For me, the hardest thing about being vegetarian is not the absence of bacon butties on a Saturday morning, it’s not that I have to be content with a humble corn-on-the-cob at beef-lovers’ BBQs, and it’s not even that I’m all too often faced with a solitary (V) on a restaurant menu (as tasty as that (V) may be). It is, in fact, the well-meaning yet perpetual quizzing from meat-eaters as to why I chose the veggie life.
You can imagine then my apprehension when I decided to take part in Veganuary 2014! “Are you telling me that you can’t eat cheese?” “No milk chocolate, are you crazy?” “But surely you’ll starve?” Contrary to popular belief, vegans are not all slowly wasting away into an ethical non-existence, quite the opposite in fact! Vegan diets can be rich, varied and delicious.
For 31 days I removed all dairy products from my diet. As a self-confessed cheese-lover, I wholeheartedly expected cheese to be my downfall, I was worried. For the first few days I struggled to think of meal ideas, but I needn’t have worried. The fine folk at Veganuary had put together an extensive list of simple recipes for scrumptious vegan food and this proved invaluable. It helped that I wasn’t embarking on the challenge alone; my fiancé shared the experience with me and I definitely recommend having a vegan buddy to provide moral support along the way.
Veganuary opened my eyes to issues I’d never even contemplated before. People don’t like to think about what goes on in the world, if they think about it then it becomes real, but that doesn’t stop it from happening. Since taking part in Veganuary 2014 I no longer buy cow’s milk or eggs. Almond milk is a taste revelation; delicious, low-fat and most importantly it contains just as much calcium as cow’s milk! (Well, almost. 120mg per 100ml vs. 124mg per 100ml!)
Despite the initial reactions from my nearest and dearest to my vegan challenge, as the weeks passed by they became fascinated with what I was eating and how I felt. In fact, I may even have converted a few!
These days there are a whole host of initiatives for people to take part in throughout the year; from the follically endowed Movember and Decembeard to the teetotal Dryathlon. All are for excellent causes. If you want to truly challenge yourself in 2015, and shed a few pounds after the season of goodwill and indulgence, then Try Vegan this January! Impress your loved ones and save some animals. What have you got to lose?