I am one week into Veganuary, which means I have had 21 vegan meals, with no dairy, meat, fish, eggs or honey. In fact I have had 22 as I just ate breakfast on the eighth day – you can’t blog on an empty stomach.
If I had to sum Veganuary up in one word, I’d pick “doddle”. Seriously it has been incredibly easy to eat healthy, tasty vegan food all week. It hasn’t all been avocado on toast either … I’ve eaten stirfry, pizza, sausage’n’mash and heaps of salads. Seven-nil to the green team. I haven’t fallen head-over-heels for vegan cheese, but I haven’t missed the real thing either. In fact I have had zero cravings for food on the banned list, and I am feeling much healthier and bouncier. Definitely less bloated and sleepy. I may even have lost a pound or two.
Maybe this is the honeymoon (agavemoon?) period, but so far I am hooked. It’s simpler for me than for others doing Veganuary as I work from home so I can cook what I like, but also I don’t have to have tedious conversations with colleagues and strangers about why I have changed my diet. I honestly think most people I know would be very supportive (my omni husband has been amazing) but I know other people have had some tricky conversations.
How do I know? Because the downside of working from home is that I have found it very easy to get sucked into reading Facebook posts and blogs on veganism when I should have been working. I’ve long said that if reading burned calories I would be wearing Kate Moss’s cast-offs by now, but that’s been especially true this week. I have found the vegan Facebook groups I joined full of wisdom, advice and useful information, as well as cheery supportive chit-chat. So I have devoured everything I can find.
The daily emails from Veganuary are very helpful, but I am reading around the subject so much that by the time they drop I’m all: “Oh, yeah, I know about that. Next.” This means I am perhaps thinking about Veganuary a little more than necessary, so no wonder it has been a breeze so far.
By far the most important thing I have learned from the online vegan brigade is that the militant, all-or-nothing approach I expected is far from universal, especially during this month devoted to welcome, recruitment and public education. Yes you can be vegan if you are still wearing your old leather belt, or if you accidentally eat something with milk in. One line has resonated with me, though I am afraid I can’t remember who first posted it: “Veganism is about doing your best in an imperfect world.” So I guess that means you can spend a five-pound note on tofu and almond butter after all!
It is so nice in my little web bubble that I was almost dreading having to drop the “V word” at a dinner table or restaurant in future. Luckily I broke my duck last night when a friend and I popped into a local Italian restaurant for dinner. This place used to do a fantastic arrabbiata so I was distraught to see it had been discontinued, but still, there was one vegan pasta dish on the menu so I ordered that, refused the parmesan (who even am I?) and tucked in. It was a yummy courgette and tomato tagliatelle, which I suspect I enjoyed all the more because it wasn’t smothered with salty cheese. Win. I get the impression that eating out can sometimes be a bit more awkward than that, so I was very grateful for the experience.
My task for next week is to try some recipes from the vegan cookbook I ordered online. And hopefully I will pick up some tips at the Vegan Life Live event I am visiting today. Obsessed? Me?
Here’s to many more vegan meals – 71, at the very, very least.