After 24 years of vegetarianism I was this year persuaded by Animal Aid’s campaign; The Great Vegan Challenge to give veganism a go for the month of November. Here’s what I’ve discovered so far….
It doesn’t take that much effort
I imagined it would be difficult if not impossible to think of meal ideas that didn’t include the same boring options. What I have actually found is that I can have a great variety of meals, very little brainpower needed!
Many of the vegetarian meals I would normally eat were actually already vegan or easily ‘veganised’ through the omission or replacement of a couple of ingredients. For example Indian and Chinese dishes are often already vegan along with soups, salads, hummus, falafel, chips, I could go on. Other meals can be made vegan by leaving the dairy out – for example pasta dishes, bean chilli and pizza are all still pretty good without the cheese. And for the times where you are craving something non-vegan there are so many vegan alternatives around that you’re never really stuck. What’s also great is that many everyday brands make products that just so happen to be vegan. Did you know Bisto, Oreos, Wheat Crunchies and Jammie Dodgers are all vegan!? Easy!
Not all vegan food has to be healthy
To be honest I should have figured this one out beforehand. Lot s of people presume that the vegetarian option is the healthy/low fat choice but being overweight myself I know it’s not that straightforward. However I’d always thought if I’d just cut cheese and cream out of my diet I’d be a size 8. Three weeks in, I’m not so sure. Since turning vegan I’ve eaten just as much lovely indulgent food as ever, try searching #veganjunkfood on Instagram…14,421 edgy photos of burgers, cakes, nachos and pizzas last time I checked.
I suppose you could see this as a negative point (especially when hoping to drop a couple of dress sizes) but actually I think if people realised it was just as easy to treat themselves on a vegan diet than an omnivorous one maybe more people would make the switch.
Not all vegans are scary or weird
Ok, so there are definitely some militant vegans out there whose Facebook pages are filled with graphic videos of slaughter houses and who are willing to shun anyone who so much as sits in the same room as a Babybel.
But by being part of a number of vegan groups online I have found that in the main everyone is supportive and understanding. In particular the group set up specifically for The Great Vegan Challenge has been fab. People often post about their slip-ups or difficulties and everyone on there is pretty chilled about it all. In my opinion that’s how it should be. If people are making an effort to change their lifestyle for the better that should be celebrated rather than scrutinised!
For more information about veganism go to the Vegan Society’s website or visit http://www.govegan.org.uk/ for more info on The Great Vegan Challenge.
I was brought up vegetarian by my vegetarian parents so a life without meat is all I’ve ever known and comes second nature to me. I recently became vegan with a long term plan of cutting down on animal products all together. Ultimately my plan is to create a career around food...that's the dream!
Laura's website is www.meatfreemanchester.com