Food

My Vegan Challenge; Roundup

I DID IT!!! I spent the whole of July vegan. 31 days (well, I still have the remainder of today to go) of eating and living a vegan lifestyle. I ditched the Dr Marten boots, I ignored the Jaffa cakes in the pantry and I didn’t eve glance at the reduced meat in the supermarket.

Was it hard? Surprisingly, nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be. The month has gone so quickly. I was shocked when I realised only yesterday, that it was the end of July already. I’m not going to lie, that I did give into temptation a couple of times with food. On my first day I had a sneaky spoonful of lemon meringue, and I popped a chocolate button into my mouth (stolen from the kids) in the second week. But, after that blip my brain just functioned into ‘Vegan Mode’ and nothing seemed tempting anymore. I smelt cooking bacon a few times from neighbours houses and I did suddenly feel a massive craving, but I quickly remembered why I was doing my vegan challenge.

How do I feel about my veganism challenge? I feel really positive actually. I think it went well. You know the saying ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’? I think I can apply that to my vegan challenge 100%. I honestly found the month fly past. Ditching milk in my coffee was so easy. I haven’t touched a drop of milk, and the thought of going back to drinking it really doesn’t appeal to me. I will quite happily stick to milk alternative’s for my drinks, cereals and baking. I started the challenge drinking Soya milk, but later found it to be very fattening and I was bloating on it. I now use rice milk instead. I haven’t missed cheese (weird!) and I have found some great chocolate to keep my cravings happy. Milk chocolate was my vice, but I have switched to Green And Black’s dark range and Cadbury’s Bourneville. I think I can learn so much more about vegan foods and baking (I worked out how to make a mean chocolate cake), and having learnt so much in the space of 31 days, I would be interested to see how much more is out there to discover with more time.

Have I noticed any differences in my body? Massively. I’ve lost 8.5lbs since day 1. I have to keep up the extra calorie intake because I am breastfeeding Ivy, but I have still shifted some pounds. My tummy is less flabby and I have lots more energy. My hair is getting less greasy and my skin appears a lot brighter too. And my nails! I have nails! My brain is functioning more efficiently and it doesn’t take me as long to wake up and get going in the morning. My bad days with post natal depression have reduced, but I have been put on medication and I genuinely feel amazing.

Shopping, cooking and washing. The first few weeks of label reading was tough. It took me ages to do a simple food shop, but I soon got into the swing of things. I stocked up on lots of dried beans and pulses and carbs became my friend. Cooking was a similar story. I felt like I was spending forever in the kitchen, but I soon learnt to cook foods in batches and keep my fridge stocked with food that I could just grab and go. I also quickly learnt that if I was going out for the day, it was easiest to take a packed lunch and a bottle of rice milk, because finding vegan food out and about was harder than I imagined, and having a cuppa at a friends house meant that my milk alternatives were limited. Alcohol was a massive head scratcher. I am not a huge drinker anyway, its tough with kids and breastfeeding to have a session. Many alcoholic drinks are not vegan, due to them being filtered through isinglass, basically fish guts (WTAF is that all about!?!). I found the website Barnivore great for checking what booze is vegan friendly.

As for house work, it was clear that human beings aren’t just non-compassionate beings with food, but also with cleaning and washing our homes and our bodies. So many products have been tested on animals, or include animal ingredients. Looking for the leaping bunny logo on packaging became second nature. I turned to lemon juice for cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, stocking up on huge bags of lemons! I also found Original Source shower gel is very loud and proud vegan.  Sainsbury’s Basics shampoo and conditioner are also cruelty free and very cheap! Sainsbury’s is where I found to be the most vegan friendly UK supermarket to shop in. Any of their own brand vegan products are clearly marked and save loads of time when shopping. Instead of scrolling through ingredients lists, just one quick glance tells me if its an OK product.

Will, I continue? Yes. definitely. I still have so much to learn and write about. I don’t feel like 1 month was long enough. I think I will give it 3! So, there you have it… my word I will go for another 2 months. GULP! If you would like to give the 30 Day Vegan Pledge a go, you can sign up here, through the Vegan Society website. You will receive daily emails with great hints and tips, super recipes and great links to keep you on track. The Vegan Society website is packed full of useful information and resources, and they have a super team of staff that will answer any questions you may have about your transition into veganism.

vegan

 

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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