…

Basing meals around vegetables and wholegrains means that not only does 30g of fibre a day (as recommended by the UK government) seem achievable…but I exceed it by lunchtime most days! Fibre is vital to keeping your digestive system healthy, and the majority of people in the UK eat only 18g a day.

 

5. …but I do find sufficient protein intake a struggle

As a runner, based on my height, weight and  the fact I run upwards of 20 miles a week I should be consuming around 75g of protein a day (there are lots of ways to calculate what your personal intake should be but I used this online calculator). I find I often fall short of this number so looking at my diet and working out the best balance of nutrients for me is something I am working on. I am hoping once I have this cracked I will share more and more recipe suggestions for vegan-friendly protein packed foods like this one.

 

6. You will lose nothing but giving veganism a try!

At best you’ll love it like I do. At worst you won’t. But it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll get something out of it…even if it’s simply that it is possible to have a tasty meal without need for animal derived ingredients – who knew!

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4 Replies to “6 things I learnt from Veganuary”

  1. Very interesting article. I’m not vegan or vegetarian myself, but I think that makes this all the more interesting for me because different lifestyles get so much stigma nowadays. I have to say I love that there are so many alternatives available at the moment, which makes eating healthier a lot easier. I noticed that when living in the UK, the alternatives for meat are a lot cheaper than where I am living right now, but luckily they are available here too for those moments when I don’t want meat. I really like your last point too, it’s so true.

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    1. Thanks for your comment charandtheweb – I am really pleased you found the post interesting! The meat substitutes certainly help reduce meat consumption and offer a great alternative for vegetarians (I particularly like Quorn mince in chillis), however unfortunately a lot of them contain egg and milk proteins so are not suitable for vegans. Hopefully something they are looking to develop!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah that’s true, I hadn’t even thought about that. I don’t think I’ll ever go vegan but I like the idea of eating less meat, so luckily for me there are alternatives.

        By the way, would you by any chance be interested in sharing your thoughts and opinions on Creators? I’m currently looking for aspiring writers and bloggers who want their voices to be heard, to inspire, and to gain more readership along the way. I’d love to introduce you to the platform so feel free to shoot me an e-mail for more information. You’ll be able to find my contact details on my blog. Hope to hear from you!

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