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Veganuary Is Over But Am I Vegan?

IT’S FINALLY FEBRUARY FOLKS. What felt like a record long month has come to an end and the second month of 2018 can begin.

For some people, this month dragged on for a variety of reasons: lack of money over Christmas, it being notorious for it’s (socially marketed) blue days, Dry January OR what I’ve undertaken… Veganuary.

So if you’re interested in how I got on this month, the lessons I’ve learned and what happens next, then read on!

veganuary

Before Veganuary

I feel like it might be prudent to fill you in on what my eating habits and lifestyle were like pre-2018.

My boyfriend and I would think nothing on indulging in take-aways until our wages ran out, we drank 1846 bottles of champagne over Christmas and any meal we consumed had to have some form of cheese slathered luxuriously over it.

But that’s not all. Pre 2018, my mental health was at its lowest. Work pressures, grief, workload (school and blog) and starting to look to move out whilst having approximately 14p in my account was taking its toll.

My physical health wasn’t tip-top either. Every work day resulted in a headache. I could go days without pooping (soz) and the best way to describe me was sluggish. A sluggy slug slug.

I knew I needed to make some changes. To try something other than my anti-depressants to see if I could get my health to improve. And then I watched a Netflix documentary on New Years Eve that sparked an idea.

‘What The Health’ (sometimes inaccurately) portrays the risks of a meat/dairy based diet on your physical and mental health and of course, on the environment.

With this in mind, I turned to Ben and said, ‘I’m going to try veganism.’ Ben wasn’t as convinced and made me research into it thoroughly – which is where the Veganuary website came in very handy.

Ben was now on board for trying it as a challenge and we toasted midnight in with the last few morsels of a delicious chorizo, bacon, chicken and cream cheese pasta bake he had so lovingly made for us.

Veganuary

January 1st and the rest of that delicious pasta got chucked in the bin. Food waste is also very very bad.

We had decided to move into our new flat a few days early and wondered how we were going to attempt a vegan lifestyle when eating around packing boxes.

Turns out – fairly easily.

With hardly any money – as it was all going into the apartment (and not getting paid for blog work I had done for a brand *cough*cunts*cough*) – we realised we couldn’t afford to get chicken shop takeaways every night and that we were better off making easy and cheap meals like (vegan) pastas, chillis, sausages with gravy and loading up on 45743 different potato variations.

Was it tough cooking and preparing meals every night? Yes and no. We hardly had any cooking utensils or bits so had to stick to our trusty oven tray, tin foil and one pot but it made us be creative with our meals and we were trying new things each night.

After a while, we found some trusty faithfuls that included: spinach, chickpea and potato curry, falafel wraps with chips and sausages with chips and gravy.

Sure it would’ve been nice to have the money to buy loads of great ingredients and find even more favourites but I prioritised Ikea chests of drawers so I could make my bedroom look more Pinteresty WHATCHA GONNA DO.

Now, as I said before 2018, I was experiencing a range of health problems but by week 3 of Veganuary, when all I wanted was a Chicken Cottage and for someone to drown me in chocolate cheesecake, I had a huge realisation.

Whilst the same work stresses, money worries and grief sadness were still there – I hadn’t had any major ‘down’ days all year. I can’t 100% contribute this to veganism because I also moved house and got a few exciting emails (snigger) BUT I do think it played a part.

What’s more – I have only had 1 headache this month, have been sleeping for 7-10 hours a night solidly, have been pooping on the reg (soz) and just generally feel a lot ‘lighter’.

With this in mind, with weighing up how hard it has been in points vs how easy it has been in others, I’ve learned a few things that I will take forward…

After Veganuary

So the question you ALL have (lol not all, no-one else really cares do they?) is ‘will you still be vegan now January is done?’

And my answer is…

Mostly.

I weighed up my reasons for going vegan – environmental, animal suffering and personal health and the one thing that has been most tangible for me this month has been an incredible change in my physical and mental health.

Therefore, it would be wrong for me not to carry on. I have a new found love for a lot of plant-based alternatives, having not been a massive dairy consumer in the first place and I genuinely have found it easy to eat vegan for breakfast, lunch and when I make my own food.

However, I DO love eating out and takeaways. The pleasure I get from smashing down chilli cheese fries or wiping a doner kebab over my chin after a night out is a great one and the thought of never having another KFC ever again is too much to bear.

The answer?

I will be remaining a vegan as much as I possibly can.

If I cook or make food, it’ll be vegan. I will not have any dairy products or eggs going forward UNLESS I just need that slice of cheese in a burger.

But I will eat whatever I want. I will not restrict myself in any way, shape or form. If I want a pepperoni pizza, I’ll have one and if I don’t, I won’t.

Because veganism shouldn’t be about restriction – it should be about eating foods that you like and are right for you.

