Veganuary – the final days have flown by. My pots and pans are like trophies, piled high in my kitchen, as I have mastered many a meal! I have discovered new ingredients and have been adventurous in my choices. I have realised that, for vegans, most restaurant menus are unhelpful and often misleading, but servers and chefs can be creative and supportive. The most interesting thing that I have learned is that the options for vegans are not boring.
Day 29 – I recreated one of my Veganuary staples; tomato brushetta with smashed avocado. Avocados have become a firm favourite of mine. A common question that I have been asked is, “where can vegans get their protein from?” Avocados are full of protein, plus they are also full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential oils. This fruit, yes, it’s a fruit, is so versatile and should be a repeated offender on everyone’s shopping list.
Day 30 – Today, I was invited to yoga with Laurenmackez and AirFoodWaterGym. Whilst running through Shoreditch, to get to the studio, I realised that it was a Friday night! I have been so focused on participating in Veganuary and dry January, as I am committed to getting healthy, that I had completely forgotten that it was a Friday night in London! The bars were teeming with eager partygoers and there was I, in my sweats, clumsily trying to dodge the hoards of revelers. I have never felt more like, ‘Bridget Jones’!
The studio was softly lit with flickering floral candles that allowed the space to feel warm, relaxing and inviting, despite the frosty air outside. Lauren led us through a series of Ashtanga Yoga poses that helped me stretch and focus on my breathing. Her clear instructions and flow of movement was the perfect recipe for an invigorating yoga class, with gentle stretches to improve your flexibility. AirFoodWaterGym were also in attendance and had a selection of tees on display that are designed to allow ease of movement when working out. As an added bonus, they are so soft; I may just buy one to sleep in!
Day 31 – I have become a big fan of black rice with avocado. I made it last night for dinner and had leftovers today, in a wrap. As well as being loaded with healthy benefits, such as antioxidants, black rice may also help to prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes. This is an ingredient that I will definitely be cooking with more often.
So what are my thoughts now that Veganuary – the final days, are over?
What were the main challenges: Being mindful of exactly what was in the food I was eating as well as reading the ingredients for everything! Just because you think it is vegan, doesn’t mean it is. Cooking regularly takes time, but it is so much healthier and worth the effort.
What did I learn: I have learnt so much, but most importantly, I have learnt that vegans have a colourful and flavourful diet, contrary to popular belief. I have discovered new recipes, ingredients and met new and interesting people.
My biggest tantrum! January 1st, unprepared, struggling in Sainsbury’s!
Foods I couldn’t resist: Avocado and tomato brushetta and Nakd bars, as they are rather yummy.
Favourite snack: I’ve really enjoyed Rebel Kitchen’s Chocolate Mylk. It is a delicious treat that I will continue to indulge on.
Favourite recipe: Veganuary’s sweet potato quesadillas, made with black beans.
Kitchen equipment I couldn’t live without: My kettle as I have enjoyed herbal teas with breakfast. Also, boiled water from the kettle, rather than boiling it on the stove, saves time whilst cooking.
Health & fitness goals now: To continue cooking, frequently, with fresh ingredients and exploring new recipes. Continue exercising and finding new and fun ways to keep fit.
Health tip: Plan your diet to make sure you are getting all of your essential nutrients, especially if you are new to being a vegan.
Will I remain vegan: I am going to incorporate a vegan day into every week. I am going to continue to cook the vegan recipes that I have made this January.
Did I enjoy Veganuary: I have really enjoyed Veganuary. Meeting new people and trying new things, who wouldn’t? I feel healthier and full of energy.
Continuing motivation: I have always been interested in animal welfare and by eliminating animal products this January, I have played my part in helping to reduce the requirement for meat. Ditching dairy has been really good for my digestive system.
Will I do it next year: Absolutely. I love a challenge and I definitely love the feeling of completing it!
*Health Advice: Consult with your doctor before beginning any new food and exercise program.