Some of my readers may have heard of Veganuary. For those who haven’t it’s a food challenge where you eat vegan foods for the whole month of January. So that’s no products that come from an animal – including cutting out honey and even some wines!
The purpose is to raise awareness of animal suffering, help the environment, but also showing that being vegan is not as limiting as people think. I was definitely a curious carnivore but also reluctant to give up my favourite food groups…
But I was convinced by another carnivore at work to do the challenge for a month along with our vegetarian colleague. I was also given the option to pay a $5 for each non vegan meal I ate which I could donate to a local animal sanctuary after the challenge finishes.
We decided to do it when we all returned from our Christmas/New Yearbreak and start it on 9th January for a month. I am always up for a challenge, and I decided to do it because I knew I would need a healthy plant based diet after the over indulgence during the holiday season.
It was good having the support at work, but my carnivore partner was not too supportive. However, as I am the person that cooks meals at home, and does the grocery shopping, I knew that I could work something out. I’m used to sometimes cooking 2 meals (a gluten free version and a version with gluten) so it didn’t bother me too much at first.
Foods I Ate During Veganuary
I initially thought of getting some vegan cookbooks to give me ideas. I particularly was interested in the Thug Kitchen cookbooks, and I browsed a copy of one that my vegetarian friend had. But I soon realised I didn’t need too much inspiration.
When I started thinking about the meals I could make, or vegan versions I could make, I was surprised at how many things I usually eat that were actually vegan or could be made vegan. For example I usually don’t leave myself much time in the morning to have breakfast at home, so I would usually whip up a shake in my Nutri Ninja (I seriously love that thing!) with soy milk or almond milk or coconut milk. Or I would get to work and have avocado and tomato on toast.
Some of the foods I ate were:
- Vegan tacos with vega mince, black beans and vegan cheese
- Tomato and vegetable paella
- Baked eggplant with pine nuts
- Barbecued mushrooms
- Tofu stir fry
- Homemade satay tofu
- Quinoa tabouli
- Scrambled tofu
- Brown rice salad with tomato, beetroot, baked pumpkin, corn & avocado
- Vegan chilli cashew cheese
- Tofu sushi and chilli seaweed
- Apple with almond and chia spread
- Vegan Mi Goreng inspired rice noodles
- Tom Yum soup
- Vegan chocolate coconut cheesecake
- Homemade curry lentil burgers
- Homemade hummus
- Homemade chickpea and corn patties
- Vegan pizza with sun dried tomato, olives, mushrooms, capsicum and basil
- Vegan Freakshake with coconut milk and dates
- And probably a few other things that I’ve forgotten about…
The Negatives of Veganuary for Me Personally
Sometimes watching my partner eat meat was a bit hard. Especially if I had cooked it. It’s not easy being a carnivore and seeing others eat meat or cheese… But I got over that pretty quickly.
Something I could not give up was wine. I never realised that some wines are processed with or through egg or fish and therefore are not vegan. In the early days of the challenge I checked the label to see if I was drinking a vegan wine, but when I was having drinks at a bar it was too hard to check, so I have potentially had some more non-vegan wines.
I also found it hard to eat out during this challenge. Not because of finding vegan options, but trying to find something that was vegan and gluten free. So there was one time when I just decided to have the pork nachos as it was the only gluten free option anyway. Other than that I didn’t eat out much. There seem to be more vegan friendly restaurants and cafes popping up in Canberra so I still could have eaten out a few times at these particular places.
Veganuary Benefits for Me Personally
I followed the Facebook Veganuary group page and a lot of people said they lost weight during this challenge. I didn’t lose weight but I did feel less bloated and it’s nice to see my stomach shrinking slightly.
Another positive that I noticed was that I seemed to have a lot of energy and my concentration or ability to exercise did not see me to be affected by lack of meat or dairy.
One thing I found was I was quite full a lot of the time. I would finish my dinner and not need to snack late at night (that’s not like me at all!). I also didn’t crave sugary things or chocolate as often as I used to.
I found that I have saved money on grocery shopping as I was only buying meat for one person (my partner). Usually half of our grocery bill would be meat and dairy, so it was nice to see that I had some extra money.
I had less wastage of food because i was making sure I ate most (if not, all) of the fruits and vegetables I bought. I always do grocery shopping with good intentions and buy lots of fruit and vegetables, but sometimes I forget about them and then they go off before I can cook them. I liked that I was disposing of less food and getting lots of my fruits and vegetables.
My Overall Thoughts
So how did I go with no meat or dairy or eggs or animal products?
Well, I have eaten non-vegan foods on a few occasions. Australia Day I paid $20 so I could enjoy some snags, potato salad, and some cheese and dips. I had a couple of bacon & egg rolls during Veganuary too – it’s my true hangover cure! However for the most part I ate vegan food and I really enjoyed it.
So with Veganuary now done with, does it look like I will go vegan? The answer is no.
But would I eat more of a plant based diet? Yes.
Our margarine and butter has been replaced with Nuttelex spread – which my partner really likes! I will eat my baked or barbecued eggplant for dinner instead of steak on some nights. I will also happily eat scrambled tofu for breakfast instead of eggs. I will still have tofu or vegetable stir fry for dinner instead of with pork or chicken. I’m planning on getting the Thug Kitchen cookbooks to make some of their delicious recipes. I am still keen to try the vegan pizzas at Walter G’s and the vegan meals at Sweet Bones.
I actually really enjoyed this challenge and I will be doing it again in 2018.
Have you done Veganuary before? What was your experience? If you haven’t done it, would you try it next year? Let me know in the comments section!
For more information on Veganuary, go to the website: www.veganuary.com
Bye for now,
All opinions in this post are my own. Unless otherwise stated, this post has not been sponsored and I have not been paid for this post
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