OK so before I start I should clear something up – the title may be slightly misleading! I am now just over half way through my complete meat-free month, which admittedly started out as ‘Veganuary’ but was ruined on January 1st, when I ate some eggs. I know what you’re thinking – on day ONE?! But I had been throwing up all day as a result of the almost entire bottle of parma violet gin I consumed on New Year’s Eve and I hadn’t been able to eat a thing all day. It got to 9pm and the only thing I could manage to eat was egg on toast, which was already not vegan, but then it naturally had butter on too, meaning Veganuary was already no more. What a great start to the new year! I realised I hadn’t properly done my research on things that contain egg or milk and so before I completely gave up on day 1, I decided to cut myself a bit of slack and try ‘veggieanuary’ – a vegetarian month – instead. This seemed like a happy, and more achievable, medium for now.
For a little while now, I’ve been cutting back on my meat and dairy consumption. When my cousin (who was pretty much vegan) moved in with me for a little while, I was introduced to new foods and meals which made the idea of cooking without meat seem a little more do-able. When a doctor told me I had IBS and that it’s likely that certain meats (mainly red meat) are a trigger, I started to really think about it. I have suffered so much over the past few years with IBS flare ups and I was fed up of feeling ill constantly. I also wanted to do something positive to start the new year and Veganuary seemed like a good cause to get involved with. And so here I am, my attempt at my own version of Veganuary – or put simply, a meat-free month.
And it’s so far so good! I have discovered that I like oat milk (something I didn’t even know existed!), I’m eating healthier, have a lot more energy and I’m surprisingly loving the Swiss muesli and coconut milk I’ve been having for breakfast instead of my usual bagel. I’m more productive at work, I’m making more of an effort to cook meals I’ve never really bothered to try before (just made the BEST vegan ramen ever!!), and anything that Piers Morgan disagrees with can only be a good thing – right?! The Veganuary facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/veganuary/) has been amazing, there is a community of friendly, helpful, (predominantly) non-militant and non-judgemental people who instead of berating somebody who slips up and has an off day (maybe by eating something that they did not know contained milk – which is surprisingly a lot of things), support and encourage them to continue. Their perception and understanding of Veganism is ‘you have great intentions and can only do your best’ – it’s so refreshing. Vegans get a bad rep for being militant and pushy, I’m certain this group would make somebody’s transition to veganism easier!
So whilst I can’t say I’m fully committed to Veganuary because I am having the odd egg and bit of butter and mayo, all in all, it’s so far so good without meat. I’m surprised at how much easier it is than I expected, though I do have to admit that I’ve been randomly craving McDonald’s hamburgers and chicken nuggets this week (literally so far beyond my comprehension as I don’t even eat them often and they’re probably not even real meat anyway?!). I’m intrigued to observe the rest of the month and the way I feel, and will be reporting back again when I’ve got through the entire month – almost there!