I undertook the 30ish.me 30 Day Vegan Challenge back in November 2013. That was my first ‘stint’ at being vegan and it was a mixture of ups and downs. I had moments where I absolutely hated it and days when I thrived off the ‘clean’ feeling it gave me.
If I can’t bring myself to kill an animal personally, how can I eat it?
When that ended, I totally fell off the vegetable wagon. I literally dived headfirst into all the dirty and decadent cream-filled, mincey, crabtastic dishes that I strangely hadn’t craved, but due to sense of wild abandon, devoured with such gluttonous scoffage that it makes me feel ill just thinking about it. To give you an idea of how bad it was, on the day after my vegan challenge, having arrived at an all you can eat buffet on the first day of holiday in Lanzarote, I consumed four plates consisting of paella, steak, fish, spaghetti carbonara, anchovies, chicken curry, more fish, cheese cake, ice cream, pastries, cheese, prawns and a touch of veg. I carried on in this way for around ten more days before Christmas arrived and then New Year’s Eve, both of which were filled with large portions of food.
By the end of the year, I felt terrible. None of what I was eating made me feel good and so when I heard about Veganuary, I jumped at the chance to join in. Being vegan automatically makes me more mindful of what I put into my body and whilst some people call it restrictive, the benefits of eating less, eating better and feeling more clear-headed outweigh the meaty lasagnes and dare I say it, even the tubs of Ben and Jerry’s.
Plus, it gives me a good excuse to cook more caramel coffee and walnut cupcakes and pay a visit to Tibits, Heddon Street.
What does being vegan mean?
Whilst a lot of why I do Veganuary is for health reasons, it has also made me think about where meat comes from and the rubbish it’s pumped full of. Even though there’s organic, grass-fed, ‘happy’ chickens, cows, pigs etc, I don’t truly believe they’re happy. And if I can get all the nutrients and sustenance I need from plants, then no animal needs to die and everyone’s happy. But why not cheese and eggs? For a start, I don’t like milk so that’s not a problem. But eggs? Now they’re a tricky one to get to grips with. Surely if I owned my own chickens and kept them in a lovely chicken-happy environment then eating their eggs would be ok? I’ve heard snatches of conversation that chickens often get nutrients from eating their own eggs and so they should be allowed to do this. This would mean less eggs for the humans, if any at all. Before I even think about making a decision on this, I need to investigate it more fully.
And don’t get me started on leather. I even changed my jacket before I went to vegetarian restaurant, Tibits, because I was ashamed to walk into such as establishment with it. But I put it straight back on the day after. So does that make me a bad person? Yes, to some, apparently. I have leather shoes, I love leather bags and I even own a pair of rabbit fur-lined gloves. Does it make me feel terrible inside? Sometimes, but I do my best to keep that feeling locked up in a box. However, I just know there’s going to be a day when it springs out and then my shopping decisions are going to be turned upside down.
Why Veganuary is a great thing
Veganuary is exciting. There’s a great Facebook group for support, a ton of delicious and easy to make recipes, a whole bunch of vegan-friendly restaurants in London and a challenge to eat something that people wouldn’t normally. Because of Veganuary, I’ve made some awesome cupcakes, pea soup, tried out oversized couscous and struck up conversations with interesting people that would otherwise have never happened. It’s also great for mindfulness – what are you eating, why are you eating that and what are the consequences? Somehow, it makes food more enjoyable knowing that no cow has died in pain and no chicken has had to undergo unanaesthetised beak removal or suffered broken bones during transport.
Want to join Veganuary?
It’s not too late. Just sign up at the Veganuary website.