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Almost Vegan for a month
Food is a fundamental part of my life, and the world of vegan food is a dimension full of colour and flavour, hence, this would be the first of many posts related to this topic. This post in specific it’s going to be a summary of the Veganuary challenge I did this year (2017).
In the path to a sustainable lifestyle, I had to rethink my habits in many aspects of my life, one of them being the things I eat. The people I’ve met, the books I’ve read, the people I follow online, the documentaries I’ve seen, led me to understand a few things about the food that I didn’t know before.
Our transition to an (almost) vegan diet
Since 2015 we have been decreasing the amount of beef we eat. Mainly because it’s just not as tasty and as good as the one we used to eat in Venezuela. But, it was in 2016 when we started to make more changes in our diet and moving towards a vegetarian or flexitarian diet (as some of you might call it)
Here I show you an average of what we were consuming in 2016
Beef – 4 a 6 times during 2016
Chicken – 250g – per week – per person
Pork – 125g – every fortnight – per person
Fish – 1/2 pieces – per week – per person
Eggs – 6 eggs – per week – per person
^Dairy 200g cheese – Every fortnight – per person
125g butter – Every 3 weeks – per person
^Milk is something that has been almost totally out of our diet for a long time now, we’ve been trading it for plant milk, like almond milk. Yoghurt is something that comes and goes in our fridge.
Note: The animal products we consumed in 2016 were mostly bought from the farmers market, where they pride themselves off giving the animals a good quality of life and the food that they ate came from organic produce. We tried our best to buy zero waste style, bringing our own containers or buying things in glass.
By November 2016 we were only consuming one type of animal meat per week, either beef, chicken, pork or fish. I would say our diet was mostly vegetarian (fish, eggs and the occasional dairy). Which is why I told my husband that we should try to do the Veganuary challenge for 2017.
Saying goodbye to 2016 with meat and starting January 2017 with veggies
I have to confess that the lasts couple of days of December and the first three days of January, I completely failed. We share our festivities with other Venezuelan friends, and we had our typical dishes that are loaded with ham, beef and chicken. I decided not to beat myself about it since I know that when I become too rigid with my goals I end up by not fulfilling them.
I started on the 4th of January 2017. At the beginning, as I’m sure it happens to many people, I was worry about feeling satisfied with food (especially my husband, since men do eat a bit more). So, I bought loads of nuts and seeds and I must say I burned myself out making so much food in advance so we could be prepared.
At the end of the week I was shattered, and though the food was delicious, the excess of “good fat” took a toll on my skin. It goes to show you that anything in excess is no good. But, I also noticed that my palate started to change, though I am a sweet tooth, the thing I craved the most was fruits. The veganuary website is very helpful, an excellent guide to start and it will help you not to limit yourself with just nuts like it happened to me. Pinterest it’s awesome as well!
What I discover from myself in this vegan diet
- I bought lots of broccoli and I had to come clean to myself, I don’t like it, nor the broccoli or the cauliflower, I like trees, but I don’t want to eat them!
- I love mushrooms, any type, in any food
- I enjoy hummus and avocado sooooo much
- It is so yummy to eat lots of fruits at any time of the day
- I’m obsessed with porridge, it’s my favourite breakfast nowadays, especially in cold days
Being vegan is a social challenge
The other part that was hard for me, was when I went out with friends. They don’t have almond milk everywhere you go, which is why I had to trade the hot chocolate for a herbal tea. Eating out with friends that are not in the same page you are it can be challenging because I have to say that my reasons to be on this vegan challenge it has nothing to do with my taste, it is about ethics and the conservation of our environment.
At the end of Veganuary
In the last week, I noticed that it hadn’t been so hard to get used to the diet. Of course, I have been doing a lot of changes since 2016, and so the transition was way easier. At the end of the month I realised I had about 4-5 non-vegan meals, but vegetarian. Which is why I decided to continue with the challenge in the following weeks, and now is just part of my routine, if I can substitute something with a vegan option, I will do it.
Finding culinary balance at home
The eggs or dairy are most of the time for my husband, or for when is his turn to cook, or if we go out and I don’t find the vegan option. But, since we took this path, we have been going to a few restaurants around London that are vegan and, exploring this beautiful gastronomy.
Fish and seafood, are the only thing I am allowing myself at the moment, once a week or every fortnight. I feel happy because my lifestyle is every day more in tune with my values. They say you must do what you preach, and I’m glad that I’m getting there.
I will let you know in another post the reasons why I decided to have a plant based diet, and also how I balance that with a ZeroWaste lifestyle.
**Important note** I am not a medic or a nutritionist. I am only sharing my personal opinion about my path towards a sustainable lifestyle. I would kindly suggest for you to consult with your doctor to take a decision about your diet, each body is different and we are responsible for what we eat. This is just my personal experience and how a vegan diet has affected my life.
I invite you to try “meatless Monday” or try to make one of your meals of the day completely plant based, I bet you’ll get creative in the kitchen. And if you were one that also tried the veganuary challenge, I invite you to let me know how was it for you below in the comments. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you are vegetarian or vegan, eating more veggies and fruits never hurt anyone.
If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian. ~Paul McCartney