Going Vegan ain’t all that bad… but don’t just take it from me
Veganuary has quickly become one of my favourite months of the year.
A month filled with compassion that shines a light on one of the fastest growing movements on the planet. If you are not sure exactly what Veganuary is I will briefly explain
Every January people who are interested in veganism dedicate an entire month to plant-based eating and vegan living. They consciously avoid all animal products with the aim of (hopefully) giving them up completely whether their reasons be for health, the animals or the environment.
Seeing posts on social media from brand new vegans declaring their official vegan birth makes me ecstatic! And it inspired me to share their stories with you.
Remember you can start Veganuary at any time of the year, so if you are looking for some motivation, you have come to the right place!
I’ll shut up now…. ENJOY! <3
The transition for me from Omni to Vegan was a pretty logical one. I met my Vegan girlfriend in October and was instantly impressed with her cooking and was finding myself eating more Vegan meals.
Being a passionate cook myself I enjoyed the challenge of coming up with Vegan alternatives to some of my favourite meals for us. My initial plan was to go 90% Vegan in January and have a Vegetarian/Omni meal once a week.
But the more I thought about it and learnt more about animal cruelty I felt that I wanted to make a more positive and decisive change and Veganuary gave me that opportunity. I think I’ve been in a fortunate position being in a relationship with a Vegan and also being exposed to such great food from the offset. I can really appreciate how challenging it must for people to make the shift as there is so much conflicting information out there and it takes a great deal of commitment and research. Friends and family have definitely taken an interest – I’m asked daily about what I eat and my reasons for being Vegan. I haven’t had anyone else join me but I am happy to have raised awareness and will continue to do so. The whole experience has been extremely rewarding.
I have lost over a stone in weight and feel healthier than I have ever felt. I feel more educated and proud that I am not contributing to the meat and dairy trade. Cooking new meals and experimenting with new flavours with my girlfriend has been some of the most fun I’ve had in the kitchen. One of our ambitions for 2017 is to get her own Vegan catering service off the ground and I’ve really enjoyed being a part of this too. So for me there’s so many reasons to stay Vegan and absolutely none to go back. Still think a really good Vegan Cheese is the holy grail though…I do miss Cheddar.
Check out Vegan Meals on Wheels here – https://www.facebook.com/veganmealsonwheels/
I chose to participate in Veganuary because for a while I’ve been uncomfortable eating meat. I’ve never liked it, not even as a child. For a few years around the age of 13/16
I was a vegetarian but I was quite unhealthy doing it as I didn’t put in a lot of research to eating healthy. I just knew I didn’t want to eat meat anymore. My main issue was my ED. I have been battling it since I was 10 (11 years) and because of the vegetarian aspect of my life, it became a way to avoid a lot of foods. I’m still struggling and at times it gets worse and other times it’s alright but I initially joined the vegan challenge as I wanted to try and make peace with food again and still avoid eating animals.
It’s not hard at all to be a vegan. I choose things a lot more carefully now. I read every ingredient and check to make sure its CF and VF but also to see that it doesn’t have bad chemicals and words I can actually pronounce. I have 2 kids so being vegan has made my life and theirs a lot healthier. Whether they choose to be vegan when they’re old or not, is up to them, but I am showing how to create delicious meals without the meat as well as having them check lables or read their products before purchase. I think it’s made me more patient and cautious as to what I put in my family’s body.
The rewarding part is that I’ve gotten healthier skin, hair and nails. My stomach isn’t constantly hurting and feeling bloated either. There wasn’t a hard change for anything as I already had issues with ‘normal’ food to begin with. I love my new milk- alpro unsweetened roasted almond and the soy ice cream selections as well. A lot of food has more flavour now as its not hidden with some many other products. I’m not missing anything at all. I’ve decided to stay vegan as I think it’s a great part of my own recovery with food but it also makes me feel more energised and confident. Also, my family will get the benefits as well as we buy less processed and ready meals and make more from scratch.
Follow Ashley on Instagram – @bluejay.robin
I grew up with a very compassionate, animal loving mother and a father who was raised in the farming industry. So while I was taught to care for all creatures, meat and dairy was a big part of my life. I spent my life juggling these two opposing viewpoints. Skipping back and forth between vegetarianism and only eating high welfare meat, trying to justify it to myself that I was doing my best. I have never shied away from information or hard truths and in fact went looking for what happened in these industries when i was quite young so unfortunately I can’t claim ignorance.
I’ve always known how they ground up 1 day old male chicks, about the cruelty and how they took the calves away from their mothers so we could drink their milk. Veganism always seemed unattainable, impossible, something I would most certainly fail at. When I saw an advert for Veganuary this made it seem easier. I could try it for a month and no one would judge me if I only did it for 30 days! What I didn’t realise was how easy it was.
I always thought I would feel restricted but in fact I feel liberated. I have never before felt more like me. The cognitive dissonance is gone and my beliefs don’t make me feel ashamed anymore. My shopping is cheaper (I didn’t realise how expensive meat was!), my love of cooking has been rekindled, my children are eating more fruit and veg than ever and I feel healthier. Most restaurants have vegan options and so far everyone has been kind and accommodating. My husband has since gone mostly vegan and even my mother has said she wants to start eating less meat! My only regret is not doing it sooner. I wanted to tell you about the negative side of veganism to balance this out but I honestly cannot think of one!
