I honestly can’t believe how much I have enjoyed the Veganuary challenge. It’s such a great way to start the new year after the excesses of Christmas, I now feel fit and healthy and I’m 5lbs lighter!
It’s certainly opened my eyes to the variety of delicious recipes that are available that don’t include meat or dairy. The River Cottage Much More Veg book has been a godsend, the latest discovery being the Tomato Dhal which went perfectly with the Roast Curry-Spiced Cauliflower. I’ve loved how organised it has made me - I’ve been writing menu plans and shopping for the week’s recipes. I’ve enjoyed spending my spare time in the kitchen preparing lovely meals and snacks so that there is always something healthy and satisfying to eat. Eating out hasn’t been a problem either. A local restaurant was more than happy to adapt their menu to make it vegan.
One word of warning though…………it is very important to be aware of the different food groups to ensure you are getting the required nutrients and to take vitamin supplements if necessary. A vegan diet can have a detrimental affect on your mood and relationships if you’re not careful.
Even though Veganuary has now come to an end I am planning to continue with an increased plant-based diet and reduce my meat and dairy intake. I’m hoping that when my family come for dinner this Sunday they will enjoy the variety of vegetable dishes that I will be making to go with the joint of meat that I have just bought from my local butcher.
I can’t believe how much my husband and I are enjoying Veganuary so far. It helps that we are keeping meals varied so we don’t get fed up of eating the same thing and, rather than trying to replace what we used to eat with a vegan alternative, we are experimenting with new ingredients and different ways of cooking. We tried pak choi for the first time and it was so tasty yet so simple to cook.
Since feeling very tired after the first week I am now taking B vitamins along with a daily dose of marmite which seem to be helping. I don’t eat a lot of cake but sometimes I crave something sweet. A friend sent me a recipe for Healthy Chocolate Energy Balls which are great to make in a big batch and keep in the fridge for when you need that sweet fix.
Eating out can be a challenge. I had to muster up all my willpower at a friend’s engagement party to choose the vegan meal option when all around me tucked into the hog roast. Weekends are the hardest - this is when we might enjoy a steak on a Saturday night and a cream cake from the local bakery. To replace the usual Sunday roast we decided to try Roast Cauliflower and Puy Lentil Purée (River Cottage Much More Veg) along with roast potatoes and a variety of veg and it was delicious! It was definitely the highlight of the week, so tasty and very filling too! There were enough leftovers for lunch the next day which is always a bonus. Instead of the usual cheese and biscuits for Sunday tea we made vegetable-loaded nachos - another great dish and one that we will be repeating.
Already half way through the Veganuary challenge and I’m looking forward to another week of new recipes!
January is a great time to start a new eating regime after the excesses of Christmas, I was really looking forward to eating healthily again. The holiday allowed me time to fully prepare - recipe books studied, meal plan written, fridge and cupboards fully stocked with all things vegan. Colleagues have been very supportive offering meal suggestions and a friend even bought me a First-Time Vegan cookbook, my husband is also joining in the challenge.
A positive of healthy eating is that I feel more inclined to lead a healthy lifestyle so have been to several gym classes in the last week.
There are some negatives however. By the end of the first week I was bored with beans as this had been the main ingredient of many meals. I tried tofu for the first time and wasn't impressed. I am also really missing a nice cup of tea. I am quite happy to try many varieties of alternative milks with porridge and granola but I just can't get used to them in tea, so I am drinking lots of water and herbal teas.
I was very tired and grumpy at the weekend which, I'm told, could be a lack of B12 in my diet. I spent most of my Sunday in the kitchen preparing meals and treats for the week ahead, you can't just grab a snack from the fridge or cupboard - you have to be prepared! Although I generally lead a very healthy lifestyle going vegan is definitely a challenge but one I am committed to try.
My meals have included the following, which are all home prepared, I might add!
Turmeric veg, quinoa and salad leaves
Vegan breakfast at local deli