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!
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.
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...
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...
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.
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!