We have all heard about the growing list of months you’re supposed to give something up.
Whether it’s for charity or a health initiative, campaigns like Movember – the month when men are asked to give up shaving in aid of men’s health problems, or Stoptober – when extra moral support is given to those trying to quit smoking, or Dryanuary – the detox after partying too hard over Christmas and people sign up to a month free of alcohol, are becoming ever more popular.
Knowing that Dryanuary just wasn’t for me, I decided to give Veganuary a go. I got a vegan cook book for Christmas and was quite intrigued to give some of the recipes a try so I made the pledge to give up all animal products for the month of January.
I must confess, this wasn’t going to be as difficult for me as it would be for most as I’ve been vegetarian for around 20 years but after a ropey couple of days at the start of the month, I managed to cut out all animal based products completely. This includes milk, cheese, butter, eggs, honey and even chocolate!
Most supermarkets offer a range of substitutes like soya or almond milk, olive spread and some even stock dairy free cheese. Quorn has also launched a vegan range of meat–free alternatives to chicken and burgers which are available in a range of stores.
Going vegan is said to reduce your carbon footprint and if done correctly, can be a healthier diet. Just recently we were told that consumption of processed red meats like sausages was dangerous to humans, and the World Health Organisation classified them as carcinogenic, or cancer causing.
This didn’t play too heavily on my mind as I haven’t eaten red meat since I was a child but cutting out things like fatty cheeses and sugary chocolate could only be a positive move for anyone.
A whole host of stars have signed up to the vegan lifestyle. Beyonce famously gave it her seal of approval, Jared Leto was voted sexiest vegan by PETA in 2014 and Liam Hemsworth has recently turned to veganism. Prince and Brad Pitt are also examples of famous vegans.
Becoming a vegan is more mainstream now than ever thanks to campaigns like Vegnauary and through the use of social media, it’s easier than ever before to share your recipe ideas and offer support to those giving it a try.
After doing a spot of research with my fellow vegans on social media, I decided to make vegan pizza. On one of the ropey days at the beginning of January, I caved in to a slice of cheesy pizza and I was curious to find out if there was a good alternative.
Bute Island Foods make a mozzarella–style dairy free cheese and I picked up a pack, along with some fresh tomatoes and basil. Although the texture wasn’t quite as gooey as you expect mozzerella to be, the pizza turned out well.
I’m still going strong with the vegan diet, feel healthier and I’m learning more about food by trying new recipes. Planning meals is half the battle as when you’re not prepared is when it gets difficult to come up with vegan options quickly.
I can’t say I’ll stay vegan forever but I’ll work to reduce my consumption of animal products permanently. If not for the planet or the animals, then definitely for me.