So yes, Veganuary has been actually amazing and YES I realise that (like with any situation where you have control over what you put in your body) I’m in a privileged position to continue this but no, you won’t see me forever chowing down on lettuce leaves and giving the goose fat roast potatoes a wide berth.

Any vegan recipes, please chuck them my way gang and any Deliveroo recommendations for how I can satisfy my buffalo chicken cravings would be greatly appreciated!

Did you do Veganuary? Or are you considering veganism? Chat to me on Twitter or Insta!

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11 Comments
  • Kara
    February 1, 2018

    Loveee this! I didn’t do Veganuary this month, I found out about it a bit too late. But I want to do it for Lent instead. I was curious how many people would become fully pledge vegans after January. I think your idea is great. Everyone should do it that way instead of committing themselves into it because they feel forced. Buffalo wings are my weakness!! I tried cauliflower “wings” but my cooking skills failed on that one. There’s a really good oriental takeaway called Zing Zing (its on Deliveroo but may not be in your area) they created a special Veganuary menu! It was great. I hope they keep it on because I’m keen to try new alternatives. I’m glad you had a try with cooking vegan meals because I think you have to be quite creative to do it!

    Wow – just realised how much I rambled on!

    One last thing… I hate it when people think veganism is a trend. If you have already felt the benefits, less headaches and frequent poos, then surely it’s a great lifestyle!

    Kara x

  • Mel Barker
    February 1, 2018

    “Because veganism shouldn’t be about restriction – it should be about eating foods that you like and are right for you.”

    I don’t understand! What do you mean by this, Vix? I thought it was about restriction!

    • vixmeldrew
      February 1, 2018

      I mean that ‘restriction’ is like an attitude and approach. If you don’t see it that way and instead try to see it as exploring new and different foods that you enjoy, it won’t feel restrictive. Hope that clarifies! xx

  • Sophie
    February 1, 2018

    I’m also going to continue with the Mostly vegan diet. I genuinely can’t tell a soy cappuccino from a milk one, I’ve enjoyed the massive range of different meals I’ve been cooking and I’ve not missed the price of buying meat. There were a few things I couldn’t hack though, soy mince is very gross so I’ll be sticking with regular quorn and I really can’t do without microwave mash, cause convenience.

  • Steph Dring
    February 1, 2018

    I love the idea of veganism but also hate the idea of missing cheese and bacon. Need to find some willpower from somewhere to give it a try!

    Steph x
    http://www.wanderlustpulse.com

  • Amy
    February 1, 2018

    Ah I was so interested to see what your thoughts were going forward – mine are pretty much the same, I’m going to remain mostly vegan especially dairy wise and just eat meat once a week because I’m horrendously anaemia and greens just won’t cut it for that!
    Amy xx
    callmeamy.co.uk

  • Hannah
    February 1, 2018

    Please try temple of seitan in either Hackney or the new one in Camden- vegen fried chicken and vegan mac and cheese and it is just better than sex! 🙂

  • Mary Wright
    February 1, 2018

    Fantastic blog Vix. You ate a lot of potatoes though. x

  • Katy
    February 3, 2018

    This is really interesting! I’ve known a few people who did Veganuary this year – but they were all veggie to begin with. I’m giving up meat products for Lent this year, maybe next year I can do Veganuary!

  • Cadence
    February 4, 2018

    I did a similar thing for January, not vegan but I cut out a lot of stuff from my diet because I suspected something I was eating was affecting me internally in a lot of unpleasant ways. I’ve put on weight over the past years and months in spite of being active, felt sluggish, was having migraines I could almost set my calendar by, etc. etc. I also changed up my birth control prescription and made some other changes during this time. I ended up dropping almost 15 lbs in a month without working out once, haven’t had a migraine in over a month, and feel like my mental wellness is much steadier. My anxiety has dramatically diminished–I’ve been shocked at how much.

    Correlation or causation? I’m not sure I care, the results have been great. And now, when I’ve tentatively reintroduced foods I’ve noticed stomachaches and some constipation, meaning I probably shouldn’t eat them…so I’m going to stop eating or at least significantly reduce them in my diet again.

    I would never tell another person that I think they SHOULD make a significant lifestyle change simply because I had a good experience doing so, but I do think more people should examine their overall wellbeing (which includes things like ethics, finances, physical/emotional/hormonal health) and honestly assess if a change might help them in some way.

  • Dubliner in Deutschland
    February 6, 2018

    It’s been similar for me. Hubby and I watched some of those documentaries and decided to try to go vegan. It was hard at first but we got the hang of it and enjoyed learning new recipes. It’s too hard and restrictive to keep it up completely so at the moment I’d say I’m about 60/70% vegan and feeling good!

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