I promised the reasons why I decided to try Veganuary, and I will deliver, damnit.
Obviously, the first and most important reason is the health implications. Reducing animal products in your diet can reduce your risk of health problems by a whole 12.5%! And of course, the second reason is the animal welfare issue – obviously cows are very cute and should not be eaten…
Am I selling this? Probably not.
OK, so those reasons are true about veganism (not the 12.5% fact, I just made that up), but they are not why I decided to give Veganuary a go.
Honestly? I opened Facebook on January 1st, saw an advert for Veganuary and thought “That sounds awful….I should try it.”
Yeah, I don’t follow that train of thought either.
A week of avoiding animal products and I have come to the following conclusion: food is delicious, but if I don’t pay attention to what I’m eating, I eat wrong.
Just trying to strip back animal products in my diet over this last week has made me realise how reliant on processed and pre-prepared foods I am. Even things I cook for myself usually contain something prepared, like a sauce or a gravy mix, or something premade.
Veganuary has made me pause and take stock. No, you can’t just eat a quick porridge mix, because it has milk powder in it. No, don’t grab a croissant from the café, because they’re made with butter. Don’t send your colleague to pick you up a sausage sandwich – for starters, you JUST ATE PORRIDGE SO YOU DON’T NEED IT and also, sausages.
I have found it endlessly fascinating this week to discover two things: firstly, it’s ridiculously easy to cook vegan. Secondly, it’s difficult to eat vegan if you haven’t planned and prepared.
I might have put my cashew nuts on to soak before heading to work, but if I forget my leftovers lunch, I can’t just go and grab a quick sandwich. (I mean, I could, but soya. Urgh.) I can’t grab a quick croissant if I forget my breakfast. I can’t have a biscuit if I’m having a bad afternoon….which is frankly the worst thing of all.
But cooking vegan has been so easy! I’ve tried out so many recipes this week, including a cauliflower curry which was delicious!
I even braved the aforementioned cashew nut soaking and made myself vegan macaroni and cheese. Yes, I found myself pureeing soggy cashews with chilli, garlic and nutritional yeast (worst sounding concept ever), but I tell you, that bloody pasta was scrummy. I’ve never really been a fan of cheese sauce – but my god. I went out and bought more cashews and macaroni pasta in preparation. 10/10 would (and will) eat again.
I even managed to make what I am fondly calling “Grandma Noodles” – stirfried noodles with a peanut satay sauce.
Not, you understand, because my grandma was a tiny Thai woman who used to feed me satay noodles, but because my actual Grandma was as much a foodie as I am, and when I was a kid and she used to pick me up from school or we’d go on a picnic, she’d bring chicken satay skewers with peanut dipping sauce. I remember the sheer excitement with which she presented them to me the first time we had them – “These are chicken kebabs!” she told me, “and they’ve got this peanut sauce you can dip them in!”
It’s her fault I love satay so much. So every time I eat my satay noodle recipe – even without chicken on a skewer to dip in it – I think of her. She died in April, but thanks to my attempts to find non-depressing vegan recipes, I’m thinking of her when I eat noodles. 10/10 will eat again.