A little while ago, a friend of mine decided to go vegan. At the time, I didn’t think much of her new diet and, to be honest, knew very little about it. It wasn’t until we had to carefully select restaurants, rather than spontaneously dining out, and she began making tasty vegan treats, that I realised veganism is more than just a diet, it’s a lifestyle.
I wanted to know more and decided that the best way to learn about it would be to actually try it out for myself. As I live with two fairly carnivorous males and have a family made up of meat-eaters (cue comments like “we’re going to enjoy a lovely roast dinner whilst you chomp on your lettuce leaves”) the announcement that I would be going vegan for a month did not receive a particularly enthusiastic response.
I learnt a lot about sustainability and the treatment of animals during the month I spent eating vegan. Although the process did not convert me, I have reduced my meat and dairy intake and I always check where my meat and dairy has come from. Tofu and falafels, as well as Quorn (this isn’t vegan!), frequently feature on the shopping list, as they’ve become family favourites, whilst almond and hazelnut milk have permanently replaced cow’s milk in our fridge.
I’m no expert, in fact I’m still an omnivore, but my experiment was incredibly enlightening and I feel it would be such a waste for me not to share what I discovered:
- THE GOOD
- You’re saving the environment and sparing the lives of innocent animals at the same time, so you’re basically a superhero.
- When eating vegan, almost everything you consume is healthy. This can result in weight loss, better skin/hair/nails and an increase in energy.
- If you’re anything like me, you’ll be thinking ‘WHAT ABOUT CHEESE AND CHOCOLATE’. Worry not. There are actually some yummy alternatives out there. And you actually stop craving those sugary/unhealthy things after a while.
- Who knew cauliflower could be so versatile or so damn tasty.
- A vegan diet is not as limited as you might think! There are so many vegan cookbooks out there, and a quick Google search shows you millions of tasty recipes.
- THE BAD & THE UGLY
- If you’re allergic to nuts, or soya (like me) then going vegan can be trickier – not impossible – so do bear this in mind when making food choices.
- I have a really fast metabolism so I began to lose weight very rapidly. As soon as I began controlling my portion sizes and keeping an eye on how much of each food group I was consuming, however, weight loss was no longer a problem.
- Honey is not vegan, which I completely understand as it does come from a living creature; when we eat honey we’re basically stealing all the gold they worked so hard to make. HOWEVER, (this is more opinion than fact, please educate me if I’m wrong) bees are dying out – mostly because of humans using pesticides etc – so keeping bees may actually help to keep their population up, and by selling their honey, even more bees can be kept.
- It’s best to ease yourself into veganism (the complete opposite of what I did) by going vegetarian first. This gives you time to adjust to a drastically different diet, and to make vegan choices a habit.
- Prepare meals in advance, and make larger quantities (like chilli con) that you can freeze/refrigerate for another time. Although veganism is becoming much more popular, many places still don’t cater for vegans, so it’s best to keep a few snacks with you so you don’t get hungry.
- Keep in mind that as you’re not going to get protein from meat, eggs or dairy anymore, you’ll need to get it from somewhere else! Beans, nuts and soya are the most accessible choices.
Although the vegan diet has become incredibly popular in recent years, opinions on it are still very divided – let me know your thoughts on it down below!
*I do not own any of the photos used above, no copyright intended, all credit goes to the owners/artists.
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