Veganuary and Me

January occurs at the beginning of every year and is seen as the time to start something new, whether it be a new habit or lifestyle. This is why the Vegan Society have named January "Veganuary", where you go vegan for the month. It can be for any reason, they are endless, you take that pledge and give it your all for the month.
I committed to being vegan for the month of February, after years and months of wanting to, and what an eye-opener it was. Whenever I go to a restaurant that doesn't serve halal meat, I will tend to go for a vegan dish because I know I won't have to worry about what is in it, if you have seen the list of foods I am intolerant to then you will understand. I decided to go vegan because I have always admired fellow vegans for the high level of principles and innovative ways they find to make great alternatives of foods they once loved. Letting go of dairy wasn't difficult, as I am already dairy-free, due to my IBS and lactose intolerance (not news to anyone, I know). But I am a huge lover of eggs, so I knew that would be really difficult for me. However, I started to miss eggs less and less as time went on, and now there are even vegan eggs on the market; which I am yet to try. People's reaction to me being dairy-free is always the same, they ask why and comment how they could never give up cheese or ice-cream. It's a fair comment, as I used to love milk, cheese and yoghurt, but why do others care so much? Well this seemed to intensify for my veganuary month but it shifted to a lot of "what do you eat?" and "I couldn't let go of chicken/steak/eggs etc". It made me think of what vegans may go through on a day-to-day basis and it made me emphasise that this maybe why there tends to be a slight loathing towards non-vegans from vegans, that lack of understanding.
I found that I had to plan out meals extensively to ensure there was enough ingredients to make something, as fish, chicken, eggs and red meat are normally part of my routine dinners. After work, you just want something quick and that you know will be a winner and those are normally mine. As well as eating a little bit more because I was constantly hungry, I felt cleansed and less guilty for eating beautiful animals.

Now two months on, I am back to eating a non-vegan diet but I still tend to eat vegan food more and I intend to become vegan properly at some point in the future. Why? Because I loved every aspect of it, especially how vegans are a community that are friendly and willing to help anyone that wants to become one, which I found really helpful and motivating.
Eating out was interesting during my month of veganism, places that I normally go to for halal meat dishes I found little could still cater to my new diet. The best being Fargo Food Factory, who made me the best vegan wrap and fries loaded with daal on top (shown on my Instagram feed). I loved trying out Handmade Burger Company burger choices, I found Lebanese, Turkish and South Indian cuisines cater to the vegan diet extensively and the chickpea, potato, tofu and sweet potato became my best friends. Vegan menus are now becoming more popular in mainstream restaurants, with Zizzi becoming the latest. I am yet to try Zizzi's new vegan menu but I keep hearing great things. I also experimented with some recipes myself and made pancakes and shepherd's pie (both shown in the images above). Both were a triumph and made me enjoy being vegan that little bit more.

All in all it was a great month and I am now looking forward to trying out new vegan recipes and I have pledged that when I dine out, I will try out their vegan options because I sure do love testing eateries, plus the options are getting better and better.

What's your favourite vegan recipe or restaurant?

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