In December 2020, I decided that I would take part in Veganuary. Prompted partly by reading Rich Rolls book “Finding Ultra” and “The Game Changers” on Netflix was determined to prove to myself I could manage it and if it lived up to all the hype. After much research, and signing up to the official Veganuary website, I was excited to get going.
Before I start, it’s important to mention that I’m by no means a cook. I don’t enjoy it and I’m not particularly good at it. Alex explained that she had little to no interest in becoming vegan and that I would be “going it alone”. I started this journey as a through and through meat eater. I love burgers and partial to a cheeky Nandos and my Christmas dinner consisted of no less than 5 types of meat (I’m including pigs in blankets as 2)
Veganuary was fast becoming a bigger undertaking than I imagined and it hadn’t even reached January 1st.
Armed with the The No Meat Athlete Cookbook (a very welcome Christmas to present) and some government enforced spare time (thanks BoJo), I set about trying to remove all meat and animal derived foods from my diet.
This blogpost aims to explore the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ll let you know what I found easy and where the biggest challenges were.
Meal planning was step number one on my vegan journey. I set out with the ambition of not only going vegan but trying to eat whole foods. I quickly learned that this was a step too far for me, certainly as a first attempt, and I readjusted my goals.
I knew if I was going to make this work, I’d need to get better at meal planning, batch cooking and somehow finding the motivation to cook after a long day at work and a run.
The meals were surprisingly straightforward. From homemade vegan meatballs to plant-based lasagna, I explored the different dishes and made some successful meals. Of course, I also had my fair share of “that needed more spice” and “it didn’t taste of much” meals. Essentially, I managed to eat the things I would usually eat by replaced the meat for lentils or beans.
I have always had a sweet tooth. Something that is directly linked to my weight. Now before I get reminded about “calories in/out and no food is bad food”, I want t point out that I have always very much been a 3 chocolate bars for £1.50 at the petrol station and they have all gone before I pull off the forecourt. My relationship with sweets is a love/hate one. I love eating them but hate how it makes me feel
I was wary of vegan snacks at first. Would they be tasteless? Would they be readily available?
The answer is a mixed bag. Some vegan snacks are delicious. I’m a big fan of the Graze cocoa and vanilla flapjacks and Eat Natural vegan bars. However, I also tried my fair share of blant, stodgy snacks.
In the most part they are pretty easy to pick up. Sainsbury’s and large Tescos seem to be the best. Tesco express, budgens and coop all had a few but not real selection. It’s also worth noting that many are considerably more expensive than normal treats.
So, that’s the basics. Now for my summary. I’ve divide this section into the good, the bad and the ugly.
Top Good (Top 3)
The Bad (Bottom 3)
There are no two ways about it. Veganism, or at least the transition to veganism, is a real shock to the system. Without going into too much detail, the aroma is extremely unpleasant for the first couple of weeks. Be prepared!
I have found the transition to veganism far easier than I would every have imagined. It has been straight forward and I’ve enjoyed trying new foods and, dare I say it, doing all my own cooking.
Would I recommend veganism? Well let’s put it this way, as I write this review I’m currently on week 2 of Vegebuary (see what I did there). I won’t be going back to animal products in my diet anytime soon… although the summer BBQ season is definitely going to test my resolve.