This year i took the pledge and committed to Veganuary, this means that i went vegan and cut out all animals products including dairy and eggs for the whole month of January.
I'm already a vegetarian (aside from the odd bit of fish) and recently have had a reaccruing tugging at my heart strings that i should go that extra step and go vegan. Vegnauary seemed like the perfect way for me to give it a go. I did it for a month and heres how it went...
I did it for the animals! This is the main reason why I'm veggie and why i wanted to go vegan. I truly believe that animals are sentient beings, they have emotions, their lives matter and i really don't see the difference between a pet cat or dog and a pig, lamb or cow. In my eyes, if you like animals then you don't eat them or want to see them be harmed!
Going vegan also really resonated with me after i watched Cowspiracy a few years ago. I feel that the dairy industry is much worse than the meat industry in some ways, female cows are impregnated, have their babies taken off them as soon as they are born and are then pumped full of hormones so that they keep producing milk. They go through this cycle throughout their whole life and now that i'm a mama myself and breastfeeding my own baby, i firmly believe that a mothers milk should be for their baby only.... if only the whole world felt the same and it was the norm and totally accessible to not drink milk or eat products containing milk.
How was it?
So easy, but also pretty hard!
There are so many great vegan options in the supermarkets now and being vegan doesn't mean that you can only eat vegetables as there are alternatives to everything including milk, eggs, meat and sweets so cooking and eating at home was a breeze and i really enjoyed experimenting. Since being pregnant and having my baby, i kind of lost my love of cooking, but going vegan really kicked me back into gear and i cooked some of the best food i've ever made throughout the month. I never knew a cashew nut 'cheese' sauce could be so easy to make or sweet and sour crispy tofu could taste so good. There are things i learnt to cook in January that will be on my staple meal list for years to come.
But with the good, comes the bad and there were times when i found it super hard!
If i wasn't at home or at a specific veggie restaurant then i struggled. Living in Amsterdam there are some excellent vegetarian / vegan places to eat, but as soon as you leave the city, shit gets real! I met Ed for lunch one day and there was literally nothing i could eat, i ended up having bruschetta with just tomato and olive oil, which isn't great when you're breastfeeding and need to be fully nourished so you can feed your baby. That day, it took the fun and pleasure out of eating which is never good! Eating at friends houses wasn't ideal either, i felt like i was inconveniencing them and hated that they had to buy 'special' food for me. They didn't mind at all, but it did make me feel like i was being awkward.
I've heard the term 'anti social vegan' be coined a few times. Vegan at home when accessible, but flexibility to eat other things when out and about. I'm not really into labels but if i were i'd like to be an anti social vegan :)
I kind of have a heavy heart when i say that i've not continued to be vegan, but at the same time i'm happy i did it for a month and I'm a firm believer that even small changes do make a difference - it doesn't have to be all or nothing to be able to make a change in the world. Before i went into this i had high hopes that i'd be able to fully embrace the lifestyle change, but the reality was that (for me) it was hard!
So to all the vegans out there, especially the vegan mamas and even more so to the breastfeeding vegan mamas that are doing their thing on a daily basis, i salute you and the changes you are making for the animals and our planet. I'll continue with my Oatly milk, because its literally the best thing since sliced bread, and i'll keep cooking delicious vegan meals at home, and when the option is available out and about i'll choose it.
I'm really happy with myself that i did a whole month of no animal products at all and if you're thinking that you couldn't cut out all dairy like me, then thats fine too, just one or two small changes really do make a difference. So for now, i'll leave you with this....
Just by cutting out animal products for only one month i have helped save....
- 33k gallons of water
- 900 sq ft of forest
- 30 Animals lives
- 1.2k lbs of grain
- 600 lbs CO2
Have you done Veganuary? How did it go for you? i'd love to hear in the comments below.
Like this and want to read about why i stopped eating meat a few years ago see here. Also, if you want to see some of the great vegan things i cooked then see the veganuary stories on my instagram here.