WHAT THE FIRST MONTH OF BEING VEGAN IS REALLY LIKE

What The First Month Of Being Vegan Is Really Like

WHAT THE FIRST MONTH OF BEING VEGAN IS REALLY LIKE

 

 

Hello! If you’ve been following me on here or Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve been taking part in Veganuary which is a nationwide initiative to become vegan for the month of January.

My family and I have been vegetarian for over a year now, which has been very easy and socially acceptable (the only time I strayed was during a holiday to Beijing last year and I instantly regretted it!) I’ve been toying with the idea for quite a few months, but in my head I would make excuses and push it to the back of my mind.

However, my mission for this year is to try something new every month – something which will push me towards being a better person, so when I saw Veganuary on Twitter, I saw that as my little nudge from the Universe and announced to my boys, “I’m going vegan!” Supportive as always, my husband came up with ideas for meal plans but with January being 3 weeks away I kind of forgot about it. Until New Year’s Day when I realised we had very little vegan food in the house. Off to the shops I go!

Being the consumerist that I am, I would always look for the “vegan” sign on packets and tins, which there aren’t many of in your local supermarket. What my husband soon pointed out, was that if I looked at the list of ingredients, the allergens are always in bold. I’d need to look out for milk, eggs and then scan through for a number of other hidden nasties. Veganuary have a really helpful article about this which you can print off and keep in your shopping bag!

 

WEEK ONE

 

I’ve got to say, the first week was pretty easy as I was discovering new dishes and experimenting lots. I suppose the novelty helped. Planning was key here as it wasn’t a case of grabbing a cheese sandwich for lunch. Instead I really had to think about what was going into my body and how much energy I would be getting from it, but thankfully I soon realised that lots of store cupboard basics (baked beans for example) are vegan. This helped on those days where I was a bit lazy! Also my guts went a bit crazy as I went from my standard 5 a day, to 10 or more.

 

Favourite things I ate this week –

 

Apple and cinnamon pancakes (recipe here – just add grated apple and cinnamon)

Violife vegan cheese (keep telling yourself it’s edam and you’re on to a winner!)

 

 

WEEK TWO

 

This week the novelty started to wear off, but I had so much energy I knew that if I stuck with it I’d continue feeling great. We visited VeganLife Live which you can read about here, which really opened my eyes in many ways. Not only did my son and husband devour the foods on offer, but there was so much choice and I discovered so many brands which you wouldn’t find in Sainsbury’s. We came home with so much food (which I’m actually still getting through!)

My guts settled down (thank god!) and the fact that while everyone else in the household caught the flu, I truly believe the amount of fresh, nutritious food I was putting in my body meant I escaped it. Because they were ill with little appetite, most nights I was cooking 3 different meals (and I ate a lot of pasta pesto this week!)

 

Favourite things I ate this week –

Pulsin choc chip bars (these are like fudge cookie dough – amazing!)

Green smoothies (spinach, banana, almond milk, linseed, kiwi and pineapple were everyone’s favourite.)

 

 

WEEK THREE

This was my birthday week and we were planning a meal out to Zizzis, as I knew they had a great vegan menu. The food was amazing – Oscar dubbed it the “Best pizza in the world” which is saying something! I was curious what the boys would do for my birthday cake (something with avocados and cacao perhaps?!) but they created the most decadent chocolate and raspberry cake. It was incredible and I wish it had lasted forever!

Eating vegan became so routine now, and I’ve got to know the places where I can pick up a vegan sandwich when I’m in town (Pret a Manger have a great range.) The only time I felt truly stuck was when I was in London at a blogger’s event. I popped into Tesco and ended up leaving with a banana and a smoothie for lunch. Not cool.

This week I find I’m eating a lot and I’m craving fruit like no one’s business. A tub of cherry tomatoes lasts a day if I’m around!

 

Favourite things I ate this week –

Salad dressing as I ate a lot of salad this week! (Mix tahini, fruit syrup and olive oil together.)

Linda McCartney Country Pies (they teleport me to a country pub with every mouthful!

 

WEEK FOUR

Now I’m feeling like a vegan. My energy is through the roof. The intention was not to lose weight, but my jeans are a lot looser and the post-Christmas bulge has gone hooray! Oscar is getting a bit fed up with me not being able to try the new flavoured yoghurts he’s bought. I’m a bit sad cooking the boys an aromatic korma which I shan’t be able to eat with them. Instead I had a delicious tofu stir fry, but it’s not the same eating the same meal together.

On Saturday we went for an open day at David Lloyd gym, and after a swim we headed to the cafe for lunch. Apart from a chewy bar and a smoothie, there was nothing on offer for me to eat. Kind of surprising and very disappointing. We ended up leaving.

I notice that when we’re ordering our weekly shopping online, my husband is still checking ingredients and discovering new foods I can eat which is kind of funny that he assumes that Veganuary is now a long term thing for me.

 

Favourite things I ate this week –

Bean and tomato stew with Linda McCartney chorizo sausages (bung it in a pan and leave – my kind of cooking!)

Pret a Manger avo, olives and tomato baguette (my go-to staple when I’m out and about!)

 

WILL I CARRY ON BEING VEGAN?

The answer is….yes! I really feel so better connected eliminating animal products from my diet. The next step is to change other products such as makeup (I use Bare Minerals which is vegan) handbags and footwear. Handbags I can deal with but my shoes? This is hard. Really really hard. I have a lot of shoes and workout trainers. I love them. Like really love them. So tell me, is it more ethical to keep wearing them until they die, or get rid and buy vegan shoes? I never thought I’d be so attached to my shoes, but there you go!

Although I’ve had so much more energy, my skin has broken out a few times. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m clearing a lot of the crap out, or something isn’t agreeing with me.

I think the biggest change has been my eating habits. I’ve always been a 3 meals a day kinda gal (we always have a huge breakfast of porridge, fruit and seeds, a quick lunch and a big dinner.) I’m still having a big breakfast, but rather than eating another 2 big meals, I’m snacking more as I’m digesting quicker. Also the evening chocolate cravings have gone, as if by magic! I would almost cry if I didn’t get a sugar hit in the evenings, but I don’t even think about it now. I’ve found chopped up melon and a herbal tea does the job, and I swear I never thought I’d say that!

I hoped this has helped if you are thinking of becoming vegan. If you are vegan then give me recommendations in the comments below!

All my love,

Sophie xx

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