My Journey

A month of veganuary

Feb 11, 2019

It feels like a life time ago, but I was once a vegetarian. I was vegetarian for all of the wrong reasons, and for a year, I went without meat. Following that, I became pescatarian for 6 months and fell back into an omnivore diet. Knowing how tough it was being a vegetarian, I always thought being vegan would be near impossible. So when I came across an advert for veganuary, I thought I would participate in it.

Veganuary is basically being vegan for the month of January. The campaign’s actual aim is to encourage people of becoming vegan beyond the month, but my aim was always to only do it for a month to challenge myself.

Being vegan for a month was not about saving the animals, or earth. I did it for selfish reason to be honest. I wanted to challenge myself and hopefully clear my skin.

My first week of veganism was tough. In terms of meals I was prepared, but I had no energy. As someone who normally struggles to maintain her iron levels while on an omnivore diet, the first week was a jolt to my system. Despite regularly eating meals with spinach and lentils, all I wanted to do was sleep. And judging by my Fitbit readings I was definitely sleeping a lot more than normal. By the second week, I was on my normal level of tiredness, but I had to consume a lot of spinach and legumes to maintain it.

By the time I had gotten to week 3, my eating was a bit bleugh. This was where I got very lazy with my meals. I just wanted the month to be over. Not to eat meat, but one never really realises how convenient it is to go into a store and eat practically anything without reading the label. There’s so many products that contain egg or milk in them. At this point, I was also really craving a Pastryworks brownie.

I made a few slip-ups during the course of the month. One time I went to Seattle Coffee and ordered a Butterscotch Freeze with almond milk. Although vegan butterscotch syrup exists, it’s normally made with cream (and honestly a store as hip as Seattle would be sure to include in its marketing if their butterscotch drinks were vegan). In addition, there was that time that I bought sushi and forgot to ask that they don’t add the mayo so it would be vegan. I wasn’t going to beat myself up about it. Two incidents, do not take away from the 96+ meals and drinks I had, in the 32 day period.

By week 4 I was really unfazed by it all, and Friday 1 February I had my Pastryworks brownie. It was so worth it.

When I first started veganuary, I painted this picture of being this modern day vegan hippie for the month. I’d be making my own kombucha, and having kale salad for breakfast every day.

If there’s one thing I learnt about being vegan for a month, it’s that having meat, or the lack of, in one’s diet is not an indicator of health. I had salads often, but I when I felt lazy, my go to vegan meal was a peanut butter sandwich. Or a plain bread roll with plant-based margarine. Yes, I wasn’t able to devour my favourite Cadbury and Lindt chocolates, but I still devoured Beacon’s Midnight Velvet and Orange and Almond chocolates, as well as Jungle Oats Dark Chocolate bars. And even though Romany Creams are not vegan, Oreos certainly are. During Black Friday I purchased the Glow Cleanse from Rush Tush, and I really want to do a veganised version of it. It’s four weeks, so it would be another month of veganism.

Do I foresee permenantly changing my lifestyle? No. Beside the fact that I love biltong, I struggle with my iron.

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