Veganuary 2019 – Not what I expected

veganuary fruit bowl

This time last month I decided to take part in Veganuary. I attempted it in 2018 but failed pretty quick so this year I wanted to make sure I was prepared.

I knew Veganuary was a challenge I wanted to attempt again, so I gave myself a head start and started planning late December 2018. I browsed some vegan foods in my local supermarkets and I started to add vegan bits and bobs to my trolley in the run up to the new year. I also started to read a few vegan blogs.

Not only was I going vegan, I was also going to cut out caffeine (I am giggling as I write that!) and remove wheat completely from my diet – I have been advised by my GP to remove wheat and yeast from my diet for a few years now. More on this subject to come.

I have been a pescatarian for years, I was happy to give up seafood but my main worry was that I’d miss milk, and yogurts. I also follow a low fat diet and a lot of the vegan protein snacks are not low in fat.

My main worries about going vegan were:

  • No milky latte’s
  • No high protein yogurts
  • No Actimel (‘probiotic’ yogurt-type drink)
  • No Sushi
  • No high omega oily fish
  • No prawns
  • The cost – I read that it can be quite expensive
  • Family meals – I was not going to push this on my husband or children
  • No haribos

Day one, I was eager to start my new life as a vegan. I had fresh lemon and hot water in place of my coffee and I made a smoothie with soya milk for breakfast.

Veganuary smoothie

Oh yes! I have got this! Easy!

For lunch I made a gluten free pitta bread with roasted veg and for tea that night I had made a lovely veg stew. I used Kallo Organic Vegetable Stock Cubes as they are wheat free and vegan.

I managed the day without coffee and I actually felt good.

The second and third day was good too! No coffee, I was keeping to my soya milk even though it was not great with decaff coffee. I was eating lots of fruit and vegetables, maybe too many though because by day four my IBS flared like you wouldn’t believe!!

I think my body went in to shock, I was either having a really good detox or I had consumed too many vegetables. Perhaps I should rethink this diet!

Whilst recovering from my bout of tummy unpleasantness, I stuck to bulking foods and avoided fruit. Gluten free bread is awful and really over priced but I found myself munching on this with a hope of it helping my tummy.

A few days later I felt like me again. I’d rethought the diet and decided to add rice noodles, gluten free pasta and rice to my vegetable dishes. I tried my best to limit my fruit intake.

Veganuary Stir fry

I started to cook from scratch which was something I had neglected in 2018 and this made me feel good. I really enjoyed making fresh soups, stir fry and roasted veg mixes. I didn’t like tofu one bit!

I did find it difficult to make family meals as my hubby didn’t want to follow the diet. I had to make vegan sauces and then add chicken or beef to his just before serving. This was a pain to be honest, however, some meals I didn’t even tell him that it was vegan!

My hubby quite liked vegan kofta with homemade curry sauce, haha!! I even switched his bottle of red to a vegan bottle!

Veganuary wine
Vegan Wine

I quite liked the Linda McCartney red onion and rosemary sausages, I picked them up for £1 in my local Lidl.

A friend did suggest I try some burgers and vegan pizza but I will admit they were quite pricey. I don’t usually eat meat or pizza so I didn’t see the need in finding a substituent – You cant miss something you don’t eat!

Thinking again on the cost of a vegan diet, its actually not that expensive. The vegan diet is mostly made up of fruit, vegetables, grains and nuts.

A lot of supermarkets took part in Veganuary this year, they had offers on most vegan products. Obviously I know that when vegan food is not on offer it would cost more, however  I do think that people find it more costly than necessary when they purchase expensive meat and cheese substitutes or buy vegan ready meals.

I actually found wheat free food to be more expensive than vegan options.

Fruit bowl Veganuary
Fruit and veg is not expensive

I quickly found that being Vegan is a way of life not just a diet. Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet.

I started the vegan diet to better my health but before I knew it I was thinking of everything from vegan clothing to vegan cleaning products.

My medication came into question too. As my readers are aware, I depend on medication for my mental health.

“Medications have to pass safety tests before they can be prescribed, and these tests are routinely carried out on non-human animals. Medications may also contain animal ingredients such as gelatin and lactose. In some cases alternative medications can be prescribed. However, they may be unsuitable for you or less effective, or they may have more side effects. In other cases there are no alternatives”. More information can be found here – https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/medications

I was not ready for this, It was not my intention to change my way of life completely but that started to happen. I read about animals being harmed to make my favourite shower gels and how unethical most of the products I used in my home were. I even questioned my sanitary products!

Veganuary
Cruelty free products

I knew that I couldn’t change everything over night, I could start though, I could make changes and that was the important thing. With this in mind realised that for January I was following a plant based diet and learning to become vegan.

Following a plant based diet was healthy, my body felt great. I was waking with no acid reflex problems or indigestion at night. I did go back to drinking caffeine after a fortnight but I have started to limit myself to 1 cup a day.

I noticed that by me following this diet, my whole family started to eat healthier too. I saw an increase in fruit and vegetables being added to our shopping trolley, the boys started to eat more fruit and veg.

Pros to a plant based diet:

  • Coconut milk lattes
  • Cooking from scratch
  • Getting my 5 a day
  • Allergies seem under control
  • The whole family is eating healthier
  • I am not eating animals
  • My complexion looks good
  • I have more energy
  • Less IBS symptoms
  • Shopping is cheaper

The month went fast and I didn’t really struggle. I didn’t miss my usual foods, in fact I have decided to continue with a plant based diet and I will do my best to choose vegan products and clothing in the future.

For more information on going vegan please visit – https://veganuary.com/

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