Reflections on Veganuary

This year I decided to take part in the Veganuary challenge. Not only because I’m Lactose intolerant and definitely need to stop pretending I’m not, but to see if I could do it. Spoiler alert: I could.

Veganuary is a pledge that means, for the month of January, you won’t eat any animal products but instead try a vegan diet. To me, this sounded a lot harder than it actually was. While I was in an easier position to begin with as I was already vegetarian, the idea of having to check the packages of anything I wanted to eat was tiring. Yet this is something that towards the end of the month became second nature to me and I found I didn’t need to do this as often as I once assumed. To ensure no dairy was being consumed, I began meal prepping and cooking fresh which was affordable thanks to the nearby Lidl.

Cooking fresh, whilst easier said than done, is something that I would recommend to anyone wanting to be a vegan. Thinking ahead and planning my meals has been the best thing about Veganuary. It meant I had to plan ahead with what I wanted, even snack-wise, as nipping into the shop down my road because I had a craving wasn’t an option.

Also, a lot of supermarkets now are stocking up on their vegan/dairy free products. Tesco now stocks Wicked, a vegan alternative to a meal deal, while Sainsbury’s have made a lot of their own brand products vegan and Quorn stated that they are working on making their entire range vegan. With this in mind, it’s easier now than ever to start living plant-based.

Of course, as with all changes to a person’s lifestyle, there comes difficulties, as changing your diet can be a challenge. With this in mind, if veganism is something you’re thinking about pursuing there is no reason why you can’t start small. Try having a vegan day once a week or try a vegan diet for one week out of the month, and see how this goes. Like all lifestyle choices, it’s about looking after yourself, putting yourself first and knowing what is right for you. I found Veganuary to be an eye-opening experience, which has led me to become a vegan permanently, but this might not be the case for others. This is okay. You don’t have to commit to anything and you should always celebrate your victories no matter how small they may seem.

I would recommend Veganuary to anyone for any month of the year, not just January. Even though studies have proven that less consumption of animal products will reduce global warming by a significant amount, I’m mostly recommending it because it really is a lot easier than people seem to think.

[Kelly MacArthur – @KellyMac96]

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