So, ‘Veganuary’ has just come to an end and with me being too slow to get my life sorted after Christmas and New Year, I missed the chance to join in. Instead, I have decided to do my very own…’Vegebruary’… or basically I am going vegan for a month which happens to be February!
I have wanted to embark on the vegetarian-month-challenge for a while now, but it was only when I was researching into what different supermarkets have to offer to vegetarians/vegans that I realised that veganism would be more far more exciting (much to the annoyance of G!)
I already eat a lot of vegetarian ‘stuff’ such as chickpeas, lentils, houmous, falafel, almond milk and lots of fruit and veg. Therefore, the thought of going vegan was more positive than anything else. It is not that I do not like meat or fish, in fact quite the opposite, nor is it that I have a serious problem with the ways in which all animals are treated.
But there is some truth in those statements.
I have never been a huge fan of chunks of meat whether that is a pork chop, a whole breast of chicken or a fatty sirloin steak. Instead, when I eat meat it is usually careful cut into small chunks whereby I have removed any ounce of vein, blood or fat and it no longer resembles meat. I also have real problems with touching raw meat or fish (ew), which puts me off on a daily basis. In addition, there are indeed some animal practices that I disagree with, along with the majority of people i.e. battery chicken farming and some fish slaughtering by starvation. But with that said the public are very much protected from seeing these awful practices day-to-day and hence why a lot of us still eat meat with no issue.
However, I am not here to tell you why veganism is the best nutritional option, or even that it’s not! Neither am I here to preach about animal rights, because to be quite honest regardless of doing an animal rights module at University I do not know enough detail about it to provide a complete and balanced argument, and that is not the reason for this post.
I simply wanted to write an introduction to my month of veganism and give you an insight into my reasons and feelings before I started. Hopefully at the end of the month I will be able to reflect back and see if I think any differently. I do intend to go back to eating some meat and fish after this challenge, however how I incorporate back into my diet may very well change…
Everyone likes a good challenge and I have fairly good perseverance when it comes to refraining from certain foods e.g. I have given up chocolate for lent for about 4 years in a row now and I also have cut out certain carbs from my diet such as pasta, white bread and pastry. I like being in control of what I am eating and feel so much better for it. As soon as I overload with sugars, alcohol and rich foods (such as at Christmas) I feel bloated, groggy and tired. Therefore, I know that a month of veganism will be a good focus for me to kick start my health kick and to feel good about myself! I think it is beneficial for everyone to embark on food challenges every so often to mix up their routines, try new things and achieve something out of the ordinary!
I love cooking and experimenting with new foods in the kitchen. Although I have recently started eating a lot of vegetarian foods, I find that these are things that I have bought from the supermarket ready-made such a falafel and houmous. There are actually very few vegan recipes in my repertoire and I want this to change. A month will give me enough time to create my own dishes and explore what the vegan world is all about in a comprehensive manner. I hope to share many of my vegan dishes with you over the next 28 days and incorporate this into my life to see what alternative diets have to offer. Too many people buy ready-to-cook meals off the shelves or order take aways for dinner. These are bad habits to get into, so a month challenge will hopefully encourage people that home-cooking can be a viable option. There are so many quick, easy and inexpensive recipes out there for you to try that you have no excuse!
My decision to go vegan for a month has been questioned by some of my friends and family as something that is hypocritical. Because I usually eat meat and fish, they think that to suddenly go against this is not going to have any impact on the lives and treatment of animals because it is only for a matter of a few weeks rather than a lifestyle change. In a way, I understand what they are saying. However, I think it is important for everyone to understand that not all animal practices are moral and also for people to make small steps to help minimise the impacts humans make, whether that is swapping to vegetarian meals 3 or 5 days a week, going vegan for a month or two every year or opting for free range options in the supermarkets. There is a huge spectrum of ways you can begin to appreciate cruel animal practices and you are not guilty for eating meat because it is a normal part of everyday life for many people. If you have grown up eating meat it is a big part of your life to simply throw away overnight and nobody is expecting you to do that. Vegans that condemn meat-eaters are not helping anyone or their cause. But there is nothing wrong with sometimes seeing it from other people’s perspectives and understanding why they do things and maybe your views will change. I genuinely do not think I will go back to my ‘normal’ diet after this month, which currently consists of me eating some form of animal produce every day. Instead I think that it will allow me to appreciate alternative options and to make slight changes in my choices…who knows what I’ll end up doing with my consumption.
But, whatever you believe or stand for, I truly believe you should do what is best for you as long as you allow others to follow their wishes. A little bit of appreciation for alternative views never hurt anyone…!
I personally am looking forward to abstaining from animal produce this month, which includes dairy chocolate, eggs, honey, meat, fish, yoghurt and more – I am hoping that I will feel vitalised, healthy and in control so that I can carry on 2018 in a clear and focused mind-set! I am not nervous in any way, but I am intrigued to see what sorts of foods I start to rely on, what foods I crave and if there are any changes in my health and well-being, whether than is my skin or how tired (or not) I feel.
So, there is my introduction to veganism for a month! If anyone has any favourite vegan recipes please let me know by contacting me here or posting below and I’d love to give them a try. Why not give it a go and see how you find it and we can do Vegebruary together! I will be posting regular recipes, ideas for snacks and alternatives for our cupboard and fridge essentials so keep your eyes peeled and subscribe to my blog to get the latest news!