I chose to join in Veganuary as I’d pretty much been vegetarian since I was 18 (now 38).I’d recently read Scott Jurek’s book Eat and Run, Scott is a multi winner of various Ultra runs and is also vegan. I’m a keen runner so I thought I’d give it a go.
Going Vegan has been a lot easier than I thought, I don’t miss meat/cheese or eggs and view them entirely differently now. Since going vegan my running times have improved, I’ve lost 10 pounds and I have more energy.
Ive decided to stay vegan as Ive educated myself more, read a few books and had advice from vegan groups, I can’t stomach eating non vegan foods anymore I’m not preachy as I think if you lead by example people will find the vegan way when they are ready
Follow John on Instagram – @johnmacphail78
So I went veggie last year, I saw a video of cows, pigs and other animals showing emotional intelligence. I love animals and didn’t realise what these poor animals were experiencing. Towards the end of the year I joined a vegan Facebook group just out of curiosity. Slowly but surely I was educated about the abuse I was contributing to by eating eggs and dairy. It came to a point were I had to take responsibility for my own actions and stop being a hypocrite. Veganuary was just around the corner but I started early, it was towards the end of December, why wait till Jan?
Staying vegan after January is an easy decision, once you learn what you have, how can you ever go back? I found it fairly easy to switch, there are so many vegan options in Sainsbury’s which is 5 mins away from me. Oat milk is my favourite, there are vegan cheese’s, lots and lots of stuff. I must say I’ve eaten such a variety of food in the past month, probably more than the rest of my life altogether (hail to the kale). My girlfriend is mainly to thank for this, she loves cooking so one day I was like “I have a challenge for you” I’m only having vegan meals from now.. and boom, she was on it. Coming up with all sorts. She is pretty much vegan in the house now and veggie when she’s out, so I’ve kind of converted her. It took a bit of preaching and arguments but in the end we come to some common grounds. One thing I have tried to do is go back to the gym, build muscle and lose a little fat all while being vegan.I feel that there’s this stigma that vegans are week and do not get enough protein or vitamins.
This was going to be a secret, I suppose it will still be to my friends, but I’m planning on taking a topless pic every month to show the progress. Maybe it can change some of my friends attitudes toward vegans and what they eat. Obviously I only have two pictures so far, it’s still really early days, the first mile stone will be 6 months, so watch this space. I’ve also been taking pictures of my food, you know so when you get that question “what do you eat” I can be like here! And that’s it.
Pete’s before and after pics
I have been vegetarian for a while, my eldest daughter and her partner and son are all vegan, so I often ate vegan food with them and cooked it for them. I was a total cheese freak and could not imagine giving it up, I literally ate cheese for every meal (so unhealthy). My daughter had made a couple of comments about the dairy industry so I decided to investigate it. I signed up to a couple of Vegan groups on Facebook and was horrified at what I saw and read. I think the most hard hitting was a link to a mainstream TV show where they showed 1 day old baby calves being shot in the head, the man calling the trusting little babies over and then coldly killing them.
I started to try and transition in November but kept making silly mistakes. I am also gluten intolerant and so I’d look for bold ingredients on packaging but then miss ‘Honey’ written across the front of the packaging. I also had not considered the wider reaching aspects such as shampoo, body spray & cleaning products. My daughter has been really helpful and she suggested Veganuary because there is so much support and info provided.
I have loved cooking new recipes and trying new products. I feel so much healthier – I’m guessing due to the removal of cheese from my diet. I have tried lots of different plant milks and am totally in love with Oatly, in fact I secretly give it to people who come over to mine and they all love it, I tell them after and they are surprised how much they like it. Cheese substitution has been the only real issue for me. I have tried everyone I have seen in shops and online, but so far not found any I like. I am now going cheese free for a while to see if I come back to it at a later date my taste buds will have adapted.
The other issue I have had is that almost all ‘Vegan’ products contain wheat, although Fry’s do some gorgeous Chia nuggets and Falafel burgers. I am totally obsessed with Vegenaise and Nooch, so maybe that’s my cheese substitute.
I have been carefully dropping in facts about how cruel the farming industry is, but do find people just want to spend their time trying to see if they can catch me out doing something non-vegan, or saying ‘but bacon though’ as if it’s an excuse.
Last night I had my brother and his 3 children and 2 friends over for dinner. I made ‘Shepherds Pie’, completely Vegan, they all ate it and none of them realised until I told them afterwards! My brother and I have an upcoming dinner party to host, and he suggested we do it all Vegan and see if anyone comments, then tell them afterwards.
Having watch my daughters health massively improve since turning Vegan (She has ME and Fibro) and watching my grandson grow and develop to a more advanced level than his peers being brought up completely Vegan, I can only advocate the health benefits of the diet. But it’s the horrendous treatment of such gentle beings that will make me stay Vegan and try and persuade others to do so also. Hopefully one day this will be the norm and animals will be able to live peaceful, fear free lives.
I also wanted to do a little mention of my sister, Terri. She also went vegan for January and has decided to no longer purchase animal products! She was the BIGGEST cheese lover I ever met and the fact that she has cut meat and dairy out of her diet completely makes me feel so incredibly happy! She hasn’t fully switched to Veganism yet, but at least she is making an effort to no longer contribute to an industry so cruel.
Go follow her (now vegan) Instagram – @dietmondays
HUGE thanks to Dom, Ashley, Leanne, John & Pete for taking the time to share their stories! Please share this post and don’t forget to follow my blog for updates, It only takes a second <3
Follow me on Instagram & Twitter – @raelikesfroot
“It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are.” Roy E. Disney
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