Veganuary: A Review

18:00


It was kind of a last minute, spur of the moment decision I had to partake in 'veganuary' this year. It's one of those annoying, cobbled-together words but, y'know! It was the push I needed to try a fully plant-based, vegan diet and see how it works for me. Because it certainly isn't easy for everyone to make the switch! Hannah (hannahlouisef.com) wrote a v good post all about being vegan if you're interested - obviously offering far more knowledge and insight than I could.
I've been quite heavily plant-based for a while now, but haven't taken the final step to cut things out fully, mainly out of laziness tbh. We all know there's loads of benefits to being plant based, not only health related but environmental and saving the animals, obvs. But I'm not here to ramble about that! I gave up red meat about 18 months ago, and then poultry less than 6 months later. When I was diagnosed with IBS last summer, it was discovered dairy is a big trigger for me, so i swapped to oat milk (after trying various others!) and I've never been a big fan of cheese, so that's kept to a minimum anyway. I guess I've ~technically been pescatarian for the past year, except I don't eat that much fish and I don't want to label my 'diet' because sometimes I'm weak if I'm eating out or getting a take-away and there's no good veggie options. It's quite frustrating when 90% of veggie options at restaurants are cheese or mushroom based and you don't like either, y'know? But I guess I just need to experiment more and try new places, really push myself a bit more.


Challenges
A whole month without any animal products turned out to be much easier than I thought. As I've said, there wasn't loads for me to cut out, I've been getting there gradually anyway, so it was more about ingredients and this tripped me up a few times. I had some Haribo which were gelatine free, so I thought they'd be ok, but turns out they had beeswax in them. Even some crisps, flapjack or vegetable cup-a-soups that I went to have turned out to have powdered milk in them. And although I did find very good dairy-free chocolate (milk and white, because dark chocolate is gross), I struggled to find cakes which were vegan friendly. I also didn't actually try any vegan cheese at home, or experiment too much with other vegan alternatives, so there's still a lot more I could do!


What I Ate
Pringles and skittles by the bucket load. Seriously. No, but they are very good vegan junk food snacks. For eating at home, the Linda McCartney veggie range is, without a doubt, the best out there! It might not be the cheapest, but then again it's not really like you're gonna be having veggie burgers, sausages and sausage rolls every night is it? So for ocassional treats, there's nothing better! Also, the pulled chicken and shredded duck from the range is great for making wraps/tacos/pasta dishes, etc. Also, keeping tins of 'five beans' in meant there was always a go-to quick option for a pasta dish or casserole type meal. But in general I've been getting more into cooking lately and a few vegan faves to make are:
  • BBQ bean wraps
  • Parsnip soup
  • Potato & Leek pie
  • Roasted vegetable pasta bake (minus the cheese)
In terms of eating out, I played it quite safe this month, opting only for three places known for their vegan options: Handmade Burger Co, Zizzi's and Rola Wola. I was v impressed with HBC and Rola Wola, super tasty options (HBC's sweet potato and chickpea burger gets all of the stars from me) but the vegan pizza from Zizzi's was... bizarre? The cheese is made from coconut milk so is really sweet, and just tasted a little weird. I guess if you get used to it though, it's not bad. Also, I got it as a margarita so if you're more adventurous than me with your pizza toppings, it might not stand out so much!


Going Forward
I'm not gonna put it in writing and commit myself to trying veganism full-time from now on, but I'm definitely leaning that way. Like I've mentioned, I didn't experiment fully with certain foods and finding alternatives, but I definitely want to make more of an effort to do so. I need to find more shops and restaurants near me with vegan options for sure!

Loves. Emma. 

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