Last year in January I did veggie-uary - I ate no meat or fish for the whole month. It was pretty difficult for me - I don't like salad or vegetables, I don't eat a lot of fruit either. It required me to plan my meals and try new foods and even though I only did it for a month I carried on with having veggie meals a couple of days a week for the rest of the year and started to regularly include fruit and veg in both my meals and snacks.
For 2018 I am going to actually take it further and do veganuary - no meat, no eggs, no cheese, no butter, no animal products of any kind - hell I am even going to avoid biting my nails for the month! I've checked in with vegan friends and asked for decent cheese substitutes there aren't any :( , scoped out the offerings in regards to vegan replacements for milk (dream oat milk for cereals - its so delicious and creamy unlike soy milk!) and things like vegan ready meals/frozen food - there are some so I won't have to cook everything from scratch whoot!
I've been scouring the net for easy recipes and for local cafes/restaurants that do vegan food as well - I am super lucky to live in a city like Cardiff where they have so many offerings.
Some people might wonder why on earth I would set myself a challenge like this, especially when I have been known to literally just eat meat and eggs for 3 meals a day! There are a couple of reasons:
1. I am sure my carbon footprint like so many people in developed countries is huge! Eating vegan can cut your carbon footprint and help with climate change and the environmental issues caused by it. Everyone has a responsibility to take care of the Earth for future generations. My hope is that doing veganuary will help me introduce more vegan food into my diet in the future so that I can continue to reduce my carbon footprint.
2. I want to be a healthier me - this last year I have worked really hard to ensure I am eating more nutritionally well, a balanced and varied diet and to increase my fitness levels. Through exercise and the introduction of fruit and veg into my diet I have managed to get my diabetes under control - for the first time in nearly 15 years my blood glucose levels have been within the normal range. This is a huge thing for me and my diabetic team have told me if I continue to improve there may be opportunity to reduce the amount of medication I am on and also lower the risk of complications due to diabetes (these include blindness, amputation, heart/liver issues etc so that's a pretty big reason right there)
3. I actually like animals - I have 4 cats, a dog and 2 snakes - in the past I have had spiders, rats, mice, rabbits, birds, snails, stick insects, hamsters, fish etc if I don't think about it then eating animals and animal products is fine but when I do think about it I feel guilty - how can I claim to love one animal yet eat another? I don't need animal protein to survive. Worst is the conditions animals are kept in, if they had happy lives up until the slaughterhouse then it wouldn't be so bad but thinking of animals suffering, being tortured, living in their own filth and being force fed just so I can have some cheap chicken fried rice is horrible. I try not to think about it really to be honest, like most people I act all shocked when the exposes come on the tv or in the papers but deep down we know it happens we just try to pretend it doesn't as we really want a bacon sarnie!
4. The amount of space needed for producing animal meat and animal products is massive. The same amount of space used for growing veggies and crops would feed a greater population. With people starving and the cost of food increasing how can we justify using all that space? It's not just 3rd world countries either, in the UK more and more people are going hungry, turning to food banks because they can't afford to eat!
So that's it really, I am going to try veganuary and hope I can do it and the things I learn from it I can carry forward and continue with. I'm going to hopefully post my meal plans on the blog and link to recipes and things that turn out well for me, as well as posting about some of the vegan options in Cardiff.
I hope that some other people out there will give veganuary a shot as well :) If you are doing it please say hi - we can support each other through the medium of social media and the internet!