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My Vegan experience: is it worth the hype?

By Elli Collins

Veganism has become popular over the past four years. According to Finder.com,
almost 23% of the UK population (12 million consumers) consider themselves vegan, or vegetarian. In light of this, a recent trend for people to do is Veganuary – going vegan for the whole of January – which millions of people do every year. So, I
decided 2021 was my turn to try Veganuary.

Photo by Elli Collins

I decided I was going to try Veganuary in December, after my huge Christmas dinner
filled with turkey, chicken, stuffing, and potatoes (clearly, I was feeling guilty). When I was sure this is what I definitely wanted to do – as if you know me, you will know I
am cheese obsessed – I told my mum and she said she would do it with me, as she
is already vegetarian, and wanted a challenge. This lasted about five minutes, so I
was on my own.

Photo by Elli Collins

On January 1st , I was questioning my life choices a bit; asking why I want to put
myself through this? Why do I want a meatless, dairyless life? I decided doubting
myself wasn’t the way forward, so I got on with it. I went to Tesco and bought
everything vegan I could find, vegan cheese, vegan sausages, oat milk, vegetables,
vegan snacks, everything. If I was going to be vegan, I was going to be a healthy
vegan – working out, eating well, and drinking more water – which actually lasted
most of month.

Photo by Elli Collins

I got into a kind of routine with my Vegan lifestyle. Having the same breakfast (big
bowl golden syrup Quaker oats, Alpro light, and bananas – tastes unreal), making
the same lunches, the same dinners, and eating the same snacks. I found it hard to
change up my meals, and stuck to the things I liked and enjoyed. This meant eating
a lot of carbs, which we all know isn’t amazing for you, like pasta, potatoes, rice,
bread, etc.

Photo by Elli Collins

The meals I really enjoyed were Sacla vegan pesto, rigatoni, mushrooms and tomatoes – my family love when I make this dish. I made a few different curries; an
aubergine and potato Balti and a potato, chickpea and spinach tomato curry (which
is amazing). I also found some yummy vegan snacks; Jammie Dodgers, Party Rings, Pombears, and caramel rice cakes were my personal favourites.

Photo by Elli Collins

Would I recommend doing Veganuary? Yes, I would. It was actually really good for
me. I had lots more energy from eating well and working out. My advice would be to
definitely plan your meals, or meal prep, as cooking every night can be tiring.
Planning your meals is really helpful – something I didn’t really do – as you can stick to a schedule, know exactly what your making, and just make it. Meal prep is another amazing trick, as it means you don’t need to cook something new every day.

Photo by Elli Collins

Overall, it was a really eye-opening experience. Did I last the whole of January? No,
no I didn’t. Unfortunately, on January 29th , some cheesy chips, and chicken shish,
and halloumi, got the better of me. However, I lasted way longer than I thought I
would, and enjoyed the experience way more than I thought I would too. Despite
this, Vegan life is definitely not for me, I could not live my life without cheese… or
steak.