Hello lovely eaters and readers! How is this first week of reality treating you?
Today I want to talk a little bit more in depth about one of my January goals. This month, I am going entirely vegan. Yup you read that right, the girl who loves tea and cake is giving up dairy. Why? Well, before we get onto that, lets talk about my last 6 months as a vegetarian shall we?
I’m the type of person that goes to a restaurant and looks at the dessert page of the menu before anything else. I was never that into savoury. Cooking wasn’t a big thing in my house growing up (my mum truly hates cooking), that’s not say we ate badly, it was just never particularly exciting. But cake at my nan’s house? That was something else. I’d spend entire school holidays baking in her bungalows kitchen. While I’d never really thought about it before, I think it is probably pretty clear that this juxtaposition in kitchens, is where my sweet tooth, and with it, my blasé attitude to main meals, came from.
But last year I began to take much more interest in food and what I was putting in my body. I’d left Manchester and I was in the worst shape of my life. Something had to change, and while there was no way I couldn’t cut cake out entirely, I could change the other things I put on my plate. For better. Better nutrition. Better prepared. Better tasting.
I started experimenting with salads. Learning that vegetables could taste amazing without much effort. I started drinking green smoothies, which would get me through a twelve hour shift, much better than any amount of coffee ever could. And before long I felt like I was really thriving.
I tried cooking meat, but it just never tasted as good as a sweet potato did, plus the more I read about the less sense it made to me to eat it. And when I moved out into a flat on my own, I cut it out entirely. For a start it always seemed so expensive to buy for just one person, and I had no idea what to do with it. And no desire to find out.
Did I miss it? No, not really. I didn’t open my fridge and think, oh hang on where’s the chicken? And when I went out for dinner, as much as I missed having more choice on a restaurant menu, nine times out of ten, I’d always have been drawn to the veggie option anyway. Unless it was fish, I will admit, that I miss fish, but not enough.
Not enough to ignore that my body doesn’t really need it or want it. I was already getting everything I needed.
Not only was I getting everything I wanted nutritionally but I also fell in love with cooking. I love being able to make a meal that tastes of something, something good, and does good too. Which brings me full circle to Veganuary.
In many ways I’ve eaten much better than ever before since moving, however, there have been times when I’ve completely binge ate. And as the year went on, the more regular these times became, until by the end of it, I’d undone all my good work of the previous 12 months. Cheese, damm you. My weight climbed, and my self confidence plummeted – something that really came to a head in December. So I decided to get back on it. I started reading up again, learning about what my diet was really made up of and what it was really doing to my body.
And the more I read the more going vegan seemed like the only way. So I’m giving it a go for 30 days. Because while I now know what is really in a cake, I’m not entirely conivnced I can give it up forever, or how much I want my diet to dictate other areas of my life. Christmas a veggie was my biggest test yet, am I really prepared to face that as a vegan? But by the end of this month who knows that might change. I’m back in my kitchen again, cooking up a storm, and before the month is out I have vowed to try my hand at vegan baking, and attempting a raw dessert.
For me, going vegetarian wasn’t just about getting my 5 a day, it was about feeling like I was thriving, about learning new things, and finding a new joy in cooking. For a while, towards the end of last year I forgot that, but this first week of being vegan is making me remember those things, and I already feel so much better. Even, dare I say it, better than a slice of cake does?
I’ll let you know if I can keep it up.
Live life & remember you are what you eat x